Design & Build Review: Issue 37

In this issue: the plans for a wooden skyscraper in the heart of Lagos, Nigeria, how Brexit is impacting the UK construction industry, the global impact of Bauhaus, hopes for Birmingham in the wake of HS2 and much more


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The UK has triggered Article 50, and has begun the arduous process of extracting itself from the European Union. But among the possible losers from Brexit is the British construction industry, which looks set to be hit with rising material costs, a drop in demand and a serious skills shortage. In this issue we take an in-depth look at the possible impacts, and consider how the industry can ready itself.

It’s not all bad news in the UK, however, as with the High Speed 2 rail project underway, Birmingham is set to see a new station open, and with it a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to regenerate the surrounding area. We consider the plans, and also profile the best of this year’s projects in the West Midlands.

We also take a look at exciting projects underway elsewhere in the world, including Cameroonian architect Hermann Kamte’s plans to build a wooden skyscraper in Lagos, and new research by Harvard University material scientists that has led to the creation of structures that can change shape and behaviour on demand.

Plus, we look back at the Bauhaus movement’s history and ask what relevance it still holds today, and round up the latest in materials, fixtures and fittings.

As always, the issue is available to read for free on iPad through our app, or on a desktop computer using our web viewer.

In this Issue

Counting the Cost of Brexit
With forecasts of falling demand, rising material costs and an exacerbated skills shortage, Brexit look likely to take a toll on UK construction. Chris Lo asks how the Brexit vote has affected the construction industry, and how the impact of the UK’s departure from the EU might be felt.
Read the article.

Lagos’ Wooden Skyscraper
Often overlooked in favour of glass, steel and concrete, wood is now being used in unexpected places including skyscrapers. Patrick Kingsland spoke to Cameroonian architect Hermann Kamte about his plans to build a wooden tower in the heart of Nigeria’s capital, Lagos.
Read the article.

High Hopes for Birmingham Thanks to High-Speed Rail
The UK’s HS2 project will see a brand new station open in Birmingham, and with it will come a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to regenerate the surrounding area and create thousands of new jobs. Ross Davies sat down with key stakeholders in the project to find out more.
Read the article.

Remembering Bauhaus: A lesson in the art of ‘staying open’
Closed by the Nazis in 1933, the German art school known as Bauhaus went on to become one the world’s most influential architecture and design schools. With plans under way to mark its 100th anniversary in 2019, Philip Kleinfeld looks back at the movement’s history and asks what relevance the Bauhaus still holds today.
Read the article.

The Shape of Tomorrow: Reprogrammable Materials
Material scientists at Harvard University have created structures that can change shape and behaviour on demand. Frances Marcellin looks at how the findings could impact on building design.
Read the article.

Once Upon a Time in the West Midlands
The Royal Institute of British Architects has announced it shortlist for its annual West Midlands Building of the Year. The awards set the benchmark for the very best architecture across the West Midlands, so here we take a look at the runners and riders.
Read the article.

New In 
With new products always available, there’s an incredible range of materials, fixtures, fittings and tools to choose from. We present our pick of the best and most innovative products out this month.
Read the article.

Next issue preview

In the next issue of Design & Build Review, out in June, we’ll be looking at the growing concerns associated with the privatisation of public space, and asking how architects can help.

We’ll also look at how a boom in co-working spaces is driving innovation, and consider a particularly inventive project in Bangkok, Thailand.

Plus we’ll hear from listed building restoration experts about the challenges of building renewals.

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