architecture

Review: Eco reading

By Roger Hunt l December 17, 2011

Type the words ‘eco’ or ‘sustainable’ into Amazon and you’ll be greeted by a mind blowing number of books so I though I’d share just four from the shelves of my office which might prove useful or even thought provoking. Simply Sustainable Homes is, as the strapline says, a no-nonsense guide to green building. It’s…

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UNICEF’s architect

By Roger Hunt l October 27, 2011

As a writer I’m lucky, I have the chance to meet many interesting people. Even so, some stand out – Carlos Vasquez of UNICEF is one of them. When I met him, during his brief visit to London from New York, I soon discovered his passion for building sustainably and his understanding of the way buildings…

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Industrial heritage at risk

By Roger Hunt l October 19, 2011

Taking the train out of London from Victoria, I invariably look across at Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s Battersea Power Station. Its four iconic chimneys and the bulk of the cathedral-like building below never fail to stir some deep emotion. Now I know I’m not alone in such feelings: according to a poll, 80% of people…

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High Line New York

By Roger Hunt l September 21, 2011

Last Sunday I witnessed regeneration in action. With a couple of hours to spare in New York I visited the High Line on Manhattan’s West Side and went for an inspiring walk with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of the City’s residents. The High Line was originally constructed in the 1930s to lift dangerous freight trains off…

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What is restoration?

By Roger Hunt l July 18, 2011

In light of the debate stirred by the BBC’s Restoration Home, this seems a good time to think about some of the vocabulary used to describe what we do to old buildings. The general approach to their conservation was established in 1877 when William Morris founded The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB).…

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Restoration Home

By Roger Hunt l July 12, 2011

This is not my first blog about old buildings and television but the new BBC2 series Restoration Home can’t be allowed to pass without comment. For those who missed the first episode the series is presented by Caroline Quentin, who “has a deep passion for old buildings”, with the help of architectural expert Kieran Long…

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View from Tower Bridge

By Roger Hunt l July 6, 2011

Last Thursday I stood 42 metres above the River Thames on the walkways of London’s Tower Bridge and was struck by the ingenuity that has gone into constructing our built environment. Tower Bridge required two massive piers to be sunk into the river bed and the erection of over 11,000 tons of steel to create…

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Wolfgang Feist and Passivhaus

By Roger Hunt l May 8, 2011

Amongst the hubbub of Ecobuild this year I spent an enjoyable hour or so interviewing Wolfgang Feist, the founder of the Passivhaus Institut, for Show House magazine. You can read the resulting article here but, earlier in the day, I’d wandered round the German stands and gathered the thoughts of exhibitors from the birthplace of Passivhaus.…

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Sustainable luxury?

By Roger Hunt l February 5, 2011

I’ve always been more than a little wary of the contradiction of putting the words ‘luxury resort’ and ‘sustainability’ together but recently I met up with the team behind the 12 Blues Resort & Spa in the Maldives. They claim that this is “destined to become one of the world’s most desirable six star resort…

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The restoration question

By Roger Hunt l January 15, 2011

Repair not restoration has always been my mantra when considering the renovation of old buildings. What do I mean? Well, repair is about mending with minimum loss of fabric and thus retaining character and authenticity; restoration is about returning to a perfect state, a process often based on conjecture and potentially resulting in fakery. Taken…

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Testing zero carbon

By Roger Hunt l September 22, 2010

Greenwatt Way, in Slough, Berkshire, is more than a zero carbon Code for Sustainable Homes Level 6 development. It’s a live testbed for, amongst other things, five different types of energy generation. This means it has an energy centre on a scale very different from what I had expected of a ten home scheme made up…

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