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Astragal: Architecture's going to the dogs

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Readers may remember a fundraising initiative from 2013 when 20 star-designers were asked to imagine and build disability-aware dolls’ houses. 

The gems were later sold off, with Zaha Hadid’s mini-masterpiece fetching £14,000. 

Now animal charity Blue Cross and an arts organisation Outdoor Arts Foundation have launched the BowWow Haus London event, a competition to create bespoke dog kennels. 

Selected structures will be exhibited in prominent London locations next year from January to May, before being auctioned to raise money for the pet charity. 

Participating practices include Interrobang, Green Tea Architects, Russian For Fish, WHAT Architecture and Chris Dyson Architects. 

Submitted proposals include Design Haus Liberty’s poured concrete Mies Van der Rohe-influenced kennel, the Bark-alona Pavilion (pictured above), featuring a reflecting pool and curved bed. 

Mixed fortunes for Asif Khan

Asif khan

Asif khan

Asif Khan and his London-based design studio have had an eventful few weeks.

Earlier this month it was announced that the practice– working alongside Bjarke Ingel’s BIG, Weston Williamson, WilkinsonEyre, Maccreanor Lavington and AECOM – had scooped the much-coveted project to masterplan the £10 billion Old Oak Common scheme in west London.

It was perhaps the perfect way in which to forget the previous week in which Khan’s firm was burgled, not once but twice. 

Don’t forget your bucket and spade

Vppr design for tavistock road

Vppr design for tavistock road

vPPR sandcastle design for Tavistock Road

From one end of the construction scale to the other, Khan is also one of a number of architects lined up to design and build giant sandcastles as part of London’s InTransit ‘festival of unexpected art and performance’.

The June event is billed as a ‘takeover’ of the streets of Kensington and Chelsea. Khan’s creation will be showcased at the new Design Museum, while Nex Architecture will be constructing its sandcastle in Duke of York Square.

Meanwhile in Tavistock Gardens, vPPR is proposing a sand re-creation of Aldo Rossi’s Lighthouse Theatre Project from 1987-9, designed for Lake Ontario. 

But catch them quick. According to long-term weather predictor Accuweather the forecast for early June is thundery – and very wet….

A league of their own

Zha forest green render

Zha forest green render

These days a prestigious architect needs to design a stadium for a prestigious football club. Herzog & de Meuron is building one for premier league winners Chelsea, Populous is busy constructing one for runners-up Spurs, and Zaha Hadid Architects has created one for … Forest Green Rovers, who this season have been gracing the Vanarama league and attracting average attendances of 1,815.

But the Gloucestershire club, funded by renewable-energy tycoon Vince Dale, has big ambitions. Having won the league’s playoff final, it has been promoted to the heady heights of League 2 (which for those of you unfamiliar with the Football league’s hyperbolic nomenclature is really league 4).  

With Dale apparently keen to pump money into the club, its rise up the divisions could be swift. Will it be hosting premier league football by the time the stadium completes?

Best Sellar 

Irvine sellar dsc8496

Irvine sellar dsc8496

There was a big turn-out for Irvine Sellar’s memorial service at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue opposite Lord’s cricket ground last Wednesday. 

Tributes included a filmed contribution from foreign secretary Boris Johnson, and a charming message from Renzo Piano, recalling his first meeting with Sellar, ‘where Irvine talked and I drew, and in the end it was hard to say who had designed the Shard, him or me’. 

A good choir, and a terrific brass quintet from the Royal College of Music (playing Copeland’s Fanfare for the Common Man) made for a memorable occasion, concluded with a reception hosted by James Sellar and family. 

Much was made of the Shard being Irvine’s memorial, but maybe Piano’s Paddington Cube could become a posthumous reminder of the extraordinary impact this developer had on London.

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