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MAY 2014

a+u Feature on Somerville College Accommodation

The Japanese journal a+u has published an account of the practice’s student accommodation for Somerville College, Oxford. The theme of this month’s publication is ‘New Landscapes of Wooden Architecture’ and features an international selection of projects that explore new aspects of wood technology and its potential within cities. The article gives a description on the themes and processes behind the project, placing it within the context of the historic university city and the surrounding Radcliffe Infirmary Quarter.

It is illustrated with working details of the bespoke timber glazing for the stair tower lanterns, as well as the prefabricated timber projecting bay window units for the student bedrooms, with their integral desk and bench seat overlooking the street.

‘We chose to make the glazed elements in the stair towers and student rooms in wood because we wanted them to be like warm lanterns, internally lit in the evening, bringing light to the narrow street…Wood allowed us to make more three-dimensional details…we owe a debt to Louis Kahn’s work at Philip Exeter Academy Library.’  NM


APRIL 2014

Whilst visiting New Zealand as guest lecturer for the 2014 Futuna Lecture Series, Niall McLaughlin was interviewed by Kim Hill for the Saturday Morning Show on Radio New Zealand. During the 40 minute conversation they discussed ideas behind a range of the practice’s projects including a private house on Ireland’s west coast, the athletes’ housing scheme for the London Olympics and an apartment block for the Peabody Trust in Silvertown.

The conversation also drew in wider architectural themes, touching on contemporary attitudes to construction and sustainability, Modernism’s tendency towards introversion, and the increasing disconnect between abstract ideas and built form.

Niall concluded the conversation saying, “I do think that buildings should be embodiments of ideas, and people working with architects should be confident to say, ‘These are my ideas. What kind of buildings can you make out of them.’ ”

To listen to the full interview click here.