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Astragal: BIG partner gives everyone a lift

Screen shot 2016 07 26 at 10.40.39
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When BIG partner Kai-Uwe Bergmann lifted up the World Architecture Festival sign at the 2014 event in Singapore, Astragal thought this was a new trend. But the discovery of a Facebook group entitled ‘I was lifted by Kai-Uwe’ points to an unusual phenomenon that started long before. 

Dating all the way back to 2011, the group, which is dedicated to the big guy’s lifting endeavours, showcases Uwe’s talents from lifting anything from dogs and babies to his boss Bjarke Ingels and photographer Iwan Baan.


Keeping up with the Parrys

Could Eric Parry’s 73-storey proposed 1 Undershaft skyscraper be about to get a similarly huge neighbour? Parry’s scheme suffered a minor setback last week after the City of London put back a planning decision until after the summer.

The corporation said it still had to iron out ‘a number of detailed matters’ before it could consider proposals for the 90,000m² scheme, which would sit next to RSHP’s Cheesegrater.

Could those ‘matters’ potentially include the hush-hush project to build another 70-storey whopper across three sites in Leadenhall,designed by SOM, the firm behind Dubai’s 160-storey Burj Khalifa? The practice beat PLP, Wilkinson Eyre and Arney Fender Katsalidis to the job, Astragal hears.

However, the long leases on the existing properties mean firm plans for this colossus are likely to be years away.


Prince charming

Biba Dow and Prince Charles

biba and charles crop

Architects have long had a testy relationship with the Prince of Wales, but he was apparently charm personified when meeting Dow Jones Architects.

Earlier this month, the heir to the throne visited the practice’s restored Crypt at Hawksmoor’s Christ Church in Spitalfields for the unveiling of a new plaque, and took time to chat with Biba Dow and Alun Jones.

‘He talked to us about access and materiality, and the relationship between old and new fabric,’ reported Dow. ‘He was really interested in the different tradespeople involved – especially the joiners.’

The last supper

four seasons

four seasons

The Philip Johnson-designed Four Seasons restaurant in Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram building closed its doors for the final time last week ending a run that began in 1959. 

When an AJ staffer visited after word of its closure spread, waiters spoke of shedding tears when they heard that the home of the American power lunch was to close with its famed Modernist fit-out lost. 

‘There were tears when we heard the news,’ said one waiter. ‘But we must move on. The restaurant has a new home and we will move with it … we have to make the best of it.’ 

The furniture from the building has now gone up for auction in a massive 800-lot sale at Wright auction house in New York. 

Those wanting to dine like the designer himself can pick up Johnson’s favourite table – number 32 in the Grill Room – for an estimated £3,000. Other lots include sets of Mies’s iconic Brno chairs, expected to fetch around £5,000; Tulip tables by Eero Saarinen from the grill room at $1,000; and a huge amount of Ada Louise Huxtable-designed tableware and pots and pans. 


Pool parties for Peckham

peckham lido

peckham lido

Source: studio octopi + picture plane

With London’s temperatures soaring, Peckham residents may be glad to hear that Studio Octopi’s crowdfunding campaign to resurrect a lido on Peckam Rye has been successful. 

The campaign met its £63,347 target 13 days ahead of the deadline. The money will enable the architect to undertake a feasibility study for the community-led proposal. 

An Olympic-sized pool and surrounding complex will include a wild-swimming pond channelling the nearby River Peck, roof-top sunbathing areas, an outdoor cinema, gym, yoga studio and a function room.

It follows the studio’s proposal for a bathing area in the River Thames, which is in the process of finding support from the authorities and stakeholders.




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