WSJ Profile on Jony Ive and Apple Park

 

The thousands of employees at Apple Park will need to bend slightly to Ive’s vision of the workplace. Many will be seated in open space, not the small offices they’re used to. Coders and programmers are concerned that their work surroundings will be too noisy and distracting. Whiteboards — synonymous with Silicon Valley brainstorming — are built into floor-to-ceiling sliding doors in the central area of each pod, but “some of the engineers are freaking out” that it isn’t enough, says Whisenhunt.

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Pretty vacant: the glory of abandoned spaces

Fifteen years ago Richard Happer was staying on a small Scottish island and took a boat out to St Kilda. Forty miles west of North Uist, the St Kilda archipelago is the westernmost point of the Hebrides, and perhaps the remotest place in the UK. Until the 1920s it had a small but resolute population of around 80. By 1930, the island was completely evacuated, rendered uninhabitable by a combination of disease and crop failure. Seeing the abandoned husks of homes sitting deserted in the grass, Happer was moved. “I fell in love,” he says. “The outside world caught up with these remote people and it was too hard for them to live there, so the entire population upped and left. Visiting it was quite intoxicating. I realised that there were all these places on our doorstep that people didn’t know about

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Digital fabrication does away with housebuilding headaches

The company calls its method D-Process, a digital manufacturing system focused on efficiency. “It is about moving things from being made by hand to being digitally fabricated to being produced where no human interference has come in there to add that layer of chaos to it,” Bell said. Moving away from the architectural drawings more synonymous with building homes, Facit use 3D computer modelling to design every aspect of the house: heat detectors, smoke alarms, ducts, electric cabling and drainage systems are all included along with the rest of the internal workings. Each wall or feature can be individually pulled out and examined on screen.

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The quiet revolution in British housing

It is possible, however, for invention to be applied to housing in less favoured places, and for small groups rather than property companies and world-famous institutions to take the lead. Off Granby Street, in Toxteth, Liverpool, are rows of small houses which the local authority has wanted to demolish at least since the 1980s, when the area was afflicted by its famous riots. They succeeded further along what was once a thriving high street for the area, its vivacity now deflated by weirdly suburban houses sheltered behind high brick walls set back across a sward of aimless grass. “It is very strange that we’re here,” says Eleanor Lee, a resident since the 1960s. “We’ve been threatened with demolition for 30 years.” The place became blighted, with empty homes awaiting removal. “Ten years ago it was so awful, so utterly filthy and neglected and full of rubbish. Taxi drivers would refuse to drop you off.” There was opposition, from the Granby Residents Association, “but it got them absolutely nowhere because there was no budging the council”. So Lee and a few others decided to take matters into their own hands. They started “cleaning up and planting up, direct work to reclaim the streets so it wouldn’t be a pariah area”. They launched a weekly street market. These hard brick streets won a North West in Bloom award and were featured in Amateur Gardening magazine.

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Gasworks wonders…

Originally built in the 1850s, the ornate Grade II-listed Gasholder No8 was painstakingly dismantled a few years ago and transported piece by piece to Yorkshire to be restored by specialists. Returned to London, the reconstructed frame will soon encircle a new park and a space for live events designed by Bell Phillips architects and situated on the north side of the Regent’s canal. Morwenna Wilson, an award-winning mechanical engineer – and, fittingly, the great-granddaughter of Brunel – has been appointed to oversee the remaining renovation of the area around King’s Cross station, which was built in his lifetime. Gasholders 10, 11 and 12, known as “the Siamese triplets” because their frames were connected by a common steel spine, are currently being refurbished and will be re-erected around new apartment buildings.

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Gasworks wonders…

Originally built in the 1850s, the ornate Grade II-listed Gasholder No8 was painstakingly dismantled a few years ago and transported piece by piece to Yorkshire to be restored by specialists. Returned to London, the reconstructed frame will soon encircle a new park and a space for live events designed by Bell Phillips architects and situated on the north side of the Regent’s canal. Morwenna Wilson, an award-winning mechanical engineer – and, fittingly, the great-granddaughter of Brunel – has been appointed to oversee the remaining renovation of the area around King’s Cross station, which was built in his lifetime. Gasholders 10, 11 and 12, known as “the Siamese triplets” because their frames were connected by a common steel spine, are currently being refurbished and will be re-erected around new apartment buildings.

Read the full story here

Gasworks wonders…

Originally built in the 1850s, the ornate Grade II-listed Gasholder No8 was painstakingly dismantled a few years ago and transported piece by piece to Yorkshire to be restored by specialists. Returned to London, the reconstructed frame will soon encircle a new park and a space for live events designed by Bell Phillips architects and situated on the north side of the Regent’s canal. Morwenna Wilson, an award-winning mechanical engineer – and, fittingly, the great-granddaughter of Brunel – has been appointed to oversee the remaining renovation of the area around King’s Cross station, which was built in his lifetime. Gasholders 10, 11 and 12, known as “the Siamese triplets” because their frames were connected by a common steel spine, are currently being refurbished and will be re-erected around new apartment buildings.

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The street that might win the Turner prize: how Assemble are transforming Toxteth

Most locals might still be in a state of baffled amusement that the DIY handiwork of a young London-based architecture collective, Assemble, in doing up some of the area’s empty homes has been shortlisted for the country’s most prestigious art award. But the members of Assemble are at an equal loss for words – mainly because they’re far too busy for the news to have sunken in. There is work to be done. In the back yard of one of the houses, a couple of the group are pouring pigmented concrete to make a series of fireplace surrounds, beautifully cast in moulds made of debris collected from one of the derelict properties. Indoors, others are convening a meeting with future residents to present options for their new floors and front doors, around a group of intricately crafted doll’s house-sized models.

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