Page N1.2 . 14 February 2001                     
ArchitectureWeek - News Department
  • British Design Awards by London AIA
  • Young Architects Vie for Borromini Award
  • Conference Explores Informed Architecture

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    British Design Awards by London AIA


    The building form of the Stratford Regional Station responds to the context, orientation towards the town, and ease of expansion. The single major space unifies the disparate elements and identities the various train services. Convenience and ease of movement for the large passenger flows are crucial to the success of the station, with the form, layout, and levels responding directly to an analysis of passenger traffic.

    The building's curved roof springs from the upper-level walkway parallel with the main railway lines, and sweeps up to a high glazed wall. The lower part of the roof is glazed to provide views to the mainline platforms. The end walls are glazed, giving clear views through the entire building.

    The roof form provides natural lighting and solar-energy-assisted natural ventilation in the main space. Air is drawn by the stack effect through a deep void in the double-skin roof and exhausted at the highest point. This maintains air movement and summer temperatures at comfortable levels. It also provides smoke ventilation in case of fire.

    At night, the building's silver aluminum soffit is lit with high-energy, high-efficiency uplights, and the lower-level walls are lit by wall-wash downlights recessed around the perimeter. The building is bathed in light, providing a bright and welcoming space.

    National Portrait Gallery Extension

    The firm Jeremy Dixon Edward Jones was honored for its work on the National Portrait Gallery in London. The project is the result of cooperation between the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery to make use of a hidden courtyard between the two institutions.

    The space provides important facilities for the National Portrait Gallery as well as a radical reworking of its circulation system. The project brings support facilities up to date and provides dramatic new public spaces to complement the existing building.

    In the new wing, an escalator allows the visitors quick and direct access to the second floor where the collection begins. New lifts ensure disabled access to all old and new galleries.

    Surprise and unexpected views play an important part in the design. The transformed entrance hall leads to a tall tapering rectangular space lit at the top by a continuous clerestory window. Daylight reaches down to the ground level, bouncing off the white walls, contrasting with the dim light of the historic entrance hall.

    The new wing also includes a 138-seat lecture theatre, bookshop, and new galleries for Tudor and late 20th century works. A new public restaurant at roof level provides spectacular views to the south of Trafalgar Square, Whitehall, and the Westminster skyline.

    This view of London's institutions of government, church, and the arts is especially appropriate because that is where many of those celebrated in the National Portrait Gallery made their reputations.

    Peckham Library

    The Peckham Library & Media Centre by award-winning Alsop Architects is part of a major urban regeneration scheme for Southeast London. The architects were asked to "create a building of architectural merit that will bring prestige to the borough and a welcome psychological boost... that does not alienate local people by giving an appearance of elitism, strangeness, or exclusivity."

    The library takes the form of an inverted ell shape with the horizontal level block, raised 40 feet (12 meters) above the ground, supported on one side by raking angled columns and on the other by the vertical block. At ground level, a new public space is created below the overhang of the building, which in summer will accommodate open-air events.

    Seven-foot (2-meter) high stainless steel letters spelling "LIBRARY," an orange "beret" projecting over the front of the building, and the apex of two interior pods puncturing the roofline contribute to building's dramatic silhouette.

    The horizontal block consists of a large double-height space housing the main lending library. The children's library is accommodated at the rear with a full-height glazed curtain wall casting multicolored shadows across the space. The 5-story vertical block houses the lobby, administration, and community and multimedia centers.

    The front elevation and soffit are dressed with an undulating mesh screen. This provides a visually intricate envelope to the external public space and assists night-time security to the main entrance.

    Other Winners

    Two of the winning projects are not pictured. One is The Eden Project, in Bodelva, Cornwall, by Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners Ltd. A showcase for global bio-diversity, and one of the high-profile Millennium Projects, it is the largest plant enclosure in the world.

    The Eden Project consists of eight connected transparent geodesic domes that encapsulate humid tropic and warm temperate regions.

    These 'Bucky balls' (named after Buckminster Fuller) range in radius from 60 to 215 feet (18 to 65 meters) to accommodate the varying plant heights. This is an example of form following function, say the architects, a tangible expression of the client's aim to draw global attention to human dependence upon plants.

    The other project not shown is LF One, Landesgartenschau, in Weil Am Rhein, Germany, by Zaha Hadid with Schumacher, Mayer Bährle. The jury noted its poetic interrelationship of natural and artificial light and the way in which elements of the design have been crafted to reinforce the way the light is controlled.

    This year's awards were sponsored by MACE plc, a leading UK construction company.



    ArchWeek Photo

    Stratford Regional Station.
    Image: Wilkinson Eyre Architects

    ArchWeek Photo

    National Portrait Gallery Extension.
    Photo: Dennis Gilbert

    ArchWeek Photo

    National Portrait Gallery Extension.
    Image: Jeremy Dixon Edward Jones

    ArchWeek Photo

    View from the National Portrait Gallery restaurant.
    Photo: Dennis Gilbert

    ArchWeek Photo

    Peckham Library & Media Centre.
    Photo: Roderick Coyne

    ArchWeek Photo

    Peckham Library & Media Centre.
    Photo: Roderick Coyne


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