| 14 : 30 – 4 August 2017 |
Royal Mail knows well how to celebrate its country’s contemporary architecture.
10 Special Stamp representing contemporary architecture in the UK of recent years were recently launched by Royal Mail. For more than 50 years, Royal Mail’s Special Stamp programme has commemorated anniversaries and celebrated events relevant to UK heritage and life. The past 2 decades has seen a significant rise in the construction of public buildings in UK. Some were initiated by central government, some by civic leaders of major cities, and others were the ideas of passionate individuals.
Philip Parker, Stamp Strategy Manager, Royal Mail, said: “These new stamps celebrate visionary buildings which combine stunning architecture with great engineering.”
All the buildings in the set are famous landmarks within the local communities, regions and cities. As per the press release, the 10 iconic buildings representing contemporary architecture include the following –
1. London Aquatics Centre
Inspired by the fluid geometry of water in motion, the structure has steel roof clad with wood. The undulating curves representing a marine creature touch the ground at three points. This creates a huge, dramatic interior with glass walls filling its flanks. The project was Winner of the British Construction Industry’s Major Building Project Award (2014).
2. Library of Birmingham
Francine Houben, of the Dutch architectural practice Mecanoo, designed the Library of Birmingham to be a “people’s palace”. He wanted the structure to celebrate the importance of learning and also “promote the informal” and “seduce people into coming in”.
The library a transparent glass building is covered in a screen with patterns of interlocking circles. Cylindrical void at centre houses the elevators and escalators to provide connections to various levels. The library houses the adult and children’s section, a musical collection, a theatre, exhibition gallery and the Shakespeare Memorial Room.
3. SEC Armadillo, Glasgow
Designed by architects Foster + Partners, the building is an International conference centre with 3000 seating capacity. The structure comprises striking interlocking shapes that echo the shipbuilding traditions of the River Clyde and the industrial heritage on Queen’s Dock.
A series of overlapping, aluminium-clad, framed ‘hulls’ wraps closely around the auditorium to minimise the building’s volume. It creates a distinctive profile on the Glasgow representing Scotland’s largest city. Completed in 1997, it was intended as a landmark for the regeneration of the once industrial site.
4. Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh
The Scottish Parliament opened in 2004, is a building extraordinarily rich in ideas, materials and complex shapes. It was designed by Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue (EMBT), who wanted to find a way of expressing national identity.
Their design based on the striking surrounding landscape is constructed using Scottish stones and timbers. Some of the features include leaf-shaped buildings, a grass-roofed branch merging into adjacent parkland and gabion walls formed from the stones of previous buildings.
EMBT’s wish was for a building –“growing out of the land” that should “arise from the sloping base of Arthur’s Seat and arrive into the city almost surging out of the rock”. Click To Tweet
5. Giants’ Causeway Visitor Centre, Northern Ireland
The project is located along North Antrim coast at the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitor centre had to meet the public’s requirements for coach and car parking, a café, information and toilets, while ensuring minimum impact upon the sight lines. Completed in 2102, architects Heneghan Peng designed a sloping grass-roofed building cut into the ground to minimise disruption of viewThe substantial angled pillars strike out a balance with the landscape. Click To Tweet
It was constructed using dark basalt quarried from the same ancient lava flow that produced the Causeway!
6. National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff
The National Assembly is one of the most iconic buildings in Wale’s. Selected though an international design competition, Richard Rogers Partnership (now Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners) developed the architectural design.
The extensive use of glass throughout signifies clarity, openness and transparency. Traditional Welsh materials, such as slate and Welsh oak has been used.The funnel in the Siambr (Debating Chamber) acts as a giant air vent and assists in natural cooling and ventilating. Click To Tweet
7. Eden Project, St Austell
Led by Andrew Whalley, British architecture practice Grimshaw designed the Eden Project in Cornwall. Constructed on reclaimed old quarry site, are 8 domes of varying sizes designed to accommodate the quarry’s irregular cliffs and slopes. Energy-efficient and future-proof, they were made from responsibly sourced materials.
The roofs of the domes were covered in thermoplastic ETFE, a translucent material weighing less than one per cent of the equivalent area of glass. The entire structure comprises two ‘Biomes’ – the Mediterranean Biome and the Rainforest Biome.Within the domes are created climates from across the world to grow 5,000 different species of plants. Click To Tweet
8. Everyman Theatre, Liverpool
Formerly a chapel tuned into cinema hall, Everyman theatre stands at end of Hope Street, Liverpool. Architect Haworth Tompkins who is specialist in designing theatres has done quite a justice to the theatre’s name.
Apart from meeting the acoustical and sightline challenges, the rich palette of material used is remarkable. Its striking street facade has 105 life-size portraits of Liverpool residents. They were pictured by local photographer Dan Kenyon and mounted on movable aluminium sunshades. In October 2014, the Stirling Prize was awarded to Haworth Tompkins by the Royal Institute of British Architects for the best British building of the year.
9. IWM North, Manchester
Located in the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford in Manchester, Imperial War Museum (IWM) North was designed by architect Daniel Libeskind. The museum is dedicated to telling the story of how war has changed lives from the First World War to the present day. Its form was conceived as a constellation of three interlocking shards signifying conflict on land, water and in the air. Each shard stands out unique in its form and purpose. Construction materials include steel frames and aluminium cladding. The museum took 4 years to complete before opening to public in 2002.
10. Blavatnik Building – formerly Switch House, Tate Modern, London
The Switch House is the extended part of Tate Modern which is located in an old converted Bankside Power Station at London. Architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron of Herzog & de Meuron won the international competition among 148 entries in 1995. The 10 storied building looks like a twisted brick pyramid against the backdrop of the existing brick faced Tate Modern. The central interior staircase changes form and direction from level to level. In June 2017, Switch House was renamed the Blavatnik Building.
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