HOUSING PIONEER NEAVE BROWN DIES AGED 88
Acclaimed architect Neave Brown, a “pioneer of quality public housing”, has died following a battle with cancer.
Best known for the post-war housing he designed for north London, Brown is is the 2018 laureate of the RIBA Royal Gold Medal – an accolade he received in an unusually early ceremony in late 2017, due to his ill health.
RIBA president Ben Derbyshire was among the first to pay tribute to Brown, who passed away on 9 January 2018.
“The architecture community has lost a giant,” said Derbyshire. “Neave was a pioneer: he showed us how intellectual rigour, sensitive urbanism, his supreme design skill and determination could deliver well-being to the local community he served so well in Camden.”
“His ideas, for low-rise high-density housing with private outside space for all residents, still stand as a radical antidote to much of the unthinking, not to say degrading, housing product of the era. Neave’s contribution to architecture will not be forgotten.”
Brown was born in 1929 in Utica, New York, before moving to the UK as a teenager.
He studied at the Architectural Association in London, before taking up a post at Camden Council, where he designed his best known project – the Alexandra Road estate. The eight-storey housing scheme boasts a striking stepped formation, with an avenue running through its centre and elevated walkways above.
Other projects include a range of low-rise high-density housing schemes – one of which he and his wife Janet made home, the Dunboyne Road estate. He also designed housing projects in both the Netherlands and Italy.
Brown was revealed as the winner of the RIBA Royal Gold Medal at a time when the standard of social housing in the UK was very much in question, following the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire and the then-imminent demolition of Robin Hood Gardens.
In a recent interview with Dezeen, Brown said he was “astonished” to have received the award that many believed he deserved much earlier in his career.
“I am astonished that my work is alive and well in the history of architecture, and that young people look at it and come and visit it, and it is a very active ingredient in the background now,” he said.
“To me it had just become to my great sadness, simply a piece in the past. And I was, in that sense, dumbfounded and amazed when I heard that I had been put up for the Royal Gold Medal.”
Brown had been due to host a debate on social housing at the RIBA in London with The Guardian’s architecture critic, Oliver Wainwright, on 1 February 2018.
Wainwright today described Brown as a “feisty, fearless and a staunch defender of social housing until the end”. Architecture critic Catherine Slessor also paid tribute to Brown’s work, tweeting: “A life well lived.”
DUBLIN’S TALLEST OFFICE BUILDING?
The construction of Dublin’s tallest office building is to get under way in the coming weeks following the sale of its development site to a European investment fund.
A spokesman for European real estate investment specialists Tristan Capital Partners said yesterday that it had advised the European Property Investors Special Opportunities IV (EPISO 4) Fund on a deal to acquire the EXO development site at Point Square in the city’s north docklands from Nama-appointed receivers Stephen Tennant and Paul McCann of Grant Thorton.
The fund completed the transaction for the EXO site with local operating partners, SW3 Capital towards the end of last month, the spokesman said. The purchase represents the third investment by the fund and Sw3 Capital in the Dublin market. While no information was provided in relation to the price paid for the EXO site, it is understood that between €70m and €80m in development finance will be provided by the purchasers.
Some 350 jobs are expected to be created during the construction of the EXO, which upon completion will rise to 73m (239 ft) and comprise some 169,150 sq ft of Grade A office space, capable of accommodating 2,000 workers. The work by main contractors Bennett Construction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2020. Agents Savills and CBRE have been instructed to secure pre-let agreements with tenants.
Construction of new multi-million euro Student Centre at UL approved by Governing Authority
Planning for a new Student Centre building at the University of Limerick passed a significant milestone with the approval of Governing Authority on the design of the building this month.
The centre will comprise of a three story, 3,529 square metre building and will be in a prime front of house location adjacent to the Stables Complex and the Library. The project will now be submitted to Limerick City and County Council for planning approval.
The Student Centre is being funded on a partnership basis between the students and the University. In 2016 the UL student body voted by way of referendum to support a new Student Centre and have agreed to fund 80% of the estimated capital cost. The location of the student centre, will form a new ‘destination’ for all the university students, incorporating, hang out space and outdoor gathering, relaxation/activity areas, venue and student union offices, games areas and student services. The building has been designed to house a number of new activities as outlined in the ‘desire list’ which resulted from a UL student survey.
