The big stories this week is the announcement that the Government will pay the bill to replace the unsafe cladding around hundreds of tower blocks in the UK, and construction on Frank Gehry’s stunning new Guggenheim Abu Dhabi gets underway.
After an almost two year stand off, the Government have agreed to pay the £200m bill to replace the unsafe cladding around 150 high rise buildings in the UK. Refusal by the private owners of the buildings has been labelled as “morally indefensible” by James Brokenshire, the UK Housing Secretary, and despite several threats from the government, the private owners wouldn’t budge. The bill covers to removal and replacement of any aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding, the same which covered Grenfell.
However, the bill will not cover non-aluminium composite material cladding, despite it failing fire safety regulations.
Frank Gehry’s long awaited Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is set to begin construction work, to be completed in four years time. Situated on Saadiyat Island, the new museum will be part of the shrine to the giant’s of architecture, with neighbours such as Jean Nouvel’s recently completed Louvre Ab Dhabi, Foster + Partner’s National Museum of the UAE, and a performing arts centre by Zaha Hadid Architects. The amazing design was first unveiled back in 2007, and it will become the largest of the four Guggenheim museums.
New designs for the temporary replacement for the House of Commons has been revealed by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris. While the Palace of Westminster is restored, MPs will move to the Grade II-listed Richmond House in London’s Whitehall, while the House of Lords will be temporarily relocated to the nearby Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre.
Demolition has begun on the ‘iconic’ brutalist Welbeck Street car park, with architects lamenting the decision to turn it into a hotel.
House prices have picked up in April, after suffering a 1.25% slump in March. After a rise of 1.1%, the average house is now valued at £236,619.
A social housing redevelopment in Bordeaux has won this year’s Mies van der Rohe Award. The Transformation of 530 Dwellings saw Frédéric Druot Architecture, Lacaton & Vassal Architectes and Christophe Hutin Architecture add a new facade of balconies to the blocks, giving residents new balconies and more light in their homes.
London continues it’s love affair with green space, as it’s announced that the Greenwich Peninsula is set to get a new park this July, designed by architecture giant Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Described as a ‘bold 3D landscape’, The Tide Linear Park will run along the Thames, offering an evolving collection of free-to-view public art along a landscaped route perfect for running or walking. The 5 kilometers-long landscape features 9 meters-high elevated walkways flowing through trees and giant sculptures.
In order to entice new families and residents, empty houses in Sicily are being auctioned off for as little as €1! The news of this spread quickly as buyers from the UK, Dubai, Panama and Russia arrived in Sambuca to snatch up the cheap property. The average property sale price was between €5,000 and €10,000.
Hong Kong property prices are expected to continue to rise for another decade, in a market that is already the most unaffordable in the world.
The rise of timber as a building material continues with the announcement of a new wooden skyscraper set to become the world’s tallest in Vancouver. Perkins + Will have released initial plans for the sleek and stylish build, which puts emphasis upon sustainability.
Shares in Purplebricks fall 5% as founder Michael Bruce leaves the company, announcing the they will be pulling operations out of Australia and is putting it’s US arm under review.
Plans for the new US Embassy in Thailand have been revealed by SHoP Architects, with the main building surrounded by lush greenery in Bangkok’s Pathum Wan district.
The designers of the huge Shenzhen Bay Headquarters City development have been unveiled as Henning Larsen, Shenzhen Cube Architecture + Swooding Architects Limited. The enormous project will turn Shenzhen into the “waterfront city it should always have been”, part of the largest bay economy in the world, the project aims to create the leading innovation center of China.
The new £1.1bn East Bank development in Stratford has been given the green light, which will see a new cultural hub established in East London.
Roger Stirk Harbour + Partners have completed their first cultural building in the US, which is an International Spy Museum. Located in Washington DC, the black and red building was intended to stand out among the city’s iconic monuments like the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.