Architecture students from Nottingham University look at five featured images from the Building website and tell us what they think
McDowell + Benedetti designed footbridge for Hull city centre
Owen’s verdict: It seems fussy. Bridges can be so elegant and simple, the structure can be something to behold in itself. I don’t understand why a footbridge has to have a café in it.
Michael’s verdict: Whilst I have no problem with the overall notion of improving Hull, I can’t help but find this bridge a silly mis-investment. The issues that it highlights are: why would anyone want to cross the river to the other side when it is utterly dire and, indeed, why on earth would 1000 tourists ever want to be in Hull at the same time? Just to ride a bridge which would infrequently swing? The trouble is that as a result of the Guggenheim every crappy town thinks that they are being forward thinking by building their own unique pIece of architecture/art/sh**e. They totally ignore the fact that you have to address the basic regeneration and social requirements of the area, making it a better place to be overall. Gateshead is a good example of this; whilst most people remember the bridge, few went all the way there just to see it. They went for all of the other attractions. I’m concerned that Hull has a white elephant on their hands.
Frank Gehry’s designs for the 2008 Serpentine Gallery pavilion
Owen’s verdict: I think it is a great response to a great idea. People will grumble about it but it has such a short lifespan I think Gehry has decided to go for broke. If you look back at all the other Serpentine pavilions, the architects have been fairly conservative in their approach. The pavilion will not have a chance to age and it is a perfect opportunity to try something new. He has been brave enough to push the creative side of things and come up with a design that will be an interesting talking point for the park. God help the people who have to build it though.
Michael’s verdict: This is interesting as it represents a colaboration with his son, and thus is likely to have been predominantly designed by Samuel. Also because of of its apparent aesthetic departure from the dented tin can look he has become famous for. It seems to share some simliarities with the Santa Monica house he made in 1979. That particualr project was a pastiche of 1920’s design so, on further inspection, it makes me wonder if Frank is forming a pastiche of his own, over branded works…
Architect Studio Daniel Libeskind’s shortlisted plan for the Signal tower in Paris’ La Défense district
Owen’s verdict: I increasingly get the feeling that Libeskind is a one trick pony. This looks like the hangover from his Freedom Tower. Is he using Paris to build what he really wanted in New York?
Michael’s verdict: Is it just me or is everything Liberskind designs over 10 stories high hideous? i can’t help but feel that his system of design works far more effectively on lower wider projects. The repetitive nature of a tower overrides the narratives (always his strength) that he attempts to discuss.
Scott Brownrigg designed car park just opened in Cardiff Bay
Owen’s verdict: It’s a great sculptural response to what could have been a very mundane carpark. Sometimes I think that lighting schemes on projects like this can be gimmicky, but the whole project softens what could have been an eyesore. It is a strangely serene car park.
Michael’s verdict: In car park design there is very little room for any kind of architectural sentiment. Considering the reality of this scheme could only every be more than facadism they havent done a bad job. The clean lines seem to break up some of its bulk but i think that the relationship with the sea is manifested in a very insensitive fashion. But that is the Brownrigg way, so what do i know?
Zwarts & Jansma Architecten’s design for the headquarters of Dubai’s Road & Transport Authority
Michael’s verdict: If nothing else Dubai is certainly going to be a unique place to be! This is yet another in the myriad of over indulgent construction projects that the country is becoming famous for. I worry what the real motivation of all of these buildings is, as it is certainly not architectural progress. It just seems like a re-hash of the brutal oblique of 60/70s French theoretical work transplanted into the centre of a false lake in a desert. it seems more like a theme park design and as such totally disregards anything to do with regionalism. It is not sustainable but amusing none the less.
Owen Pritchard and Michael Hudson are currently studying for their Dip(arch) at Nottingham University. If you're an architecture student and would like to give your opinions on some recent projects please contact email@example.com