Icon 171 – Red Ruse takes you from London’s cultural and property sector to China’s efforts to lead the global conversation about the environment.
Icon 171: after years of wrangling, the wraps have finally come off the Exhibition Road Quarter of the Victoria & Albert museum. The eagerly anticipated project is a good deal more retiring when compared to American architect Daniel Libeskind’s 2007 proposal for the site, but is nevertheless only a partial success. The interior is quite wonderful, while the exterior seems to have stumbled on both finish and form. Elsewhere in this issue, we turn our attention to London’s property market and how the highly touted ‘new London vernacular‘, beloved by a certain section of British architecture, can be read as a metaphor for profit – through the marketing material and its references to the warehouse loft apartments of Shoreditch and New York.
Altogether less cynical is exciting new London-based practice IF_DO, which won plaudits during this year’s London Architecture Festival, with a dramatic mirrored pavilion in Dulwich. Further afield, China’s seems to be usurping the United States as a world leader in environmental concerns, with the current US president leaving the Paris climate change agreement. With this in mind, we examine one of China’s urban eco-islands in Nanjing designed by Seattle-based practice NBBJ and find that the architect’s ambitions will likely be compromised by the wider masterplan.