Inside the Gherkin – On top of the World?

Last week I had the unexpected chance to get myself inside one of London’s most iconic buildings: 30 St Mary Axe, Headquarter of Swiss Re, also known as the ‘Gherkin’. Built by Norman Foster at the turn of the century using parametric design and thus a novel technological approach, this building has seen both praise…

London Open House 2: The Bridge Academy

Schools are interesting as a building type for a variety of reasons: they have a clear function, i.e. accommodating children and organising teaching and learning; there are clear temporal patterns in usage and stark differences between classroom activities and the times before, after and in between; and the interface of schools is complex, too, in…

London Open House: The Bank of England

Like hundreds of other Londoners, I was curious to see the insides of The Bank of England at this year’s┬áLondon Open House. And like hundreds of others, I thought it would be a good idea to come early to avoid the historic queues. Well, arriving a mere 7 minutes after official opening on Saturday wasn’t…

The Secret Life of Buildings

Or: The Good, The Bad and The Shiny. Channel 4’s series on ‘The Secret Life of Buildings‘, broadcast in August 2011 is a fascinating inquiry into the way buildings affect people. Three episodes on our homes, our workplaces and places of leisure looked at examples of good design and bad design. I can whole-heartedly approve…