Speaking about the project UL Student’s Union President Jack Shelly said, “The existing Student Centre, located in the Stables Courtyard dates back to 1999 and to a time when the student population was half what it is now. In the intervening 18 years there has been huge growth in the number and membership of student clubs and societies. There is a desperate need for space and facilities for these clubs and societies to operate well. Additionally the increased services provided by the UL Students Union have outgrown the current Student Centre.”
UL President Dr Des Fitzgerald said “the students have chosen a wonderful design for the centre, which is badly needed to enhance and consolidate facilities for ULSU and for the very vibrant UL clubs and societies which add so much to the UL student experience. The students of UL know the value of excellent facilities and are to be commended for their support of this initiative. They have done this before with the construction of UL’s boathouse, when pioneering members of the Rowing Club identified the need for such a facility and engaged in extensive planning and fundraising in partnership with the Kayak, Sub Aqua Club and Mountain Bike clubs. In 2003, the students voted to extend the student levy to pay for the facility and they have once again rowed in with support of this Student Centre in what will be a magnificent addition to the UL campus.”
It is planned that construction of the new Student Centre will be completed in 2020.The Governing Authority also approved the construction of an external passenger lift to the rear of the Foundation Building at UL to provide greater accessible access to the Foundation Building and the University Concert Hall and to provide increased mobility access from the south campus to the main University Plaza.
dRMM’s Hastings Pier Wins 2017 RIBA Stirling Prize
London-based architects dRMM have been announced as the winners of the 2017 RIBA Stirling Prize for their renovation of Hastings Pier, beating out a shortlist including projects by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners; Baynes and Mitchell Architects; Reiach & Hall Architects and Michael Laird Architects; Groupwork + Amin Taha; and 6a architects.
“Hastings Pier is a masterpiece in regeneration and inspiration. The architects and local community have transformed a neglected wreck into a stunning, flexible new pier to delight and inspire visitors and local people alike,” said RIBA President and Stirling Prize jury chair Ben Derbyshire.
Designed as “a strong, well-serviced platform that could support endless uses,” the new Hastings Pier has completely transformed the town’s waterfront from a neglected “shantytown” into a life-filled space for gathering and entertainment. The project was spurred into action after the pier was destroyed by fire in 2010.
“There was no sense in trying to reconstruct it as a 19th century pier – that typology had gone with the fire. There was an opportunity to reuse and reinvent the pier and give it a new future,” commented Alex de Rijke, dRMM Founding Director.
Inspired by the plug-and-play architecture of conceptualist Cedric Price, the architects paid special attention to keeping the pier as flexible as possible, allowing its users to fill it with whatever function they can imainge.
“For many, the fact the pier is still standing is special enough; but what makes this pier unique is the decision not to populate the space with permanent attractions,” said RIBA in a press release.
Eleven Institutes of Technology to get extra buildings
The Department of Education has announced details of 11 large-scale construction projects that are to be built at Institutes of Technology using Public Private Partnerships in coming years.
The state will pay €200m towards the buildings, which will be operated and maintained by private developers for 25 years after their construction.
The Department anticipates that the projects will enable the Institutes of Technology to accommodate an additional 8,000 students.
Eleven Institutes of Technology from Letterkenny to Waterford and Cork will benefit from this Public Private Partnership initiative, getting a building each.
In a statement, Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor said the ITs had been disproportionately affected by the fall-off in capital investment over the past decade.
Minister for Education Richard Bruton said the announcement marked a turning point for state investment in the sector. Most of the new buildings will be geared towards science and technology.
The 11 projects will be procured by the National Development Finance Agency but it will be some time before they get underway. Tenders are expected to issue towards the end of next year.
The Department hopes the first buildings will be ready for use in 2021.
The Department of Education said all proposals will be the subject of ongoing technical appraisal and economic analysis to ensure value for money. It said this process will inform the final scale and scope of each project.
