Tag Archives: culture

The future of architecture – Robert Lunn

We asked ten architects – each of whom joined Make in a different year since 2004 – to write about how they see architecture and the built environment changing over the next ten years. Here is the third instalment.

 

Robert Lunn

Robert Lunn
Make Partner since 2006

I foresee architecture over the next decade continuing to be shaped by the recession that we are still emerging from. I believe architectural education will evolve, encouraging broader, more intrinsic links between students and the working profession, providing more opportunities to work within a practice (beyond the two year minimum requirement) and promoting greater engagement with others in the industry such as engineers, surveyors and clients. My hope is that this will reduce the financial burden upon students and encourage more people to consider a career in architecture, while also providing a greater variety of tutelage.

I see architects becoming more involved in educating the wider society about what we do and the value we bring to projects. I also see developments in mainstream and social media further encouraging architects to cultivate a wider discourse about how our public spaces, homes and offices are designed and constructed. Architecture will become more socially responsible, with architects developing designs that encourage users to gain more confidence in seeking buildings and spaces that they can adapt easily and efficiently. This will see architecture becoming more dynamic, with less large-scale new builds and a greater percentage of retention, refurbishment and adaptation schemes, such as our own 48 Leicester Square and St James’s Market projects.

robert-lunn-quote-v2A final hope of mine is to see the profession continue to move away from its current ‘male-centric’ image towards one that is increasingly egalitarian, with women occupying more prominent positions across the industry.

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Developing a design for the facade of 7–10 Hanover Square

By Catherine Bertola

‘My design for the facade is inspired by eighteenth-century woven Spitalfield silk, which was produced in London during the period when Hanover Square was established. When it was first built, Hanover Square was a very fashionable residential address whose inhabitants dressed in the finest silk and lace. In the nineteenth century the square became more commercial in nature and was home to a range of tailors, milliners, embroiderers and other textile traders. Fabric is therefore woven into the history of the site, making it a fitting concept for the public art commission. The contemporary appropriation of a historic pattern on the facade will create an interesting connection to the origins of the square.

In order for the work to have a specific resonance with the history of the site, I chose an appropriation of an eighteenth-century silk design produced for King George II’s coronation canopy. George II was Great Britain’s second Hanoverian king – the dynasty after which Hanover Square was named. Spitalfield silk was designed and manufactured a short distance from the site and was among the most expensive and coveted silk of its time. The original fabric would have been woven from gold thread and the finest coloured silk and stood as a symbol of the King’s status and wealth. I felt that the association with luxury and quality was appropriate for a building of this calibre.

1. An 18th century silk design produced for King George II's coronation canopy. 2. The final facade design; the different tones represent different depths of carving.

1. An 18th century silk design produced for King George II’s coronation canopy.
2. The final facade design; the different tones represent different depths of carving.

The artwork needs to complement the architecture so that the two co-exist symbiotically. I found that the nature of the new building lends itself to bold, abstract imagery. Damask patterns are formed from symmetrical block repeats, which can cover a surface more densely than other types of pattern. One of the advantages of this particular design is that it is easily scalable; it can be expanded to cover more of the surface or reduced to cover less, without losing its impact or integrity.

It is important that the pattern is visible from a distance as people approach the building, while also having an element of detail that is revealed on closer observation. It is formed from motifs of different scales; larger, bolder forms are framed and intersected with more complex, intricate detailing. From a distance the pattern is striking and instantly recognisable, while the detail provides visual interest when viewed at close quarters. The pattern sweeps across the two facades, uniting the surface and giving the sense of wrapping the building. The mass is concentrated on the corner, although the focus is on the principal facade and accentuates the primary entrance.

The pattern has been simplified for use on a contemporary building and adapted for the technical purposes of carving into stone. It will be carved at different depths to give a sculptural feel and add a visual richness to the surface, creating a dynamic play of shadow and light that will animate the facades. The motifs have been separated into four layers which correspond to a specific surface depth. The first layer is the face of the facade itself; the second layer sits proud of the facade; and the remaining two layers are cut into the facade. The various depths will weather differently over time, further accentuating the pattern and allowing it to take on a life of its own.’

You can find out more about the project on our website: www.makearchitects.com/projects/7-10-hanover-square/

Biography
Catherine Bertola was born in Rugby in 1976. She studied Fine Art at Newcastle University and currently lives and works in Gateshead. She has collaborated on a broad range of commissions and exhibitions, both nationally and internationally, with institutions such as the Museum of Arts and Design (USA), Kunsthalle zu Kiel (Germany), Artium (Spain), the National Museum Wales, the V&A, the Whitworth Art Gallery, the Government Art Collection and the National Trust (UK).
 
Bluestockings (Fanny Burney), 2009, pen on paper, 85 x 135cm. (c) Colin Davison

Bluestockings (Fanny Burney), 2009, pen on paper, 85 x 135cm.
(c) Colin Davison

Layer/s, lost without trace, 2009, dust, PVA, paper and tacks. (c) Jerry Hardman Jones

Layer/s, lost without trace, 2009, dust, PVA, paper and tacks.
(c) Jerry Hardman Jones

Unfurling Splendour (Adaptation II), 2009, dust and PVA, 600 x 300cm. (c) Greg Clement

Unfurling Splendour (Adaptation II), 2009, dust and PVA, 600 x 300cm.
(c) Greg Clement


		
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All Rhodes to London

This summer, there was a very strange vehicle on the roads north of London: an enormous bicycle-powered procession of dancers, musicians and actors, at the head of which will be a six-metre high mechanical puppet.

It’s all part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, the cultural programme of the London Olympics. Called Godiva Awakes, the puppet represents Lady Godiva, the medieval noblewoman who, according to legend, rode naked on horseback through the city of Coventry as a protest against taxation.

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Both Zandra Rhodes and Make have collaborated on this rather unorthodox project. The former as designer of the puppet’s clothing, and the latter as architects of the structure in which the puppet will be housed after the Games.

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For Zandra, it’s yet another design that will reinforce her reputation as something of a maverick. The daughter of a truck driver, she was the brightest talent in a new wave of London-based designers who took Britain to the forefront of the international fashion scene in the 1960s and 1970s. Her work – edgy, impulsive and overtly feminine – was to define the era. Her trademark innovations such as jewelled safety pins, denim tears and exposed seams, earned her the popular epithet the ‘Princess of Punk.’One fan – and client – was soul singer Diana Ross. “Diana looked magnificent in my red chiffon and pleated jackets,” Zandra remembers. “She’d invite me as a VIP to her shows. It was wonderful.”

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Zandra later worked with Freddie Mercury and Brian May of rock band Queen on their live show costumes. “They’d come to my studio in the evenings and we’d exchange ideas. I never knew them too well because they were always off on tour, and I didn’t have the time to be a groupie,” she jokes.

By the 1980s, Zandra was a global fashion icon. But she was still taken by surprise when another Diana, this time the Princess of Wales, came knocking on her door.

“I remember we both wanted to have a huge slit up one side of her dress, but she said she couldn’t possibly do so because the paparazzi would try to take pictures of her knickers as soon as she got out of the car.”

Zandra’s list of past clients might already read like a who’s who of popular culture, but she still harbours ambitions to work alongside one further star in particular. “Oh, Lady Gaga is great,” asserts Zandra. “There’d be a synergy between her and me. We’d create something spectacular.”

Read the full article >

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