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Phyllis Richardson

Phyllis Richardson
Phyllis is an architecture and design writer based in London. She champions the small and sustainable and has published several books, including the XS series (XS, XS Green, XS Future) and Nano House. In her spare time she ponders the impact of the digital world on the literary.
Architects Pitman Tozer have built a 7-story housing block in Mint Street, east London, for Peabody housing that combines market-rate and subsidized apartments in a modern, stylish, efficient building located only 12 meters (40 ft) from a busy railway viaduct. In a departure from the harsh functional towers usually associated with such tight urban sites, the Mint Street building is a pleasant, colorful, curved form that offers living spaces with plenty of light and humane proportions. Read More
Vienna is by no means the most crowded metropolis in the world, or even in Europe. Even so, Caramel Architects has designed a house on the outskirts of the city that provides a model for getting more people into a smaller area without giving up amenities like natural light and private garden space. Read More
The 14th Venice Architecture Biennale, curated by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, is a tribute to building elements and invention, but it is also a meditation on modernity that morphs, in the "Monditalia" exhibit, into a singing and dancing performance piece. While some critics have raved about Koolhaas' holistic vision, others are a bit more circumspect. And visiting the exhibitions, it's not hard to see why opinions might diverge. Read More
A new library and research facilities are at the center of refurbishment plans for the London Science Museum. The commission to refurbish around 400 square meters (4305 sq ft) of space on the ground floor and mezzanine levels was recently awarded to Coffey Architects. As well as providing space for research and study, the new facility will allow access to more than half a million sources contained in the Wroughton Library, including archives and original materials. Read More
It is one atom thick and touted to be stronger than steel. Graphene has captured the scientific and public imagination as the wonder material of the 21st century. Now, researchers at Trinity College Dublin have found a way to extract the substance from graphite – using a kitchen blender and some liquid soap. Read More
It may not look like an aircraft, but this house designed for an airplane pilot was conceived as a collection of aeronautical parts and is intended to simulate life in the clouds. Called "a villa for an aviator," the house in New York state was designed as a deconstructed airplane to give the owner the feel of living in spaces that are surrounded by open sky. Read More
Engineers have called it "the hundred-thousand-piece jigsaw," and today it was unveiled as the centerpiece of a new extension to London's Heathrow Terminal 2 building. The aluminum-clad sculpture titled "Slipstream," by artist RIchard Wilson, reaches 78 meters (256 feet) and weighs upward of 77 metric tons (85 tons). Engineering firm Price & Myers was tasked with the job of designing parts for the piece, which twists and turns in simulation of a small airplane as it moves through space performing a series of acrobatic maneuvers. Read More
Bee colonies are in decline worldwide. As Gizmag reported previously, this is a growing problem, and a number of theories and solutions are being explored. A team of eco-technologists from Europe and the US has come together to engineer a collaborative response to the problem, an open-source hive that can help house, track and understand the cycles movements of these vital members of the eco-system. Read More
Some are sharp, some are boxy, some tubular. Some will be built in pairs, groups of three or clusters. More than 230 new towers are being built or planned for London, making Renzo Piano’s Shard look like a modest proposal and St Paul’s almost quaint. Read More
Exposed street escalators in Bochum, Germany, have been given a new lease of life with clever shelter designs by Despang Architekten. Described by the architects as "urban waterfalls," the seemingly simple shelters had to be tough enough to withstand the impact of a large truck, while presenting an elegant glass entrance to the underground metro. A series of metal supports covered in glass sheets allow rainwater to cascade over the sides, producing the waterfall effect. The ribbed steel structure also protects against vandalism. Read More
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