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Tom Wilkinson

Tom Wilkinson is History Editor of The Architectural Review and the author of Bricks and Mortals: Ten Great Buildings and the People They Made


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    Typology: Buildings for animalsSubscription

    16 April, 2018

    Designing buildings for animals has prompted an extraordinary range of responses, from palace to cat flap, which say more about humans than the residents

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    Cowshed in Lignières, Switzerland by localarchitectureSubscription

    16 April, 2018

    The cowshed is a humble type that has elicited some surprisingly thoughtful treatments, from Soane’s graceful semi-circular examples to Stephen Taylor’s rustic concrete arch. In this recent example, constructed in the Jura hills of Switzerland, the timber beams traditionally used in local barns are employed to create an unusually complex roof form. Although the resulting volume is strikingly asymmetrical, it lies low against the landscape and is not going to frighten the horses. Beneath the r

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    Bat Tower in East Otto, New York, USA by Joyce HwangSubscription

    16 April, 2018

    Thanks to human-caused climate change, many scientists argue that the world is entering the sixth mass extinction in its history. Bats are among the species under threat. Over a million have died in the USA, where they have succumbed to a fungal infection, and in the UK, bats are vanishing as they lose their habitats and food supply thanks to non-porous buildings, pollution and pesticides, despite being protected by law. One way to mitigate these problems is to provide roosts that compensate

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    Mikve Rajel by Pascal Arquitectos, Mexico City, Mexico, 2011Subscription

    13 February, 2018

    The purifying ritual bath or mikveh is central to Jewish religious life, and there are numerous strict rules regarding the purity of the water, which should preferably be ‘living water’ from a spring or alternatively rain water, and the facility in which it is stored. Although there are notable ancient mikveh – among them a subterranean, sixth-century example beneath Syracuse – most modern mikveh are of little architectural merit. However, the influential orthodox Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schnee

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    Löyly by Avanto Architects, Helsinki, Finland, 2016Subscription

    13 February, 2018

    Although Finns have a reputation for being sauna-mad, the Finnish public sauna is in decline, displaced by private domestic examples. In recent years, several attempts have been made to reverse this trend, among them Tuomas Toivonen and Nene Tsuboi’s subtly fascinating Kulttuurisauna on Helsinki’s harbour, with its columns and rooftop pyramid. Recently, this has been joined by a larger sauna in the dockland development area of Hernesaari, which is intended to help bring new life to the former

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    Crossing Parallel(s) by Studio MRDO and Studio LaM, Korean Demilitarised Zone, Korea, unbuiltSubscription

    13 February, 2018

    Prodded by President Trump, the cold war between North and South Korea – which never formally declared a truce – threatens to return to boiling point, with potentially world-ending consequences. What solutions can architecture offer to the crisis? This is of course a ludicrous question; nevertheless, architectural research group Arch Out Loud recently held an open competition to design an underground bathhouse in the demilitarised zone, with the aim of emphasising the shared culture of the tw

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    Typology: BathhouseSubscription

    13 February, 2018

    Since time immemorial, and from continent to continent, saunas or bathhouses have played a community role, stripping their users of social distinctions and affording a rich seam for architects

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    Princess Diana Memorial Playground Lavatories in London by Jestico + WhilesSubscription

    29 November, 2017

    The incorporation of a toilet into the memorial for a beloved public figure is a delicate matter, and one that fully justifies a revival of the otherwise tediously prudish British tradition of the subterranean lav. Here, however, the monument takes the form of a children’s playground inspired by Peter Pan, incorporating wigwams and a pirate ship, and the toilets are accordingly anything but po-faced. Rising from the landscaping (designed by Land Use Consultants), a grassy mound covers the dom

All by Tom Wilkinson