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I always enjoy talking to users of high profile architect’s buildings. I was having a conversation with someone who works for the New York Times as we strolled past Central Saint Giles, Renzo Piano Building Workshop‘s latest project in London, the subject turned to what is was like to work in the New York Times Building. Amongst what was a suspected reply of how comfortable it was, with great views and its beautiful external aesthetics was the building’s inability to deal with the New York winter.

One of the building’s key design features is a ceramic screen over a glass curtain wall system (shown above) which is used for daylight harvesting. Basically ceramics have a high thermal mass (they hold on to heat for longer) and so create a thermal boundary between the glass and outside. What was clearly not thought about is that ceramics, as well as holding onto heat very well also hold on to cold very well. This has resulted, so I am informed, with sheet ice forming on the ceramic screen during the colder winter months and the building having to close its main entrance for health and safety reasons (so you don’t get chopped in half by falling sheet ice). I suppose even the most highly regarded architects occasionally miss a detail.

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I am very proud to post that this month the Architectural Review features Kingston Unit 2 rather heavily, showing work of selected students including public house study drawings of The Grapes by Carlos Dos Santos, Thomas Sellers, Alexandra Bailey and myself. It also rates the unit in its article Top Ten London Architecture Units alongside units from institutions such as The Architectural Association and The Bartlett (UCL).

I was thrilled to see that a portion of a large 1:20 section of the Grapes Public House created by Carlos Dos Santos, Alexandra Bailey, Thomas Sellers and myself in a recent edition of The Architects’ Journal. I was however disappointed when I noticed that the only credit for the work was given to Carlos. This is a shame because although a large amount of this particular portion of the section was done by Carlos and he has also been the stand out student of the year, which has resulted in him being put forward for the RIBA President’s Medals, it is upsetting that a piece of work that is a collaboration between four people is not acknowledged as such. The section not only required four skilled individuals but also their ability to work as part of a team to complete, and resulted in a piece of work we were all very proud of.