Saturday, 31 March 2012

The unveiling of the 2011 WCCA 'New City Architecture Award' plaque at Broadgate

a change of scale in Bishopsgate

Friday 30 March saw the unveiling of the New City Architecture Award for 2010 at 201 Broadgate / The Broadgate Tower by the Rt Hon The Lord Mayor, Alderman David Wootton. The ceremony took place in the covered space between the two buildings in the presence of representatives of the building owners - British Land, the architects and engineers - Skidmore Owings and Merrill and a selection of members of the Company including the Master and Wardens and the assessors for the award.

Following a welcome by the Chief Executive of British Land, the Lord Mayor paid tribute to the developers and their architects for what he saw as a distinguished addition to the City and its skyline. He had been pleased to be taken on a trip to the top of the tower from which vantage point he had been able to see the building which would sghortly be occupied by his legal practice.

He also paid tribute to the Chartered Architectrs' Company for the encouragement the gave to both developers and architects through their annual awards.

the reception prior to the unveiling of the WCCA plaque

the Right Honourable Lord Mayor of London,  Alderman David Wootton

The Lord Mayor's badge of office: 'Domine Dirige Nos' - 'May the Lord guide us'

The Lord Mayor and the chief executive of British Land, Chris Grigg,  unveil the plaque

The geometrical world of Skidmore Owings & Merrill, Chicago
The 'SHARD', now the tallest structure in Europe, had its apex fixed today
30 March 2012.


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

New City Architecture Awards Decision Day

The Winners of the Company's New City Architecture Awards for 2011 were announced and certificates presentedby Sheriff Wendy Mead at the Livery Banquet on Wednesday 14 March.The short listed buildings can be viewed on an earlier post.

The assessors (pictured below sans Clerk) were The Master - Michael Wilkey; The Renter Warden, Jaki Howes; Paul Finch OBE (Chairman); Liveryman Barry Munday, Alex Scott-Whitby (student representative) and the Clerk, David Cole-Adams

The assessors' report is as follows:

Unusually, the weather was fine for the Assessment tour and the jury marked this singular event by deciding unanimously that two buildings should be joint winners of the New City Architecture Award for 2011 – an award given for the best work of architecture in the City of London completed free of planning conditions in the qualifying year. This was not as a result of an inability to make a decision, but for positive reasons related to the qualities and characteristics of the architecture.

The jury has picked buildings that both respond to Wren, that are both office-led developments, but which then differ utterly in the contributions they make to City life. By coincidence, both have lead architects from outside the UK, working in the City for the first time. This is further evidence of the global nature of the Square Mile.

The two could scarcely be more different in terms of the challenges they presented to the architects in terms of programme and site. Each contributes to the evolving nature of the City of London, and each has been the subject of some controversy, especially in the pre-planning phase. As built, they both bring positive elements to the City and are worthy joint winners.

One New Change, designed by Atelier Jean Nouvel with executive architects Siddell Gibson, is on a hugely sensitive site opposite St Paul's Cathedral. The architects have managed to deliver a thoroughly contemporary piece of architecture which nevertheless respects its historic neighbour, not least by providing wonderful views both from ground and roof level.
The creation of arcades within the development gives urban grain to what might otherwise have seemed a relentless block. This is particularly true of the Cheapside elevation, where the glazed facade is not only broken to create a route into the scheme, but is also given visual variety by use of fritting, and angled canopy panels reflecting the tops of the buildings opposite.

This is an excellent example of how an office development, by including a substantial retail element, can bring activity to the street and life to the area for workers, visitors and residents alike.

The Award recipients were Kiran Pawar of Owners Land Securities, Hala Wardé of concept architects Atelier Jean Nouvel (seen right receiving her certificate from the Sheriff and Master), Ron Sidell of executive architects Sidell Gibson and Phil Clarke of Management Contractors Lend Lease .

 The other winner - New Court, Rothschild's new home in St Swithin's Lane, is designed by OMA with executive architects Allies & Morrison. It is located on a very tight site with one of the city's narrower lanes providing access. In order to provide sufficient space not merely for staff offices but also for the Rothschild archive, housed at ground level, the architects have produced a modest tower with stacked 'boxes' emerging on the City skyline. This is uncompromising and refined architecture which has created a striking landmark.

In some ways, however, the ground treatment is even more important. Here the building opens up to reveal the rear of Wren's St Stephen Walbrook, and its beautifully restored garden. What might have been a fortress has provided a new City gem. 

Sadly Tony Chapman of owners Rothschild Bank was unable to be present but Ellen van Loon of OMA (shown left), Andrew Dean of Allies and Morrison and James Pearce of Lend Lease collected their respective certificates.

Arrangements will be made for the Award plaques to be fixed to the buildings in due course and for them to be unveiled by the Lord Mayor.

The Company at Haberdashers' Hall

A significant number of members of the Company find Haberdashers' Hall - a Michael Hopkins building which was the winner of the New City Architecture Award some years back - an agreeable place in which to hold the Annual Livery Banquet. This ensured that there was virtually a full house for this year's event on Wednesday 14 March.

The Master hosted our official guests - Sheriff Wendy Mead and Mr Robert Tipping, Sir David Brewer CMG and Lady Brewer and the Master of the Fletchers' Company (our own Senior Past Master Deputy John Owen-Ward MBE), the Prime Warden of the Basketmakers' Company (Deputy John Barker OBE) and the Master Furniture Maker Hugh Garforth-Bles and their respective ladies. The York Guild of Building was represented by Past Master and Clerk Steve Bielby.

pictured (from left) The Clerk, David Cole-Adams; Upper Warden Dr Mervyn Miller and Mrs Ann Yorke; Mr Robert Tipping; Lady Brewer; Sheriff Wendy Mead CC; The Master, Michael Wilkey; Sir David Brewer; Mrs Susan Wilkey; Renter Warden Mrs Jaki Howes; Honorary Chaplain Rev Canon David Parrott; Junior Warden Dr Geoffrey Purves and Mrs Ann Purves.

In her response to the Civic toast The Sheriff  passed on greetings from the Lord Mayor who was currently abroad on City and national busuiness and drew attention to the role played by the Company in helping to improve the environment of the City. She congratulated those who were about to be revealed as the wnners  of the New City Architecture Awards for 2011.

Sir David Brewer, in responding to the toast to the guests, put in a serious plug for support for the development of the new premises being developed for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama at Milton Court. The Master is seeking to encourage members of theCompany to contribute to an appeal he has launched in support of the School.

The conclusion of the evening was the presentation by The Sheriff and Master of the New City Architecture Award Certificates for 2011 to the owners, architects and main contractors of New Court, St Swithin's Lane (the new Rothschild Bank Headquarters) and One New Change. Further details of these awards will be included in a the next post.