Lucy Roper’s Built Environment blog: Rebuilding the dam and assessing architectural achievements

Posted on: 2019-08-15

The latest blog from UCEM Information Governance Manager, Lucy Roper, sees Lucy point us to stories on the recent dam collapse in Derbyshire, the turning down of a proposed London skyline building and the latest on two of RIBA’s prizes…

Giving a dam

Residents of the village in Derbyshire which was evacuated due to the part-collapse of a dam began returning last week. The Toddbrook Reservoir dam in Whaley Bridge will be rebuilt in a project lasting up to three years after being damaged by heavy rain. It’s not often you read about dams in the news and the BBC took the opportunity to report on the state of dams in the UK which, reassuringly (though perhaps not for the residents of Whaley Bridge!), noted how rare these incidents are and how unlikely it is that there would be damage to other dams. Fortunately for the villagers, there was a cast list of heroes who ensured that they remained safe, having realised the severity of the situation early on and raised the appropriate alarms. Hopefully there won’t be any need for a repeat performance in the UK any time soon and life will return to normal in Whaley Bridge.

Historic England gets its wish

The Tulip will not be the latest addition to London’s skyline after being rejected by the Mayor of London. Designed to sit besides the Gherkin tower, the 1,000 ft tower shaped like a tulip was deemed to be harmful for the capital’s skyline and lacking in the public benefit it could provide. The move was welcomed by Historic England whose Chief Executive appealed directly to the City of London planning committee back in April, at which point the planning application was accepted. Expect this to rumble on as the architects behind the design, Foster + Partners go back to the drawing board and consider whether to appeal or not.

RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist announced

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has whittled down its original list of this year’s 54 national award-winning buildings to a shortlist of six from which one will be selected as recipient of the RIBA Stirling Prize 2019. The award recognises the UK’s best new building according to the professional body for architects.

The chosen six are diverse in style, location and function with a sustainable house made of cork in Eton, a residential street in Norwich, a spacious, modern rail station in London, an innovative whisky distillery in north Scotland, a ‘hidden’ opera house in Leicestershire and a sculpture park in west Yorkshire.

It’s well worth reading more on them and understanding the thinking behind their nominations. What’s your favourite? The winner will be selected in October so you won’t have long to see if the panel agree!

RIBA’s global prizes

It’s not only buildings in the UK that RIBA casts its eye over, but also all across the world. The RIBA International Awards are handed out every two years to the buildings which change the world, demonstrating design excellence and meaningful social impact. The nomination list is open for 2020. Can you think of any buildings which would be a good addition to the nominations? And, with all this inspiring architecture, which buildings inspire you?

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For more from Lucy, take a look at the latest edition of Knowledge Foundations.