What’s the key to good architecture and design?

The annual Open House London event takes place this weekend, with hundreds of fascinating events taking place across the city celebrating architecture and design, but what makes good architecture and how can it impact on our lives?

The architects who masterminded the London Eye and NOW Gallery, Marks Barfield, describe their approach, “Our role is to imagine and guide the process that brings to life unique and often unexpected designs that have a positive impact on society, inspire exploration, enable connections, evoke pride and elicit joy.”

As part of Open House London, the team from Marks Barfield will be at NOW Gallery giving a daily talk and tours explaining the design for the gallery and the building it’s based within.

The talks and tour are free to attend. Both start at 2pm on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th September.

Marks Barfield Architects have created all kinds of projects across the UK, from the Kew Garden’s Tree Top Walk to the Lightbox venue in Woking.

More recently they have working on these projects in the South and East of England:

The London Eye, South Bank, London

Since 1999 The London Eye has captured the publics imagination. Since opening over 50 million visitors have enjoyed unparalleled views over the capital and it has also made a significant contribution to the regeneration of the South Bank area. Andrew Marr described the wheel as, “…entirely open and democratic, lighter and airier than any other structure in the land.”

Brighton i360

Task: Design a viewing tower and visitor experience for Brighton and Hove, that is entertaining and informing. Built on land leased from West Pier Trust, i360 will raise vital funds attracting an estimated 800,000 visitors annually.

Design Features: an aerodynamic pod, air-conditioned in the summer, heated in winter and accommodating up to 200 people at a time, will rise up a slender steel spire to a height of 138 metres above sea level.

Work on the i360 pod is underway.

82 Baker Street, London

Task: Develop a new London HQ for creative agency Publicis at 82 Baker Street. Create a 21st Century office space from two distinctly different buildings – originally the HQ of Marks & Spencer, working with Forme UK.

Design features: create an energy and space-efficient, refurbished building, with open plan space, new atrium with interconnecting glass stair and bio-diverse roof terraces that offer spectacular views of London’s skyline.

Images above: Shot by Hufton + Crow.

The UK’s First Green Mosque, Cambridge

Task: Design a new Mosque to accommodate 1000 worshipers a day.

Design features: A concept of a calm ‘oasis’, with an Islamic garden at the front with new trees creating a green edge around the entire building.

The garden will provide a welcome sanctuary for both the casual visitor as well as encouraging a more contemplative frame of mind. Designs submitted to Cambridge City Council for planning permission. The Image is an artist impression for the site.

The First UK primary University Training School, Cambridge

Task: The first UK primary University Training School, providing teacher training and research as well as teaching for its 708 pupils.

Design features: The idea was to create a school where every voice matters; one that is democratic. This led to a circular-plan building which is non-hierarchical, and inclusive; where the classroom clusters form the unifying central courtyard where the whole school can gather.

Image above: Overhead shot of the work on site for the new school. North West Cambridge Development

For more information visit www.marksbarfield.com