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Astragal: All life is here at WAF

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The great and the good of global architecture gathered in a cavernous warehouse in Berlin last week for the World Architecture Festival, to compete for the World Building of the Year. The the event saw Will Alsop, Deborah Saunt, Simon Allford, Sadie Morgan, Peter Cook, Sam Jacob, David Chipperfield and Patrick Lynch all rubbing shoulders. 

Patrik Schumacher’s speech caused a stir for its not-so-social content, with the Zaha Hadid Architects partner proposing ideas such as building over Hyde park, banning all social housing, and privatising all roads and public space. 

The pressure of presenting a project in 10 minutes was too stressful for some. Wolf Prix started his by blasting the technical crew for a brief PowerPoint snag as he showed off his Museum of Contemporary Art and Planning Exhibition in Shenzhen, China (pictured) in the Future Projects: Culture category. 

When the judges pointed out that based on the photographs, it wasn’t a future project at all, but entirely complete, Prix retorted: ‘It wasn’t finished when I submitted it.’

This property developer is on fire

To the London State of the Market conference in Park Lane which brought a touch of X Factor to the traditionally staid world of the property conference.

The event, held last week, featured a host of top names in London real estate including Canary Wharf boss George Iacobescu, British Land chief Chris Grigg and PLP president Lee Polisano.

What was less expected was the pumping music, on-stage glad-handing by the hosts and dry ice as new speakers took to the stage – dry ice so powerful that Brookfield head of leasing Martin Wallace appeared to be literally on fire at one stage. 

Also of note was the drone flying around the room filming the proceedings and the puppies – yes puppies – which were yapping in the corner. After Trump’s victory Astragal does expect the unexpected but this was something else.

Hitch at Hill House

Hill house visitors centre designs

Hill house visitors centre designs

The National Trust for Scotland is remaining oddly tight-lipped about the winner of its contest for a new visitor centre at Hill House – despite rumours that Belfast-based Hall McKnight has won the coveted job. The trust’s board was originally scheduled to consider – and presumably rubberstamp – a winning scheme last month, but approval has now been pushed back until early in the New Year. 

Meanwhile shortlisted proposals by Groves-Raines Architects and Denizen Works (pictured) for the 250m² structure have emerged, revealing the project’s intended relationship with the Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed landmark in Helensburgh. 

The new facility is expected to boost visitor numbers at the attraction, which suffers from a cramped café and inadequate toilets. Any delay must be particularly concerning for the ambitious project ,which is planned to complete next year.

£205m loss won’t shake British Land off course

Hopkins' 100 Liverpool Street proposals - January 2015

 

British Land recently committed to ploughing ahead with its speculative development at 100 Liverpool Street, designed by Hopkins, despite posting a £205 million pre-tax loss for the first half of the year.

The developer said the surprisingly large loss – a major drop compared with the pre-tax profit of £823 million posted for the same period the year before – was down to a 2.8 per cent drop in its portfolio valuation.

What British Land didn’t reveal, however, was its future plans for other elements of the Broadgate estate – in particular for the major redevelopment of Nos 1 and 2 Broadgate (Arup Associates, 1987).

Word on the street is that Allford Hall Monaghan Morris has quietly been handed that job. But don’t expected to see any visuals until late 2017 at the earliest. One to watch.

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