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AJ Magazines

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AJ 23.05.24: Belgium

AJ 23.05.24: Belgium

The Belgium issue offers a deep dive into why this perhaps unlikely country has become a happy hunting ground for UK-based architects. As editor Emily Booth observes in her introduction, 'centuries of shared trade and cultural history over the choppy North Sea mean the similarities and the links with the UK run deep' - but it is the substantial opportunities for work that are the real draw for the UK's practices today.

In a special projects round-up, we explore these opportunities through the work of UK names currently working in Belgium, including Counterspace, DRDH and David Chipperfield Architects. Meanwhile, our building studies include the retrofit of a fire station, and the transformation of an industrial building into a residential development by local practices ATAM and Notan Office, respectively.

In News we reveal the 2024 AJ100 Awards Shortlist, including Practice of the Year and Employer of the Year. We also meet director of the Flanders Architecture Institute Sofie De Caigny, and explore Maccreanor Lavington's plans for a post-'Brusselisation' retrofit scheme.

In Culture, Florian Heilmeyer reviews Rotor, a book exploring the works of artist-turned-builder Marcel Raymaekers, while an essay from Ellis Woodman sings the praises of the Flanders-style open call.

Elsewhere David Grandorge explores what's changing in Belgium - and what is not in the UK - while The Coach answers burning questions on redundancy, including what do next if it happens to you.

This month's sketchbook comes curtesy of Robert Coz, director at ADAM Architecture and the latest Hellman takes aim Kier Starmer's grey belt development plans.


AJ 21.03.24: AI

AJ 21.03.24: AI

A detailed look at how architects are using AI: is it a game-changer or a threat?

‘It’s not hyperbole to state that the physical environment of our future cities will be moulded largely by the work of computer scientists ... architects and place-makers must be more than part of the new conversation, they must also become active in the development of this consequential, software-driven shift.’

So says Keir Regan-Alexander in our special issue devoted to how architects are (or aren’t) using artificial intelligence. Also in this must-read edition you can read the results of the AJ’s AI survey, and find out what these new technologies could mean for the future of the profession. Alongside early adopter Keir’s top tips for starting to use AI, there is a round-up of how practices big and small are using it practically, including Child Graddon Lewis and K Bava Architects.

The more ethical aspects of AI are under the spotlight in an essay by Cristina Monteiro on what William Morris would have thought of it (this is also the inspiration for the cover image). And we’ve let ChatGPT write a building study for us on how Foster + Partners’ City Hall could be transformed into social housing, with visuals ‘created’ by Shutterstock AI and muse.ai.

In Culture, senior lecturer Stephen Parnell reveals how his students used Generative AI to resurrect an unpublished Manplan issue of The Architectural Review. There is also an exhibition review of Albert Frey: Inventive Modernist at Palm Springs Art Museum.

The Secret Architect enjoys a think-piece on AI written by an ingratiating colleague, while Martha Dillon opines that real estate AI is a threat to architects.

In non-AI news, we present two building studies: the multi-use Storyteller building in Sidcup by DRDH Architects, and Alma-nac’s orange- and yellow-hued community and co-working space in Tooting.

This month’s Sketchbook showcases the illustrations of Agustin Coll, and we also publish David Grandorge’s take on AI and Hellman’s on the BT Tower’s imminent conversion into a hotel.


AJ 22.02.24: Schools

AJ 22.02.24: Schools

This month’s issue of the AJ explores a sector in need of drastic, visionary and financial intervention: schools. As editor Emily Booth points out in her introduction, ‘while bold budgetary changes are made with the sweep of a pen at the macro level, each crumbling classroom is a local, micro tragedy’.

In News Anna Highfield delves deeper into this topic, asking whether the Tories’ new rescue package goes far enough to address deteriorating conditions in schools, and what measures a new government might take. Plus, we take a first look at Jamie Fobert’s newly revealed Maggie’s Centre plans.

Our building studies include Rivington Studio’s secondary school at Silvertown - an oasis amid the regeneration of east London’s docklands - and a supportive woodland learning environment by Loader Monteith and Studio SJM. Finally we take a look at Surman Weston’s first self-build project - a strikingly innovative and energy-efficient home that reinvents the terraced house.

Elsewhere the first piece in AJ’s new series, ‘Blueprints for Change’, presents Tom Holbrook’s bold proposition for The Arc – an 100-mile public landscape with water at its heart. The series will give voice to ways architects are challenging the most pressing social and environmental challenges. 

In our Opinion pages Cristina Monteiro explains why we need to talk about social value in architecture, while Toko Andrews asks if specialisation is the way to succeed in the profession. And, in Culture, we explore two new exhibitions: SOAS University of London’s Building Africa and Abstractions: Studies of the National Theatre – photographs of Denys Lasdun’s South Bank masterpiece. 

Finally, in Sketchbook we meet Fatima Mejbil of FAUM Architecture, and Hellman introduces us to RIBA presidential candidate Chris Williamson.


AJ 24.01.24: Housing

AJ 24.01.24: Housing

The AJ's first issue of 2024 explores what is set to be one of the year's most pressing and hotly-debated topics: housing. Our building studies include Child Graddon Lewis’s Harrow Road scheme which, following the election of a Labour council, was amended to offer 100% affordable homes. Plus projects from HTA Design and Hawkins\Brown, alongside Duncan Lewis Scape Architecture, offer a look at innovative and community-driven homes.

In News we dissect the boom in life sciences projects - including explaining how architects can tap into this treasure trove of work - and look ahead at Zaha Hadid Architects’ upcoming retrofit of a 1960s modernist tower.

In a special In Memory, friends and colleagues reflect on the life and talent of photographer Ben Blossom, who recently passed away after a short illness. And, in a Technical Profile, Hattie Hartman talks with Glasgow-based John Gilbert Architects about the importance of building performance evaluation in tackling the climate crisis.

In our Culture pages, Betty Owoo reviews Housing Atlas: Europe 20th Century, wondering what happened to the contribution of women in an otherwise worthy compendium. Plus, in Opinion, David Grandorge ponders the rising demand for social housing, and The Secret Architect heads across the Atlantic for a thoroughly ‘80s themed PCSA meeting.

Finally, in Sketch Club, we meet Fraser Morrison of Farshid Moussavi Architecture, while Hellman asks which messes Rishi Sunak will be able to clean up in time for this year's general election.


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