Athlone, Tralee, and Galway Mayo Institutes of Technology will all get new STEM buildings under the plan.
IT Carlow will get a science building, while Waterford IT will get a new engineering, computing and general teaching building.
An applied science and information technology building will be built at Limerick IT.
A library, information technology, and teaching building will be constructed at Letterkenny IT.
IADT in Dublin will see a new Digital Media centre built.
A learning resource centre will be constucted at CIT in Cork, phase two of a teaching block at IT Blanchardstown, and a second phase of campus development will take place at IT Tallaght.
The Department of Education said the projects were selected following a detailed assessment, which took account of projected enrolments, the capacity to deliver on skills requirements, and the potential each project had to contribute to regional development.
“Pioneer of quality public housing” Neave Brown named 2018 laureate of RIBA Royal Gold Medal
US-born architect Neave Brown is to be awarded the Royal Institute of British Architects’ Royal Gold Medal for 2018 for his contribution to social housing.
Described by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) as “a pioneer of quality public housing”, Neave Brown is best known for the post-war housing he designed during his time at Camden council in north London.
His most famous scheme, the 1970s Alexandra Road estate near Swiss Cottage, features a dramatic terraced formation.
“All my work! I got it just by flying blind, I seem to have been flying all my life,” said Brown following the news he will receive the Royal Gold Medal.
“The Royal Gold Medal is entirely unexpected and overwhelming. It’s recognition of the significance of my architecture, its quality and its current urgent social relevance. Marvellous!”
Brown, 88, is the only living architect to have all of his projects in the UK heritage listed.
“Neave’s contribution to the development of modern British housing is profound, inspiring to architects, local authorities and those who have benefitted from living in one of his outstanding projects,” said recently elected RIBA president Ben Derbyshire.
“His pioneering ideas firmly placed the community at the heart of each of his developments, giving residents shared gardens, their own front door, innovative flexible living spaces and private outside space for every home.”
Prior housing projects in north London including a terrace on Winscombe Street built between 1963 and 1966, and the Dunboyne Road Estate constructed between 1971 and 1977. Both have been given Grade II status by public body Historic England.
The Alexandra Road Estate, completed in 1978, is Grade II* listed as a building of particular importance.
“At his Alexandra Road and Fleet Road’s estates, he showed how to achieve successful high-density housing without high rise,” said Derbyshire, who called on the UK’s politicians to be inspired by Neave’s approach to social housing.
“The UK must now look back at Neave Brown’s housing ideals and his innovative architecture as we strive to solve the great housing crisis,” he continued.
“The government must empower and then encourage every single council across the country to build a new generation of well-designed, affordable and sustainable homes that meet the needs of the millions of people currently failed by the housing market.”
“We need to build 300,000 new homes per year for the foreseeable future to tackle this crisis: a radical programme of mass council homes, inspired by Neave Brown’s work, must be part of the solution.”
The Royal Gold Medal is presented annually in recognition of a significant contribution to the profession.
The 2017 medal was awarded to Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha, and in 2016 the prize went to British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid. Awarded just before her unexpected death, she became the first woman to ever win the Royal Gold Medal in her own right.
Other past recipients include Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, British architect David Chipperfield, and Irish architects Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey.
Neave Brown was born in 1929 in Utica, New York, and moved to the UK in as a teenager.
In addition to his work in England, he also designed projects in Italy and the Netherlands, including the Zwolestraat Development in The Hague with David Porter in 1994, and Smalle Haven residential scheme, Eindhoven, in 2002.
Due to ill health, Brown will be presented with the 2018 Royal Gold Medal at a private ceremony at the RIBA on 2 October 2017.
UCC’s €350m expansion plan will create 500 construction jobs
ONE of Ireland’s leading universities is to invest €350m in the biggest expansion plan in its history.
University College Cork (UCC) today confirmed the €350m expansion which will create 500 construction jobs and support an expansion of its student population from 21,000 to 23,000.
Central to the investment will be allowing for an expansion of foreign student numbers from 3,300 to 4,400.
The major infrastructural element of the plan will be a 20pc increase in campus space to cater for the expanded student numbers.
