This was the decade of the “iconic” towers, sustainable homes and very big infrastructure schemes
Here’s our top six, in order of merit
1 Eden Project
This Cornish scheme was conceived by Tim Smit, a drop-out musician-turned-historic garden restorer. It didn’t necessarily bode well, but against the odds Eden became the best of the Millennium buildings. Architect Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners’ design was spectacular, thanks to the instantly recognisable domed biomes and innovative use of ETFE panels. There was also an added twist to the project team – the £80m contract was awarded to a joint venture between Alfred McAlpine and Sir Robert McAlpine, the first partnership between the two since they split in 1940.
2 The Gherkin
Norman Foster’s finest contribution to the City skyline, 30 St Mary Axe, is much more than an unusually shaped tower. The building, which was also a triumph for Skanska, has won over London to tall buildings.
3 Channel Tunnell Rail Link and St Pancras International
With this project, the UK rail network has a fine gateway to Europe. The £800m station refurbishment, which was formed by the conversion of its decrepit, 139-year predecessor, was a masterpiece of engineering. The initial design was by Nick Derbyshire of British Rail, which was developed by Foster + Partners. It managed to slot 21st-century transport and retail facilities into the famous Barlow shed without arousing the ire of English Heritage in the process. The 108km high-speed line from London to the British end of the tunnel finished in 2007
Peabody’s BedZed scheme was the project that first got the nation talking seriously about zero carbon homes back in 2000. Without any of the pressure of the government legislation and guidelines that were to come in the years following its creation, the visionary project paved the way for many of the technologies we take for granted today.
5 Heathrow Terminal 5
The sheer scale of Richard Rogers’ design made it a mind-blowing feat of construction. But the project’s credentials are also owing to the manner in which it was built: the pioneering T5 agreement, which created a whole new framework for projects, epitomised the Egan agenda like no other before or since.
6 Arsenal stadium
2006 was a tale of two stadiums for the UK construction industry – and this one that got it right. The £275m venue, the Emirates stadium, was completed by Sir Robert McAlpine on time and under budget. More than £35m of extra works were incorporated during its construction.
Gus Alexander, Building’s architecture critic picks his favourite 10 buildings …
- 1 The 10 best Buildings of the decade? I thought Foster + Partners Sage music centre in Gateshead was sexy and sinuous, and my nephew who works there says it gives great concerts.
- 2 It may not have been the ideal place for Mr Tony’s party, but the Millennium Dome has made another brilliant venue.
- 3 There was something marvellously matter-of-fact about the Eden project which belied what a magical place it is.
- 4 How do you put a little town on the map with a weird building that everyone likes? Tim Ronalds’ Landmark theatre in Ilfracombe is a fine example.
- 5 It is also difficult to make places in cities, so Matthew Lloyd’s stripey Bishops Square flats by Spitalfields has done well to lift this part of commercial east London.
- 6 There’s not enough joy in buildings, so Heatherwick Studio’s East Beach Cafe in Littlehampton is a delight.
- 7 Well actually, Toyo Ito’s 2002 Serpentine pavilion was pure joy, and gave fractal design a good name.
- 8 Ted Cullinan’s Centre for Mathematical Sciences in Cambridge university is worth going to see just for the collossal steel knuckles that support the corners of the roof over the vast central space.
- 9 Hopkins Architects’ Westminster tube station never ceases to astonish, even during the rush hour. Especially during the rush hour.
- 10 And in case anyone thinks we have forgotten how to do gravitas, there’s Caruso St John’s British Library …
Review of the Decade 2000-2009
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