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It’s big it’s hard…and this is serious work! “The Lancaster”, a luxury residential project besides Hyde Park in London is being gutted by the developer – all of the interior of a 125-meter long Grade II listed building – whilst seeking to preserve the building’s ornate façade.

Dating back to the mid-19th Century, the façade is now propped up by 500 tons of steel, hiding the masses of rubble now left behind.

Façade retention is unsurprisingly a somewhat delicate engineering operation. The external walls needed to be carefully secured prior to the interior demolition and sensors are continually monitoring the structures stability.

It’s the sheer scale of the project that makes this so daunting. Indeed, to allow for underground parking, crews dug beneath the existing structure to excavate 700 pillars to support a new concrete floor.

The Lancasters, scheduled for completion in 2010, will include 77 apartments, all of which will also offer views of Hyde Park, thanks to the 315 windows preserved from the original building. In addition to the apartments, there will also be two 10,000-square foot homes with private pools and wine cellars.

Simon Turner

FYI: Read related articles on Architects; or Luxury Homes; or London

Z10 Tower is a seven star hotel, luxury residential apartments, and satellite offices all in one place that combines sophisticated style and cutting-edge technology all at once. The diamond-shaped glazing thermally protects the outer skins of the building, which in turn increases the magnificence of the building and allows 360 degrees views.

Designer Dinesh Doshi has constructed a visual beacon, with the main towers backed with a group of six complexes consisting of high-end living, providing its residents with their own elevators/party terraces, pools and spa-baths all whilst enjoying the calming effect of the Persian Gulf.

Simon Turner

FYI: See related articles on Architecture; Designers; and Technology

With plenty of commotion of recent times regarding the cost of living, maybe this offering from Single House Front Architects is a solution.

Whilst your life would certainly be on show, the billboard-influenced home, designed for a single occupant, could enable your address to change with the seasons or even your mood.

Whether you’re looking for quiet times, a fantastic view, being close to work or even distanced from the relatives, this clever architectural offering will always provide the option of having a room with a view.

Simon Turner

We’re not ones to bring you too much overseas architecture, but one something outstandingly notable comes along we’ll bring it to your attention.

This is the interior of the Abu Dhabi Louvre Museum, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel. Nouvel has been awarded the 2008 Pritzker Prize, the highest honor for architecture, for his creative experimentation and buildings that speak to their surroundings.

Approaching from the water, the shaded space shows its scattered light, which continues the sparkling light of the water onto the architecture.

On a more abstract level, the museum is a ‘city’ with houses, streets and plaza’s that is ‘protected’ from the sun by a Buckminster Fuller kind of dome. The cupola becomes the ash that conserves a civilization.

A light-hearted joke that will bring a smile to the face of even the most synical of property developers.

In the year 2008 the Lord came unto Noah and said:

‘Once again, the earth has become wicked and over-populated, and I see the end of all flesh before me. Build another Ark and save two of every living thing along with a few good humans.’

He gave Noah the CAD drawings, saying: ‘You have 6 months to build the Ark before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights.’

Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah weeping in his yard, but no Ark.

‘Noah!’ He roared, ‘I’m about to start the rain! Where is the Ark?’

‘Forgive me, Lord,’ begged Noah, ‘but things have changed. I needed Building Regulations Approval and I’ve been arguing with the Fire Brigade about the need for a sprinkler system.

My neighbours claim that I should have obtained planning permission for building the Ark in my garden because it is development of the site, even though in my view it is a temporary structure.

Then the Transport Authorities demanded a bond be posted for the future costs of moving power lines and other overhead obstructions to clear the passage for the Ark’s move to the sea. I told them that the sea would be coming to us, but they would hear nothing of it.

Getting the wood was another problem. All the decent trees have Tree Preservation Orders on them and we live in a Site of Special Scientific Interest set up in order to protect the spotted owl. I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save the owls – but no go!

When I started gathering the animals, the RSPCA sued me. They insisted that I was confining wild animals against their will. They argued the accommodation was too restrictive, and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space.

Then the Council, the Environment Agency and the Rivers Authority ruled that I couldn’t build the Ark until they’d conducted an environmental impact study on your proposed flood.

I’m still trying to resolve a complaint with the Equal Opportunities Commission on how many disabled carpenters I’m supposed to hire for my building team. The trades unions say I can’t use my sons. They insist I have to hire only accredited workers with Ark-building experience.

To make matters worse, Customs seized all my assets, claiming I’m trying to leave the country illegally with endangered species.

So, forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least 10 years for me to finish this Ark.’

Suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow stretched across the sky.

Noah looked up in wonder and asked, ‘You mean you’re not going to destroy the world?’

‘No,’ said the Lord. ‘The government beat me to it.’

So – for those of you in despair, don’t give up and best of luck!  And keep smiling 🙂


The last few days have made painfully clear that even a fantasy land like the Las Vegas Strip exists in the real world. And the troubles with the real estate market and credit crunch seem to be imperilling a significant amount of the next wave of Las Vegas development.

Three major Strip projects seem to be suffering various degrees of crisis. Cosmopolitan is still being built next to MGM-Mirage’s City Center. But the project is in major trouble, as a lender has begun foreclosure proceedings.
Meanwhile, Business Press is reporting that the super-sized version of New York’s Plaza, planned for where New Frontier once stood, may be delayed because of the credit crunch. That project was to have cost $6 billion.
London DevelopmentLondon Development
Finally, today comes news from the Sydney Morning Herald that the land on the Strip that Australian billionaire James Packer had once proposed to build the world’s tallest building on as part of a $5-billion Towers resort is up for sale. Packer’s company Crown, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, remains connected to another major Strip project, “funding the Fontainebleau Hotel Casino in Vegas with U.S. group Turnberry.”
And as Fontainebleau’s continued construction hints, “slowing down” in Vegas still has development going at a rapid pace. Dubai’s partnership with MGM-Mirage on City Center assures the completion of the biggest project in town. MGM has already opened its Signature property. Also, the Venetian’s Palazzo expansion recently opened. And George Maloof is in the process of opening his Palms Place tower. Wynn’s Encore expansion is set to open soon, and Echelon Place is being built at the location of the imploded Stardust.

So, even conservative estimates have about 20,000 new rooms set to open by 2010. Locals are counting on those rooms to generate the jobs to keep the local economy humming and especially to salvage the devastated residential real estate market.

In any other city people might worry: Will more tourists arrive in Vegas to fill all those new rooms and pay for all those new jobs and justify all this construction?

While Las Vegas may have some short-term economic issues, locals long ago stopped sweating that big issue. It seems no matter how many hotel rooms get built on the Strip, more tourists come to play here.

Maybe this is evidence that if you think you’ve got it bad…!

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