Pagoda dragon

What Keeps Conservation Current and Makes it Count?

It is often said in conservation circles that no two projects are the same. Some, however, are so very different from anything else that they challenge the limits of possibility, dramatically change our approach and experience, and even change people. They are more than just unusual, they are unique.

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City Hall London

Event Summary: Priorities for arts and culture in London (by Rob Firman, Austin-Smith:Lord)

I attended Policy Forum’s ‘Priorities for Arts and Culture’ event in Central London earlier this month, which looked at emerging priorities for policy at City Hall and key challenges for the Capital’s cultural sector.

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devils-bridge

Modern Architecture Meets Ancient Mythology

It might come as some surprise to learn that an aspiring young architect should not only be winning a scholarship in 2016, awarded on their 21st birthday, but be drawing inspiration from events real or imagined that date back as far as the 6th century. For Efa Lois Thomas, however, the links between the places of today and storytelling of the past are both real and rich in ideas.

It’s been an exciting year for the Austin-Smith:Lord Part 1 Architectural Assistant. Efa was awarded the National Eisteddfod scholarship for her concept of creating a Welsh Cultural Centre within a new building on Maryland Street in Liverpool, and she was also asked to feature on a panel for the Trust dedicated to celebrating the works of her idol, Dewi-Prys Thomas, all while settling into her first job in our Cardiff Studio here at Austin-Smith: Lord.

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Palace Theatre Swansea

Roadtripping Around Wales Again… (by Rob Firman, Austin-Smith:Lord)

Austin-Smith:Lord has a long and proud record of designing new buildings for the performing arts. Our portfolio of completed work also includes the conversion of a derelict town hall into an arts centre and now, with the completion of the Gaiety in Ayr, our first full restoration and conservation of a listed theatre building.

Working with listed theatre buildings is not, however, a new experience for us. Since I published ‘The Theatres and Performance Buildings of South Wales’ in 2012 recording the physical and economic condition of the 111 surviving theatre buildings in South Wales, I have been a member of the Theatres Trust’s Welsh Theatres Working Party and unofficial ‘Special Advisor’ to the Trust for Theatre Buildings in Wales.

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MIPIM UK 2016 - EXHIBITION AREA

MIPIM UK Round Up: Rio Ferdinand Flies the Flag for Affordable Housing, and more

Whether you were able to make it to MIPIM UK last week or not, Austin-Smith: Lord Partner, Martin Roe, shares an overview of some of the key themes picked up from his visit to the UK’s largest exhibition and conference for property professionals.

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hands

By Collaborating We………Co-create (A personal reflection on collaborative practice by Graham Ross, Austin-Smith:Lord)

“Vivendo discimus. Pesando creamus.” – Patrick Geddes

It has often been suggested that cities are humanity’s greatest achievement; furthering civilisation by the exchange of ideas and innovations through collaboration, enabled by proximity.

Architecture, urbanism and planning are fundamentally collaborative disciplines. The design and construction of buildings rarely occurs without collaboration. Place-making and place-mending at a neighbourhood, town, city or regional scale demands it.

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Great Pagdoa, Kew

How should we approach conservation? (by David Millar, Austin-Smith:Lord)

I find it both refreshing and reassuring that an inspired individual in New York City has decided to understand and revitalise heritage with the Lowline project gathering pace.  It is an ambitious re-use of a derelict tram line to create an underground park and landscape which re-energises heritage embedded within the city.

Now, I am not saying we must be inventive and find a new use for every piece of heritage that survives. No, just realise that it is important to appreciate and understand our heritage, as it can positively influence our actions and inform our current thinking, which, in turn, can lead to the enrichment of our lives and the environment that surrounds us.

Whilst New York tackles the Lowline project, Austin-Smith:Lord’s conservation architects are currently working on one of the most exciting and important conservation projects within the UK, if not Europe.  It is the restoration of The Great Pagoda at Kew Gardens, in London.

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GOMA Scaffold Drop 2

Expecting The Unexpected At The Gallery Of Modern Art

We are just about to see the grand reveal after the conclusion of a very interesting and challenging project at one of Scotland’s top attractions and historic buildings, the stunning Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) in Glasgow.

After an extensive series of conservation repairs, the scaffolding that currently covers the clock tower at GoMA will come down, revealing the new look of the 189 year old landmark.

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RIAS Spring 2016 CoverREVA

Nicholas Hawksmoor – London Churches (Book Review by Graham Ross, Austin-Smith:Lord)

This book pays homage to the eight remarkable churches built in London to designs by Nicholas Hawksmoor. Constructed following an Act of Parliament in 1711 to build fifty new churches in the city, two of the eight were in collaboration with John James and several were affected by the Blitz, resulting in the demolition of one (St. John Horsleydown). Some have been appropriated for other uses in the meantime.

The centrepiece of this alluring publication is the stunning collection of stills of the seven remaining churches, by the renowned architectural photographer Helene Binet. This portfolio of images are, in their own right, outstanding.

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BIM Montage

Are you prepared for the new digital construction era?

There’s an unstoppable digital revolution sweeping across the construction industry but how many of us are ready to ride the wave?

In just over two months (4th April), all parties involved in Government projects with a value of £6m and over, from architects, surveyors and construction companies through to manufacturers, will need to be Building Information Modelling (BIM) Level 2 compliant at minimum.

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