Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Thomas Heatherwick talks

Architect Thomas Heatherwick is on TED talking about five of his recent projects which feature ingenious bio-inspired designs. He explains the re-working of established designs for a bus, a bridge, a power station, and apartment blocks, but his main focus is on the astonishing Seed Cathedral at the Shanghai World Expo.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Edwin Smith photographs

The Moray Art Centre at Findhorn is hosting an exhibition of the vernacular architectural photography of Edwin Smith (1912-1971), in conjunction with the RIBA. The Centre's website has a few images and some background information. Here in Glasgow, GSA's library holds an example of Smith's work in the form of a limited edition artist's book of linocuts of geometric patterns, people, animals and emblems.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Designing against terrorism

The RIBA has issued design guidance setting out the most common considerations when designing against terrorism in the built environment, and which builds on recent government thinking about the protection of 'crowded places'. The guidance includes case studies and will be of interest to anyone looking at contemporary public realm design.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Drawing on Riverside

I finally got round to visiting Glasgow artist Patricia Cain's superb exhibition 'Drawing on Riverside' at the Kelvingrove Museum at the weekend. Her drawings and paintings record in astonishing detail the construction of Zaha Hadid's new Glasgow Transport Museum and the regeneration of the surrounding area. The exhibition also features topographical works from Glasgow Museums showing how artists have captured the city's built environment in the past. The exhibition is free and runs until 14 August 2011.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Post-war Edinburgh

A partnership between Edinburgh City Council and Historic Scotland has resulted in a free online book which celebrates the city's post-war architectural development. The well-illustrated publication includes a useful map and gazetteer, and can be downloaded as a pdf.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cedric Price

To accompany the launch of the exhibition on architect/engineer Cedric Price at the Lighthouse in Glasgow, Architecture and Design Scotland have recorded and made available online a panel discussion on Price which took place at the exhibition's launch. A second discussion takes place at the Lighthouse tonight, 19 May, and will feature a presentation by Price scholar Professor Stanley Mathews.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Guides to GSA Special Collections

Thanks to my colleague Duncan Chappell, we now have online subject guides to our Special Collections material, which typically comprises rare and valuable items held in the Mackintosh Library. Several of the guides may be of particular interest to Architecture staff and students, notably the ones for geometry and perspective, interior design, and the city of Glasgow.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Award-winning papers from the ICE

Interesting to see that the ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers) is once again making the best work published in its journals last year freely available as part of its commitment to best practice and knowledge transfer. The 30 papers can all be downloaded as pdfs, and while some cover technical engineering topics, others are on cities and urban design and will be of interest to architects.

Monday, May 16, 2011

T C Boyle on Frank Lloyd Wright

If you're looking for a different perspective on Frank Lloyd Wright, we've bought a copy of T C Boyle's book 'The women', a semi-fictional account of FLW's disastrous relationships with three successive women, narrated from the perspective of a Japanese apprentice. It's a less-than-flattering portrait of FLW, and architecture is very much at the margins of the story, but as with all Boyle's books, it's a beautifully written tale. Perhaps appropriately, it's on the GSA Library fiction shelves under 'BOY'.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Zonnestraal Sanatorium

Following on from yesterday's rather bleak posting about Glasgow's Egyptian Halls, here's a more positive story of successful architectural preservation. The Zonnestraal ('sunbeam') Sanatorium near Hilversum, Holland (Jan Duiker, 1926-1931) has been lovingly restored by the founders of the DOCOMOMO movement. In this article for the New York Review of Books, Martin Filler charts the sanatorium's history and outlines the renovation work.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Here we go again...

Whatever the politics and legalities, it's very sad to read of the dire threats now facing one of Glasgow's finest examples of Victorian commercial architecture. The news that Alexander 'Greek' Thomson's magnificent Egyptian Halls (1870-72), in Union Street, is at risk of demolition will be depressingly familiar to those who argue that Thomson's output does not receive the recognition and protection it deserves, and is maybe an opportunity for GSA staff and students to renew an acquaintance with the architect's work through the books on him here in the Library at 720.92 THO. There's at least one online petition to save the building.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Maps of Glasgow: historical to digital

Glasgow University Library has a display on Level 3 of Glasgow-related treasures from its map collection which chart the city's growth from the mid-17th century. The exhibition can also be viewed online, where there is a useful commentary and the facility to enlarge the maps for easier viewing.

Monday, May 09, 2011

500 up!

As this is my 500th blog posting, I'd like to thank all readers and particularly Penny Anderson and Duncan Chappell for their many contributions. I've just returned from a long-planned trip to Chicago, so I'm indulging myself with an image of one of the city's more recent skyscrapers. It's the elegant and streamlined 1389-foot Trump Tower by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, pictured here with the landmark 1929 Carbon & Carbide Building. Strangely, the Trump Tower has received relatively little coverage in the architectural journals. For anyone familiar with Glasgow, Chicago is a fascinating destination because of its social, economic and physical similarities, albeit on a much vaster scale.