Centre for Cities – New Centre for Cities Report: Big UK lessons for US cities

A new report from the Centre for Cities and Washington’s Brookings Institution has found that the USA has a lot to learn from Britain’s urban renaissance. But while British politicians and officials have always been keen to go on the hunt for policy ideas from the States, US politicians don’t always follow suit. US mayors – and the next US administration – should look more closely at British policy ideas, to help American cities compete in the future.

Smarter, Stronger Cities points to the following examples of UK innovations which could be exported Stateside:

Read more @ the SOURCE: Centre for Cities – New Centre for Cities Report: Big UK lessons for US cities.

Elephant House at Copenhagen Zoo opened

The new Elephant House at Copenhagen Zoo opened today following an official ceremony attended by His Royal Highness the Prince Consort of Denmark and his grandson, Prince Christian.

This new Elephant House provides these magnificent animals with a stimulating environment, including easily accessible spaces for the public to enjoy them, and restores the visual relationship between the zoo and the park.

The project has been driven by research into the behavioural patterns of elephants. The tendency for bull elephants in the wild to roam away from the main herd prompted a plan organised around two separate enclosures. Covered with lightweight, glazed domes to provide natural light. The spaces maintain a strong visual connection with the sky and changing patterns of daylight and the distinctive ‘fritting’ on the glazing simulates a canopy of trees. The glazed domes have opening windows to allow natural ventilation and there is a heat recovery system – further enhancing the environmental efficiency of the scheme.

SOURCE: Foster + Partners.

Raising the Roof » Properties Blog » International Herald Tribune » Blog Archive » Top architects explore connection between design and& jelly?

Foster + Partners, Will Alsop and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners are among the big name U.K. architects turning their talents to jelly. Specifically, they are participating in the Architectural Jelly Design Competition, which seeks to “raise awareness of the relationship between food and architecture,” as part of the London Festival of Architecture 2008, June 20 to July 20.

Read more @ the SOURCE: International Herald Tribune – Raising the Roof – Top architects explore connection between design and jelly?.

Foster and Partners announce installation for 2008 London Festival of Architecture

Foster + Partners is designing and then erecting, with the help of the public, a special installation to mark the launch of the 2008 London Festival of Architecture (LFA) on Saturday 21 June. Part of the LFA’s Kensington, Chelsea and Knightsbridge Hub, the structure will be constructed and dismantled on Exhibition Road in a single day.

The design will be revealed at the event and Foster + Partners is delighted to announce that the installation will incorporate a new eight channel site specific sound sculpture by artist Bill Fontana.

The temporary structure will rise to over ten metres in height, feature tensile components and involve public participation. Members of the public will be invited to assist between 10.00am to 12.00pm and then help to raise the structure at 2.00pm. Situated adjacent to Imperial College, visitors will be able to experience the interior of the installation and the specially commissioned sound piece until 6.30pm.

Bill Fontana lives and works in San Francisco, exhibits internationally and is represented in London by Haunch of Venison. He has spent more than thirty years creating installations that use sound to transform the visitor’s experience of art and architecture.

Credits:
Designer: Foster + Partners, Sound artist: Bill Fontana, Engineer: Buro Happold Technical installation: ESS Projects

With support from:
Architen Landrell Creative Technologies, Imperial College, Keim Paints, Medico, Rope & Marine Services, SheetFab , Showstars , Stage One

Urban gardener: Gravitational pull – Gardening, House & Home – The Independent

Well, it’s over for another year. The dust, and there was plenty of that at Chelsea this year, has settled and we can be pleased that not only did we win an RHS Gold Medal, but that our garden for Bupa will now be transferred to Meadbank care home in Battersea, a short distance across the river Thames from the Royal Hospital. As ever, it was a team effort. So many people play a vital part in the success of a show garden. They are too numerous to mention here, but they know who they are and how grateful I am for their help. I must, however, tell you about La Boule, the sculptural element of the garden that seemed to capture the imagination of everyone who saw it.

Read more @ the SOURCE: The Independent – Urban gardener: Gravitational pull

Urban Design Competition for Kings Cross

Camden Council and land owner Network Rail are seeking expressions of interest from architects, landscape architects and urban designers for the design of a brand new, urban square at Kings Cross, London.

The first stage of the competition invites a response from international participants before the end of July who are asked to submit credentials and relevant experience. From these responses a shortlist of six will be chosen to work up concept propositions, for which an honorarium of £6000 will be paid. These will be reviewed by a technical panel and a final decision made by a jury that will meet in early December.

The deadline for Stage One submissions is 1 August 2008.

SOURCE: Landscape Institute: Urban Design Competition for Kings Cross.

Athens’ deserted Games sites a warning to London Olympics – Telegraph.co.uk

The buildings constructed in Athens for the Olympic Games four years ago are fly blown, closed to the public and covered in graffiti, a forewarning of the possible aftermath of the London Games in 2012.

Of the 22 venues in the city, 21 are in a state of disrepair and under guard to prevent vandalism.

Athens spent more than £9 billion on staging the Olympics, slightly less than the current estimate for the London games.

The hangover from the games was tremendous. Greece was left with a national budget deficit of 6.1 per cent, more than twice the maximum allowed under European Union rules.
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The infrastructure, which was installed in such haste, has proven to be far too extravagant for the city. It is difficult to imagine there was ever much local interest in continuing to use the baseball, kayaking, fencing and handball facilities down the coast at Hellenikon.

A few miles outside the city centre, the sprawling Faliron complex that once hosted the beach volleyball and taekwondo competitions is deserted and a lone security guard has not been able to deter youths from spraying the walls with slogan

Telegraph.co.ukAthens’ deserted Games sites a warning to London Olympics.

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