© Stanton Williams / Asif Kahn (courtesy MRC)
The challenge to design a new Museum of London in a very traditional context did not deter some of Europe’s premier modernists from entering this competition. The prize was the conversion of a building in the West Smithfield area, intended to anchor an important cultural district in the city. The new museum, which has a £130-150m construction budget, will secure the future of a series of much-loved heritage buildings at West Smithfield, help regenerate this historic part of the City of London and re-launch the museum, which has seen its audiences soar in recent years. Whereas other major capitals may only have one museum of history, the Museum of London already exists in other locations in the city, most notably in the Square Mile and the Docklands. But establishing a new museum in another location only serves to illustrate the wealth of historical materials accessible to the museum in its archives.
Poland and the Baltic states have been playing cultural catch-up with the rest of the world ever since the former gained their independence after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1989. These have included several high-profile competitions for museums in Poland, but also interesting projects in Estonia. Now Latvia and Lithuania are saying that they too should also have modern art museums on par with those in western Europe and Scandinavia. In Latvia, a movement to establish a modern art museum dates back to the early decade of the 21st century. It was then in 2005 that the ABLV Charitable Foundation, established by a local bank, provided endowment funds for purchasing modern art for a museum. They were joined in the museum project by The Boris and Inara Teterev Foundation, which was founded with the purpose of promoting culture.
Finland has always had close times culturally to the Baltic States, especially to Estonia, and the recent Guggenheim competition there could hardly have gone unnoticed by its southern neighbors. So it should come as no surprise that the Latvian sponsors engaged Malcolm Reading Consultants, the Guggenheim competition adviser, to organize their competition for the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art in the nation’s capital, Riga. Contrary to the Guggenheim competition, this time the finalists were the result of a closed shortlisting process.
- Adjaye Associates (UK) with AB3D
- Architects Lahdelma & Mahlamäki (Finland) with MADE Arhitekti
- Caruso St John Architects (UK) with Jaunromāns un Ābele
- Henning Larsen Architects (Denmark) with MARK Arhitekti
- Neutelings Riedijk Architects (Netherlands)
- Sauerbruch Hutton (Germany) with Arhitekts Ingurds Lazdiņš
- wHY Architecture (US) with Outofbox and ALPS
All of the shortlisted teams had at least some museum experience, and those having somewhat less exposure in this area could point to their expertise in a number of projects relating to the arts. Some had made their mark lately, most notably wHY architecture (US) and Lahdelma & Mahlamäki (Finnland), the latter having won the prestigious open competition for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. With the exception of Neutelings Riedijk Architects, all of the finalists included at least one local Latvian firm on their team. The ultimate competition winner, Adjaye Associates (UK), could bask in the huge amount of publicity generated by the September 2016 opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the Mall in Washington D.C.
The competition in many ways resembled a linear exercise, mainly dictated by the site and program. In the end, Adjaye Associates very straightforward, logical approach to the program won the day for the London firm. Although there were not enough jury comments to suggest how the other finalist team(s) were ranked, only one, Sauerbruch Hutton, was given a “mention’, although it was not to be considered as a ranking.
The museum will be built as part of New Hanza City, a new district at a former railway goods station in a northern district of Riga. Comprising 24.5 hectares, the development also will inclulde offices, apartments, a hotel, a nursery school and a public garden.
Given the history of Rosa Luxemburg as a founder of the Spartacus Bund, a precursor to the German Communist Party, it would seem peculiar to many outside of Germany that a foundation bearing her name would be one of the largest in Germany. Rosa Luxemburg, although born in Poland, became famous during World War I in Berlin as an anti-war activist. She was murdered during the Communist uprising against the German government in 1919. In 1926, Mies van der Rohe was commissioned to design a monument commemorating her and Karl Liebknecht, co-founders of the Spartacus Bund (above). The monument was later demolished by the Nazis in 1935 and never rebuilt. One promising attempt to rebuild the memorial was abandoned when Mies withdrew his support for it—no doubt a product of the Cold War at the time—and Mies’s experiences with the McCarthy hearings at the Un- American Activities Committee.Read more...
St Hilda’s College has selected Gort Scott to design a new £10m+ front-of-house development for its exceptional riverside site in the conclusion of the Redefining St Hilda’s invited design competition, organized by Malcolm Reading Consultants. St Hilda’s College was one of the original group of five women’s colleges founded at Oxford at the end of the nineteenth century. Since 2008, it has selected its undergraduates and graduates without regard to gender. St Hilda’s now has one of the highest proportions of international undergraduate students of any college within the University.Read more...
An Adventure of the First Order
The Tintagel Castle Bridge Design Competition
©William Matthews Associates; courtesy MRC
Out-of-the-way places can be serious destinations, especially when they embody an object of historical significance. The medieval Tintagel Castle site is certainly one of these examples, attracting scores of visitors every year. Although only now a ruin, its history, linked to the tales of King Arthur, is certainly the tale which can be of interest to any serious English history buff. But getting to the crest of the hill cliff where it is located is only something for the hardy. The problem has been the steep ascent to the site, which could only be reached via a circuitous winding pathway. To address this issue, a new bridge in a more advantageous location was proposed to replace an existing, somewhat rickety span.
Organized by Malcolm Reading Consultants, this competition's call for expressions of interest drew 137 responses, with six firms being shortlisted for the design competition phase. At the conclusion of the adjudication process, the jury announced the team of Ney & Partners with William Matthews Associates as winners. The other finalists, without ranking, were:
- Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes with Terrell
- Marks Barfield Architects with Flint and Neill J&L Gibbons LLP and Mola
- Niall McLaughlin Architects with Price and Myers
- RFR and Jean-Francois Blassel Architecte with Engineershrw and WSP
- WilkinsonEyre with Atelier One
A Holistic Strategy for a Community Learning Environment
Can it be that pedagogues from all over the world will soon be traveling to the far reaches of Siberia to examine the workings of a school, which not only will be catering to average students, but also feature a live-in community offering an optimal educational environment for disadvantaged children. A competition for this ‘model’ school occurred in 2015, and the winning entry came from a team led by the Danish firm, CEBRA.Read more...Honoring the Old, In with the New
Laval University School of Architecture “Emblematic Addition” Ideas Competition
by Stanley Collyer
Addressing an addition to a centuries-old seminary building in the heart of historic Québec—designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site— would represent a unique challenge to any architect. To probe the boundaries of this scenario, the Laval University School of Architecture, celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding, sponsored a one-stage ideas competition, open to professionals and students alike for an “emblematic addition” to the heritage building where it resides.Read more...