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Cooper Hart

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Building in Timber
About 350 years ago, Timber buildings were outlawed from London, but now timber is coming back with a vengeance. Most impressive at present is the Stadthaus in Hoxton is a 9 storey glue-lam tower with a metal skin, although with these buildings going up everywhere (eg Angel, below), and a capacity of up to 30 storeys, expect to see much more...
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Cooper Hart

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People Sit in Sitting Spaces
It may seem obvious to some, but people sit when seating is provided. Here, even a 5°C day is no barrier to this park being used, with its generous provision of sitting space.

So, next time you hear a council claim that "people just want turf", show them this.
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A Marquette of Rio de Janeiro demonstrating the concept of density corridors and quiet backs - a great way of providing housing and amenities close to transport while preserving the historic neighbourhoods beyond.

Also note the axial church in bottom left - Kevin Lynch would be proud...
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The Importance of Finishing Well
From Skyscraper Gothic icons to the local high Street kiosk, a well formed diminishing roof line turns a painted shed into a piece of urban furniture.

Why? Theories abound from the tripartite classical form to our anthropomorphic empathy with human form. Either way, finish your buildings well...
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TfL are trialling marked boarding for queueing and alighting on the Kings Cross Northern Line... Great idea from HK's MRT.
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Saskia Sassen's book "Expulsions" makes the case against the intimate and corrosive relationship between large capital and cities, and the "de-urbanisation" occurring due to the land assembly and development for foreign investment. To see evidence of this, you must only, as Jane Jacobs famously said, "look around yourself".

So, if we are to solve the housing crises and preserve the networks that make cities successful and long-lived, what must we do? Oppose the trend towards consolidation (as we do most monopolies)? Favour small-scale owner-build projects over large developer-led megaprojects? Replace the 'profit principle' with the triple bottom line (CSER, in the UK)? This is the real challenge for democracy, the Trojan Horse within...
The Queensland government has closed a deal that will see a historic government precinct redeveloped into a casino.
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If you're a developer working on transport apps or have an interest in #opendata , we continue to improve our #API  to ensure the dev community can create ever more useful apps to help keep London moving. 

See how we're improving our roads open data, with live car park data and live video JamCams now available. You can see an example of a live JamCam video in action on our blog post.
In my previous post on Roads Open Data I outlined the importance of providing quality data for London’s roads, particularly at a time when our Road Modernisation Plan is being implemented and we ar...
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New London Vernacular
If you live in the UK you have probably heard of the London Vernacular, and heard it described as timeless, or a return to some historic norm.

The 'norm' is Georgian architecture - the legacy of Gibbs' "The Rules of Drawing the Several Parts of Architecture" (1732), itself aspirational Palladian (an English adaption of Italian neo-classical, viz Gibbs' own St Mary's-le-Strand). Stone, (and later white paint) trim, pediments and portico entrances are all legacies of this abridged Italian style.

This architecture was, in a way, local, in that it was adapted to affordable speculative construction methods: By using local clay and ash brick, façades made best use of the common London clay soils. In Georgian architecture there is a marked preference for yellow 'sandstock' or 'marl stock' brick (using the abundant chalk to lighten the brick), to emulate the sandstone ('yorkstone') edifices of the upper classes. These in time turned black (soot, later made permanent using pitch), 10 Downing Street being an obvious example. Brown/purple "plum" (natural) clay was also common and cheap, supplanting pre-Georgian red (from the Home Counties) for the most part (unlike colonial Georgian, which stuck to the Tudor reds also produced by foreign clays).

In the Industrial age, when houses continued to follow these trends (as well as the red brick and stucco revival styles), Industrial architecture took a new path. One of the greatest Victorian inventions was the Staffordshire Blue Brick, marl fired at high temperature, which turned the local soil deep purple/blue. This became ubiquitous in rail viaducts and other high-strength brick structures - and in the rare case aesthetically for civic structures.

Today's 'vernacular' overwhelmingly favours this blue and black brick - a new use for Staffordshire bricks and their equivalents, which gives the buildings a distinctly 'modern' appearance. Also notable in the current style are the lack of trim and deep reveal windows - in fact legacies of earlier English Tudor brick buildings - only writ large. Square windows (an innovation, ignoring Georgian proportioning principles) seem to derive from grid forms, perhaps a borrowing from the New York loft / warehouse conversion form recently popular around the western world.

Recessed or absent balconies / sheer façades also predominate - the UK having long struggled with balconies due to poor light levels (witness the Victorian lacework balconies, often only 1m deep, the poor cousins of the wide verandahs of the Raj) - a welcome return to the street wall after the 20th century 'Town Country' and its picturesque front setbacks, which elsewhere (eg Sydney, Australia) survive even into new high density forms. The buildings do however adopt the Edwardian stepped brick balcony roof form (a good example of this is the fire tower in Lambeth Fire Station, 1937)

So, then, the London Vernacular is in fact quite new, and not altogether vernacular. Yet it is a style which marries well with the old, which may render it 'timeless' after all, when architecture next moves on.
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Rio: The quiet backs and busy fronts of the streets in the marquette (prev post)
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Death by 1000 Cuts
In its one fingered salute to #COP21 , England is choosing to dismantle the Green Belt in place around cities since 1955. The insidiousness of the policy (an unspecified number, for private, undersized housing) is underwritten by the decision to do so without analysis or debate. So too did other cities dismantle their rural fringes - Sydney has aggressively built on its arable land since the 70s - and the loss of both agricultural land and urban density is palpable. This trend is also irreversible, as land once built-on is contaminated and unsuitable for agricultural production, even if ploughing up housing estates was viable. Rather, the UK should look to France (and lately Spain), where cordons are used to both prevent sprawl and preserve the valuable countryside for the growing wave of conscious consumers.
Councils will be allowed 'to allocate appropriate small-scale sites in the Green Belt specifically for starter homes', which are designed for young families
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WebCAT has been hailed as 'the greatest map-geek invention ever,’ and this week that proved to be the case as our unique urban planning tool picked up an award at the AGI Awards for Geospatial Excellence 2015! 

http://blog.tfl.gov.uk/2015/12/03/agi-awards-for-geospatial-excellence-webcat-wins/
Back in July, Yaron gave an overview of WebCat - a unique TfL tool designed primarily for developers and town planners, giving them information on transport connectivity when deciding what to build...
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Cooper Hart

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Saskia Sassen's book "Expulsions" makes the case against the intimate and corrosive relationship between large capital and cities, and the "de-urbanisation" occurring due to the land assembly and development for foreign investment. To see evidence of this, you must only, as Jane Jacobs famously said, "look around yourself".

So, if we are to solve the housing crises and preserve the networks that make cities successful and long-lived, what must we do? Oppose the trend towards consolidation (as we do most monopolies)? Favour small-scale owner-build projects over large developer-led megaprojects? Replace the 'profit principle' with the triple bottom line (CSER, in the UK)? This is the real challenge for democracy, the Trojan Horse within...
The Queensland government has closed a deal that will see a historic government precinct redeveloped into a casino.
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In their circles
555 people
Have them in circles
372 people
‫فهيم عبده فهيم سيداروس‬‎'s profile photo
Kalpesh Patel's profile photo
Maksud Alam's profile photo
patrick sanya's profile photo
We Are Promotional Products UK's profile photo
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Public Realm thinking from the urban design consultancy formerly known as Cooper Hart - now known as Urbanism Consultancy Limited (UK)
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