Friday, November 19, 2010

Rainham


This east London outpost is home to a projects by architects including Alison Brooks, East and Maccreanor Lavington

Perched on the edge of the floodplain at the bottom of the Ingrebourne valley, clinging to the verge of the greenbelt between London and rural Essex, a little village has recently caught the attention of some of London’s best architects.

“It’s not hard to spot that Rainham is an amazing little place in an extraordinary context,” says Mark Brearley, head of Design for London, and enthusiastic champion of this strange piece of city. Like an outpost at the end of the world, Rainham Village sits at a powerful spatial crux, where sprawling marshland collides with a world of big box sheds and the brutal barriers of transport infrastructure. In the middle of all this, the crooked lanes of the village, winding around a Norman church and 17th century merchant’s house, lie as a precarious relic...

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Originally published in BD 19 November, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Faustino Winery, Spain, by Foster & Partners

Winemakers in northern Spain hope this futuristic new bodega will put the Ribera del Duero region on the world stage.

Hunkered down in the hollow of a sandy hillside, 150km north of Madrid, a rusting UFO has been unearthed. Nestling in a bend on the A1 motorway – which connects Madrid with Burgos and, ultimately, the French border – Foster & Partners’ new winery for Bodegas Faustino looks more like something you might stumble across in Nevada’s Area 51 than the rolling hills of northern Spain.

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Originally published in BD, 12 November 2010

Friday, November 05, 2010

One New Change, by Jean Nouvel


While the form of Jean Nouvel’s One New Change is designed to respect views of St Paul’s Cathedral, the mixed-use scheme has an exotic geometry that contrasts with its ’polite’ neighbours

Building next to St Paul’s is always going to be tricky. As the epicentre of London’s vain attempt to impose some kind of rationale on the beautiful mess of its development, the cathedral – particularly its dome – has become the arbitrary datum from which everything must be judged. Not only is it the fulcrum of a lopsided starburst of viewing corridors, which radiate out to the suburbs from its sacred centre, but it sets the height beneath which all its neighbours must kowtow to preserve its premier position on the skyline. It is the symbolic kernel around which the whole city is deferentially choreographed. Add to this the quagmire of objections and constraints to building in such a sensitive location, and it is a miracle that a project so brazenly modern as Jean Nouvel’s glistening mixed-use mountain ever made it to fruition...

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Originally published in BD, 5 November 2010