Buildings are inert. They don’t move much. Maybe millimetres in an earthquake if designed correctly. Buildings thus fix a space to a place. Your home is as much a geographic location as it is a sequences of interior spaces. Yet relocating buildings happens because: why? Due to the attention of you the reader, this text seeks to only engage why buildings might move because of : heritage.

Heritage is ‘old money’! If heritage aspires to an idea of cultural value, this must be legal tender to anyone from the age of 16…. TBC

203car_Rings, roundabouts and runways


Event partecipants racing in the oval on the top of the Lingotto building at the Red Bull Lingotto Special in Torino on the 26/09/2011.

Event partecipants racing in the oval on the top of the Lingotto building at the Red Bull Lingotto Special in Torino on the 26/09/2011.


FIAT, Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino, have produced notable modern infrastructure with innovative rings roads both at the scale of architecture, Lingotto, and landscape, Nardo Ring.

FIAT opened Lingotto in 1923 and the design (Matté Trucco) was unusual in that the production assembly line spiralled up the five floors such that raw materials entered at ground floor and completed cars emerged at rooftop level where there was a test track. At the time of opening in 1923, Lingotto the largest car factory in the world at that time. For its time, the Lingotto building was avant-garde, influential and impressive—Le Corbusier called it “one of the most impressive sights in industry”, and “a guideline for town planning”. 80 different models of car were produced there in its lifetime, including the Fiat Topolino of 1936.

By the time Lingotto closed in 1982 (today Lingotto is a Hotel), FIAT had produced an even greater feat of test track engineering but this time in the South of Italy in the town of Nardò in Puglia which was completed in 1975.

The circular track has a 12.5 kilometre circumference and has four 4m lanes for cars and motorcycles totaling 16 metres in width and has a separate inner ring for trucks at a width of 9 metres. In the cars/motorcycle ring the lanes are banked at such a degree that a driver in the outer most lane doesn’t need to turn the wheel while driving at speeds of up to 240 kmph. In essence, at the so-called neutral speed which is different for the four lanes, one can drive as if in a straight lane. However extremely fast cars still require the steering wheel to be turned when going faster than the maximum neutral speed. In the process of fighting a turn as needed when going faster than the neutral speed quite a bit of potential top speed is lost and hence a fast car will go faster in a straight line than what is possible on the Nardó Ring. Even at the neutral speed, in a banked turn a car runs a bit heavier than it would in a straight line, since the downforce created by the banking increases the rolling resistance on the tyres.

The neutral speed for the four car/motorcycle lanes are respectively:

  • Lane 1 – 100 kmph
  • Lane 2 – 140 kmph
  • Lane 3 – 190 kmph
  • Lane 4 – 240 kmph

However the Nardo ring configured as an ‘endless runway‘ would mean this rolling resistance would help in braking a landing plane. TBC

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000off_women and architecture

WHAT_genderTo Artemis, Chiara, Chiba, Eliška, Greta, Magda, Naz… From Antoni.

Prior to establishing WHAT_architecture, I had the privilege to work for three renown practices whose founding partners were: women. Louisa Hutton (Sauerbruch Hutton), Alison Brooks (Alison Brooks Architects) and Francine Houbine (Mecanoo). Being Maori in London, perhaps I am naturally susceptible to a legacy of women who ‘operate’ at a level beyond, or below, politics and power, and whose organisational creativity is based on something more urgent: the familial. Here I think of: Esther Jessop who established Ngati Ranana. It takes a strong man to stand by a strong woman.

265cos_Forget Hi-Tech, this is Deep-Tech Architecture

piled-wall-secant-contiguousretaining-wallOur Peckham project raises the question of what architectural value(s) can be assigned to the structural expression of exposed contiguous piling: aesthetically, commercially? Piling is not very sexy and is typically hidden behind a layer of applied cement but does it have to be like this? This is not the architecture language of hi-tech but deep-tech! Piling after all looks like a foundation colonnade. The pile depth can be a condition of the lateral load requirements of the site: a house to the North, roads to the South and West, a garden to East.maori pa fence