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Goodbye to “Modern Architecture” 2011-04-26

Posted by clype in Articles of Interest, Humanities.
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Next to London Bridge station, a glass monster is rising from the ground. At 72 storeys — 310 metres  including a spire on top — The Shard will be the tallest skyscraper in Europe when it is completed in 2012.

Guests of the hotel chain Shangri-La on the 52nd floor will enjoy spectacular views, and passers-by will see an impressive sight; The Shard is made up of 11 200 panes of glass, each cut to a slightly different size, slotted together into nine sections of façade that appear to prop each other up.

It is a ‘work in progress’, but developer Mr. Irvine Sellar’s magnum opus could already be one of the last monuments from an era when building with generous amounts of glass was possible.

Building regulations enacted 2010-10 mean developers have to make projects 25 per cent more carbon efficient.

Glass structures that leak heat in winter and require cooling in summer are increasingly tough to get past officials — so they are more expensive.

‘We believe the gas-guzzling glass box is dead,’ said Mr. Ken Shuttleworth (‘Ken the Pen’),who designed the London’s iconic ‘Gherkin’ (The Swiss Re Building at 30 St Mary’s Axe)  for Foster + Partners, and who left to create Make Architects and declare the skyscraper dead in London.

‘This is a “sea change” in modern architecture and the only responsible way forward in a world of increasing concern about climate change and global warming.’

(more…)

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How To Help Children Do Well 2011-04-21

Posted by clype in Articles of Interest, Humanities, Science.
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As children face their final month of revision before the exam season starts, many parents are looking for the words to motivate their offspring, but could they be mistakenly praising the value of ability over effort, asks Mr.Matthew Syed.

Take a glance at these expressions of encouragement:

  • ‘You learned that so quickly, you’re so smart!’
  • ‘Look at that drawing. Are you the next Picasso or what?’
  • ‘You’re so brilliant – you passed that exam without really studying!’

They come across as precisely the kind of confidence-boosting statements that should be given to children or, indeed, anyone else.

Such phrases are used in homes and classrooms every day, particularly with exams looming, but are they benign? or could they unlock the reason why so many children are failing at school and elsewhere? (more…)