28 May 2012

iNDUSTRY workspace 3rd birthday bash

Lovely friday afternoon celebrating our joint office industry on adelaide wharf just across the road from Haggerston Park, with home-made delicacies and local beer from London fields micro-brewery. More photos courtesy of Stefan Mueller here

25 May 2012

London's public realm conference

On the first day of summer, that's what it felt like, I cycled down to Toynbee Hall to attend the 'Changing Spaces: Sustaining good design and creative intervention in London's public realm'. This is a familiar area as I and others have been doing small projects here with students on the London Met foundation in architecture course. It's easy to forget about this tucked away institution and I was glad to have an excuse to come back.

The conference was jointly organised by Open City (formerly known as Open House) who are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year and the London Borough of Enfield. Lee Mallet from Urbik Limited and Greater London Publishing kicked off with tales of places that attract artists, mostly anecdotal tales of Shoreditch back in the day. He was followed by Suzie Zuber from Open City (I love their simple and evocative slogan: 'opening eyes, minds and doors') who went over their work with young people, advocacy & enabling and design reviews  - quite a bit more than just the September open house weekend.

23 May 2012

Fabric First day at the sparkling new CoRE building in Longton, Stoke. It has a roof packed with pv panels, and a great view of the pottery factory with bottle kilns being refurbished for the conference centre. Not sure of their future use, I asked if they were going to be seminar pods?The place feels jumping with proposals, including a report from Stoke Council on their plans for an electricity generating and low energy Stoke - proposals include using waste heat from ceramics factories.  Andrew Ainsworth of Room 4 consulting, presented the report, 'Fabric First and Refurbishment Excellence: Up-skilling to Deliver the Green Deal and Beyond', follows months of research into the skills and training needs of the construction industry, which you can download from their website. Neil May spoke about the lack of proper research into how to work with traditional buildings, Lynne Sullivan on retrofitting to scale - a tower block in London using PHPP as guide, which neatly followed my talk on St Luke St in Stoke, the Retrofit for the Future house, which was designed with phpp.

19 May 2012

site visit

Last week I have been busy taking part in the AECB Certified Passivhaus Designer Course - and inevitably kept thinking about our Passivhaus Environment Centre. During last week the site made remarkable progress as ever - amongst other things, the cellulose fibre insulation has been injected into the roof and floor voids. Straw Works and the volunteers, who have been looking after every layer and corner of the render and plaster, were giving a final touch before they leave the site for two weeks at the end of today. Next week, the floor will be cleared to receive the air-tightness membrane. 

As many migrant birds fly over, I wonder whether they will recognise a new land mark in the reborn Lordship Recreation Ground!

16 May 2012

London 2012 sustainable design by Hattie Hartman

Went to Hattie's book launch last night - it's a great guide to what is really interesting about the olympics. For those who are looking for good design and longterm sustainability she highlights how targeting, one planet 2012, and carbon footprinting have helped to keep a sustainable design in people's minds.

John Lyall spoke about his thoughtful and charming pumping station and other sewage related projects - one of which we can only see from the train, and Chris Bannister from Hopkins about the Velodrome. These might be the best of the buildings for the long term.


9 May 2012

London UK is the best place in the world for passivhaus!

‘London UK is the best place in the world for passivhaus!‘ says Wolfgang Feist at this years International Passivhaus conference.

Researchers demonstrate that passivhaus works pretty in much every climate, except for some exceptionally cold spots like in Siberia and Greenland, and in the Australian desert.

Wolfgang reported back on the impact of hot and humid climates, or extremely cold climates, and showed that in parts of the world  triple glazing will be appropriate not to keep the heat in but to keep it out (see climate map).

Pos-architecture described the new Austrian embassy in Jakarta which has sensors which close windows which have been left open too long to maintain temperatures, and beautifully designed shading.

female power in architecture

Kathryn, 21, Part I student, reports on the female power in architecture talk at the RIBA

Twenty twelve has been a year for women in architecture, and to continue this, Fran and I attended the Female Power in Architecture talk hosted by the RIBA. There was a good turn out and the overall evening was a great experience.

The guest speakers were asked three questions: what was their highest achievement, what was the secret to their success and where women in the profession will be in 20 years time. There were some strong speaker such as Alison Brooks and Deborah Saunt, with discussions about the importance of confidence and collaboration ('bigger companies helping smaller companies'), and how architecture is 'not about making objects'.

1 May 2012

the future of part L

Good Homes Alliance ran a useful afternoon on 26th April, focussing on part L future changes. We wait to hear the outcome of the consultation but if 2013 is only 8% improvement on present, the jump to 2016 becomes unlikely - lets hope they go for the proposed 25%. Everyone is rather tired of Government inability to just get on with it! Great to hear about Rowntree and Orbit case studies.