Design & Architecture

News and in-depth coverage of urban design & architecture for town planners.

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Latest Design & Architecture News

Government changes rules to block windowless permitted development housing

Government changes rules to block windowless permitted development housing

The government has tabled rule changes that would require councils to refuse permitted development right conversions that create homes with habitable rooms that are windowless or lack adequate natural light

Green light for 28-storey Southwark scheme that co-locates 250 homes and industrial uses

Green light for 28-storey Southwark scheme that co-locates 250 homes and industrial uses

Plans for a mixed-use scheme that co-locates industrial uses with 250 homes and includes a 28-storey tower have been approved on London's Old Kent Road.

Built environment bodies call for creation of national design unit

Built environment bodies call for creation of national design unit

A coalition of eight built environment organisations has called on the government to establish a dedicated body to oversee design quality in new development.

City of London approves skyscraper despite claimed effect on Tower of London's setting

City of London approves skyscraper despite claimed effect on Tower of London's setting

The City of London Corporation last week approved a 36-storey, 94,336 square metre mixed-use tower, despite objections related to its impact on the Tower of London World Heritage Site.

Pegasus Group acquires West Midlands architectural firm

Pegasus Group acquires West Midlands architectural firm

Planning consultancy Pegasus Group has acquired Armstrong Burton Group, an architectural and engineering practice based in Sutton Coldfield.

High Court upholds minister's refusal of 32-storey west London tower on heritage grounds

High Court upholds minister's refusal of 32-storey west London tower on heritage grounds

The High Court has upheld the former housing secretary's refusal - against an inspector's recommendation - for a 32-storey mixed-use tower in west London, ruling that the minister was entitled to reach a different conclusion from the inspector in assessing the scheme's harm to nearby heritage assets, including Kew Gardens.

Latest Design & Architecture Comment

Why knocking down more homes would help save the planet, by Chris Brown

Is it time to knock down all our old houses? Our old buildings are leaky, expensive to heat and destroying the planet. We can build new homes that are close to zero carbon to run and cost next to nothing to heat.

Planners are accessories to today's housing crimes, by Graeme Bell

The yacht lurches, the mooring lines groan, the halyards slap noisily against the mast, rain lashes the pontoon. I write this from the cabin of a yacht on the south coast, storm bound as the last knockings of Hurricane Lorenzo pass through.

Design guidance never creates well designed places, by Chris Brown

We aren't short of guidance on what makes a good place so it's intriguing to see Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) commissioning consultancy Tibbalds to write a 'visual design guide' to form part of the Planning Practice Guidance supporting the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

Caustic style will subvert Scruton's beauty crusade, by Chris Brown

Last month I went to the inaugural Colin Amery Memorial Lecture. It was delivered by Sir Roger Scruton, the new chair - for now - of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission (BBBBC).

Good placemaking pays corporate dividends, by Chris Brown

It may not be new but it's encouraging to see developer British Land, in its recent publication A Design for Life, throwing its weight behind the case for placemaking and design quality to improve health and wellbeing. Its assessment of the financial benefits to the state makes a compelling case.

Government has been tinkering with custom build guidance, by Chris Brown

The government has been doing some tinkering with the planning practice guidance (PPG) for custom build housing over the summer.

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Design & Architecture In Depth

Why a proposal to cut out councillors from planning decision-making is unlikely to be taken forward

Why a proposal to cut out councillors from planning decision-making is unlikely to be taken forward

Among the radical proposals to reshape the planning system from an influential think tank, a recommendation to remove councillors from making decisions is unlikely to gain much traction with ministers, say observers.

The challenges facing the planned fast-track route for 'beautiful' schemes

The challenges facing the planned fast-track route for 'beautiful' schemes

Practitioners have cautiously welcomed a government-backed proposal to introduce fast-track planning approvals for well-designed developments, but have warned of a number of potential obstacles before it can be effectively implemented, including a lack of local authority skills.

How the new national design guidance changes the system: the Planning Briefing

How the new national design guidance changes the system: the Planning Briefing

How planning guidance on design has changed and what it, and the new National Design Guide, means for you. By Mark Wilding.

What new design guidance means for planners

What new design guidance means for planners

New guidance on design and a national design guide should put councils in a better position to resist poor-quality proposals, say observers, but they warn it may place new burdens on already-stretched planning teams.