UCC confirmed last year it had clinched a €100m loan from the European Investment Bank to support the massive expansion.
The investment includes a €64m expansion of student accommodation projects, €37m on a new Cork dental school, €27m on the development of its Western Campus, €90m on a new student hub, a new creative hub and investment in the Cork University Business School as well as flood protection measures, €23m on a new clinical medical school and €10m on ancillary regional developments including hospitals in Waterford, Kerry and Tipperary.
More than 500 construction jobs will be created by the various development projects.
UCC President Professor Patrick O’Shea said it was a landmark project.
“We are committed to ensuring that UCC becomes the location of choice for Irish and international students. Like myself, many of us are first-generation university graduates, and we are passionate about ensuring access to higher education,” he said.
Former UCC President, Dr Michael Murphy, who developed the plan, said it was vital to the university’s future as a world-class institution.
“This is the largest investment in capital projects at UCC in our history,” he said.
“The scale and ambition of the infrastructural developments align directly to key focus areas for the future, namely enhancing student experience and building on our innovation and health agenda and facilities.”
“We are investing significantly in student accommodation, student ICT services and a new student hub as well as developing the medical, dental, paediatrics research, clinical health, innovation and research facilities to continue to fuel progress and success in these areas.”
“This investment by the EIB will have enormous impact not only for UCC but for education and research nationally and internationally.”
“The European Investment Bank funding is a real expression of confidence and support in UCC, its staff and students and will greatly assist the University in further improving its teaching and research facilities.”
Founded in 1845, UCC has rapidly expanded over the past 40 years and now caters for almost 21,000 students, an increasing number of whom attend from North America, Europe, Asia, South America and New Zealand/Australia.
Jeanne Gang Selected as Winner of 2017 Marcus Prize for Architecture
American architect and MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 Marcus Prize.
Awarded every two years by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning in partnership with the Marcus Corporation Foundation, the $100,000 prize was established to recognize architects from around the globe currently “on a trajectory to greatness.” In addition to the cash prize, the award will support an upcoming design studio at the school led by Gang.
Previous winners of the award include Joshua Prince-Ramus (2015); Sou Fujimoto (2013), Diébédo Francis Kéré (2011); Alejandro Aravena (2009/2010); Frank Barkow, Barkow Leibinger (2007); and Winy Maas, MVRDV (2005).
Gang was selected from a pool of nominees from 16 countries across 4 continents, all of whom were required to demonstrate a minimum of ten years of “proven, exceptional practice.”
“[Gang] is adept at outstanding design for all scales–from the neighborhood and urban scale to the detail of buildings and interior elements,” commented jury member John Czarnecki, Editor-in-Chief of Contract Magazine. “Her practice combines design thinking about the impact of architecture and urban design on cities as well as the creation of beautiful buildings rooted in context that will stand the test of time”.
Recent and ongoing projects by Studio Gang include an exhibit for the US Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Biennale, the extension of New York’s Museum of Natural History, and “Hive,” the latest installation for the National Building Museum’s Summer Block Party program.
RIBA Stephen Lawrence Prize 2017 shortlist announced
A weathered steel-clad studio by McGarry-Moon and a guesthouse with a nautical theme by Mole Architects are among the six projects shortlisted for this year’s RIBA Stephen Lawrence Prize, the AJ can reveal.
Other schemes in the running for the £5,000 prize include Hyde + Hyde Architects’ Silver House in Swansea and the Wolfson Tree Management Centre in Tetbury by Invisible Studio, which was built from timber grown on site.
Completing the shortlist are BPN Architects’ refurbishment of a former textile factory in Birmingham and Peacock House in Suffolk, by BHSF Architekten with Studio-P.
Founded in 1998, the annual prize recognises the best projects built in the UK for less than £1 million. The award was set up in memory of Stephen Lawrence, who had intended to become an architect before he was murdered in a racially motivated attack in 1993. Funded again by the Marco Goldschmied Foundation, the prize was open to buildings completed between November 2014 and February 2017.
Last year’s winner was House of Trace, by Tsuruta Architects, an extension to an end-of-terrace home in south London.
Silver House, Hyde + Hyde Architects