Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The British Newspaper Archive

Today sees the launch of 4 million pages of newspapers from the 18th and 19th centuries, which have been made available online by the British Library. The archive is free to search, but there is a charge to access the actual newspaper pages themselves. Nevertheless, the database would be a useful tool for contextual research into the history of the built environment, and could be used in conjunction with the historic newspaper holdings of libraries such as Glasgow's Mitchell Library.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield

The Concrete Centre has a short webcast which features David Chipperfield discussing the ideas behind his riverside Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield, which uses concrete cast on-site.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

St Peter's Seminary, Cardross

GSA's School of Fine Art have organised a lecture at the Glasgow Film Theatre at 11am on Friday 25 November which will be given by Angus Farquhar of public art charity NVA. NVA are currently working on a radical plan for the derelict seminary complex at Cardross, near Glasgow, designed by Gillespie, Kidd & Coia. The lecture is an opportunity to learn more about these plans, and the wider context of the survival and reuse of modernist architecture. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nanontechnology in construction

NBS (the National Building Specification) regularly produce web-based articles on various aspects of building technology, and these can provide a useful point of entry into topics of current interest. A good example from this series is 'nanotechnology in construction' which offers a good overview of the subject together with links to further sources of information. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Passivhaus primers

The BRE (Building Research Establishment) has published online a series of documents which set out the key principles of the Passivhaus low energy construction standard, and explain the process and application of Passivhaus design.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New architectural acronym

As a fan of acronyms, I was delighted by a new book which has just arrived in the Library, entitled 'HOPSCA'. This is a new form of mixed-use development which has originated in China, comprising a complex of Hotels, Offices, Parks, Shopping malls, Clubs and Apartments. The term appears to be read as "hao bu si ka" in Chinese. The book we have purchased seems to be the only one on the subject so far.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Architecture Subject Guide reminder

This is probably a good point in the academic term to remind students about the Library's subject guide to architecture. The guide highlights the location of key architecture-related subject areas throughout the Library by their classification number, and lists our architectural magazine and journal holdings, including e-journals. It also provides information on the core electronic databases students should consider using when searching for journal articles, maps and images, and mentions other resources such as dissertations, DVDs, and Special Collections material. The guide is in pdf form and can be downloaded using the link above. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Imagination Playground

New York architect David Rockwell has designed Imagination Playground, a portable polyethylene foam children's playground in kit form, which gives children themselves the freedom to choose how they play and what they play with, and teaches them basic design and construction concepts.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The benefits of good street design

The CIVITAS think-tank has issued an online report which attempts to quantify the social and emotional benefits of well-designed streets. It draws on evidence from from Brighton's experience with the redesign of the aptly-named New Road to create a shared public realm between vehicles and pedestrians in the heart of the city.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Quality in town and country

The Urban Design Group has made available a scanned and digitised version of the discussion document 'Quality and Town and Country', published by in 1994 by the Government under John Gummer, Secretary of State, Department of the Environment. The initiative was a catalyst for the re-establishment of the importance of design quality in the planning system. The document can be freely downloaded in full from the Urban Design Group's website.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The shareable future of cities

Alex Steffen, a leading voice on sustainability and social innovation, talks on TED about the challenge of meeting the energy needs of a rapidly-urbanising planet, and discusses a selection of neighbourhood-based green projects that expand our access to things we want and need, while reducing the time we spend in cars.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Designing for independence and dignity

The RIBA and BRE have recently issued 'A guide for assisted living', which details key design requirements for the adaptation of residences to meet the needs of the elderly and chronically ill to enable them to live active, independent and dignified lives. The guide is freely available online in pdf format from the RIBA website.