June 11, 2018
Lars Hesselgren, Head of Research at PLP Architecture, revealed the latest design for SkyPod, featuring an innovative propulsion system based on Maglev technology to delegates at the 22nd International Congress on Vertical Transportation Technologies. SkyPod is the result of four years of research undertaken by PLP Labs, the in-house think tank of PLP Architecture in London.
For this research project, we have proposed the replacement of the traditional vertical elevator shaft with a multi-directional transport system on the exterior of the building. Liberating vertical transport from the central core to the exterior of the building opens up opportunities for unprecedented architectural forms. If current skyscrapers often feel monolithic, self-contained and sometimes indifferent to their context, SkyPod will allow for new types of buildings that, despite their height, are holistically integrated with the grain of the city around them. The elevator has been a primary influence on the shape and appearance of the modern city to date. We believe that its inevitable demise will be the catalyst for the next chapter in the formal life of the city.
SkyPod has been developed by PLP Labs, our in-house think tank co-opting ideas from outside of architecture’s standard discourse into the day to day life of the studio.
June 11, 2018
The summer exhibition at the RA is always a favourite event in the London cultural calendar. This year, PLP Architecture was fortunate enough to have two project models selected for the architecture room: Oakwood Tower, and Tour888/SkyPod. Both projects are the result of our own research, conducted by PLPLabs. Oakwood Tower is the first in a series of collaborations with Cambridge University to interrogate the potential of tall buildings constructed from wood. The SkyPod project is an exploration of a new system of circulation that takes elevators out of central cores and positions them on the exterior of buildings. We are interested in how this logistical move might influence the future form of new urban structures.
Curated by Piers Gough, the newly configured architecture room at the RA forms a key and connected centrepiece for the entire exhibition. It offers a refreshed visual approach that balances pieces from both established and emerging practices. A central spine of tall buildings, which includes PLP’s two entries, divides the room into two main sections and playfully features a fun, accessible portal in its middle through which visitors can pass. In addition, the physical bounds of the space have been blurred thanks to intentional placement of more architectural pieces of art in the adjacent rooms.
At PLP, we have a large and dedicated team of modelmakers led by Neil Merryweather. We advocate the role of the model in the design process by bringing together craftsmanship with artistic vision, intelligence of approach and a continued exploration of new materials and techniques. Our modelmaking team uses processes including etching, lazer cutting, 3D printing and rapid prototyping to create an extraordinary array of representational models.
In 2013, following an invited competition, PLP Architecture was commissioned to design the interior and develop the exterior for Sky Central - the main building of their West London campus.
The design brief required a building that would galvanise 3500 employees into a single community whose identity would reflect the fast-paced and ever-evolving nature of broadcasting and telecommunications.
PLP worked together with Sky to develop the content and programmatic distribution of the building.
May 22, 2018
PLP Architecture has been named by the London Stock Exchange Group as one of the companies that are making Britain tick. PLP was the first featured company in the Creative Industries sector and the only architectural practice to be singled out for this prestigious publication.
PLP’s design and research work continues to investigate the sometimes unexpected impact of technology on our architecture, cities and our way of life.
The Edge, our new headquarters office for Deloitte in Amsterdam, has been named by Bloomberg as the greenest and the smartest building in the world. Our headquarters for Sky in London creates a radically new environment where wellbeing acts as an engine for creativity; the building has been recognized through numerous awards including the British Council for Offices Best of Best 2017. The Collective Old Oak in London is the largest co-living space in the world, offering an unprecedented residential typology for young professionals in a housing market that has been struggling to meet their needs.
PLP Labs, our in house think tank, co-opts ideas outside of architecture’s standard discourse into the day to day life of the studio. Part of this effort is our collaboration with Cambridge University to develop London’s first all-timber residential highrise. This 300 meter tower employs a structural system poised to radically alter construction methods in the upcoming years as well as fundamentally transform our relationship with nature in the city.
We are also researching the critical role of mobility in the contemporary metropolis through the development of an integrated form of movement through the city and its buildings. One of our current projects is SkyPod – a new vertical transportation concept which will revolutionise skyscraper design. Another is CarTube, an urban transport system based on a fusion of two technologies - mass transit and autonomous vehicle – that will radically reinvent urban mobility and change the nature of public realm in the city.
We are very pleased that others are taking notice of our work, and we look forward to sharing some of the exciting projects that are still on our drawing boards.
The RIBA annual President’s awards celebrate the best research in the fields of architecture and the built environment. This year, a record-breaking 75 submissions were received from 14 countries. Our research project, entitled Supertall Timber: Design Research for the Next Generation of Natural Structure, was developed together with The University of Cambridge’s Centre for Natural Innovation and the engineering firm Smith and Wallwork. The project aspires to make tall timber buildings a reality. Through a combination of feasibility study involving design for a real world site in the Barbican London and involving manufacturers and physical lab testing, this research demonstrates the viability of timber buildings to modern urban centres.
Lee Polisano, PLP Architecture
April 18, 2018
PLP Architecture has been selected for Mayor Sadiq Khan’s new Architecture and Urbanism framework. The framework covers architecture, urban design, public realm, and housing projects on publicly owned land throughout London.
The framework seeks to improve the procurement of building design in London, promoting an efficient, fair and economical approach to development in the capital. It will assist London boroughs, housing associations, mayoral development corporations and other bodies and will incorporate a greater range of expertise in housing-led development and master planning than its predecessor, The Architecture Design Urbanism Panel (ADUP), which was launched in 2012.
To support Sadiq Khan’s promise to deliver genuinely affordable homes for the capital, PLP, along with other selected practices, will help to bring forward more than 100 residential-led developments planned for Transport for London’s 2,300 hectare estate.
Building work is finally complete at the biggest biomedical facility in Europe, the Francis Crick Institute. Scientists will start to gradually move in over the next month, and it will be open to the public in early 2017. The Crick, which has cost 700 million pounds, and will house more than a thousand scientists, claims to offer a radical new approach to medical research by encouraging scientists from different disciplines to work together in new and imaginative ways.
Europe’s biggest science centre opens in the UK
The Financial Times - 01.09.2016
Cathedral to science opens for business
BBC News - 01.09.2016
The Francis Crick institute achieved an Excellent BREEAM rating
www.crick.ac.uk - 26.05.2017
Wayne McKiernan, Director at PLP Architecture
PLP Partner Kevin Flanagan, who worked on the research project together with Partner Ron Bakker, Michael Ramage of the University of Cambridge’s Department of Architecture and Natural Material Innovation Group, and engineers Smith & Wallwork, was interviewed on various media outlets this week following the extensive media coverage of our research proposals and a presentation to Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London.
Kevin was interviewed for ITV and London Live’s evening news segments, and spoke at length on The Monocle Weekly show about the research.
The episode is available to listen for free online, or to download as a podcast: The Monocle Weekly