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Pressure builds for change in Britain's schools of architecture

Architecture students are unhappy paying ever more for lengthy training that has remained largely unchanged since 1960sWiry contraptions hang from the ceiling, while globular fungal forms nestle on tables between the spidery legs of 3D-printed creatures. A post-apocalyptic confetti of scalpel blades, empty Pot Noodles and cans of Coke is scattered among this landscape of foreign objects, while a sleeping bag pokes out from under a desk – perhaps with someone still in it.It is a familiar scene, repeated in the studios of UK architecture schools over the past few weeks, as bleary-eyed students prepare their portfolios for the final reckoning and begin sprucing up work for the summer exhibitions. The masochistic, sleep-deprived chaos may be nothing new, but beneath the usual end-of-year mayhem a deeper discontent appears to be brewing.With the recent hike in tuition fees to £9,000 a year, along with the increased costs of field trips, living expenses and access to ever more elaborate model-making machines, architecture students can now expect to graduate, after a minimum of five years' study and two years' work placement, with debts of £100,000. And the reward? If they are lucky enough to find a job in the current climate, the salary of a newly qualified architect starts at £25,000. As consumers paying over the odds for professional training – when the value of that training, unchanged since the 1960s, is increasingly questionable – young architects are finding themselves in an ever more precarious position."The fees are so high that thinking independently is now a risk," says one final-year student at UCL's Bartlett school of architecture, which has topped the Guardian's university league table for the third year running.

Especulaciones Públicas #3 Ocupación, Empoderamiento y nuevas ciudadanías desde Lo Urbano

November 14, 2013
10:00to13:00

“Sea en Egipto, los EE.UU. o en otro lugar, es importante entender que el objetivo de las fuerzas de ocupación no es el de tomar el poder. Ellos más bien, participan en la labor de la ciudadanía , exponiendo las profundas fallas y los errores en sus sistemas de gobierno y de la sociedad”  Saskia Sassen entrevista The Guardian

El jueves 14 de Noviembre a las 10:00 am en el Colegio de Arquitectos de Chile se realizará el Seminario Especulaciones Públicas #3 Ocupación, Empoderamiento y nuevas ciudadanías desde Lo Urbano, organizado por la Escuela de Arquitectura UNIACC. 

A good week for women in architecture

Writing for the The Guardian, Steve Rose notes “[i]t's been a good week for women in architecture in general, except for one female architect in particular.” With the announcement of the Architect’s Journal’s first inaugural Women in Architecture Awards, a number of women architects have come up for special (and deserved) recognition, even as women’s participation in the field of architecture in the U.K. has plummeted.

Recycled Cooking Fat to Power Equivalent of Nearly 40,000 London Homes

desalination plant, cooking oil, recycled oil, vegetable oil, London, UK, recycled fats, world's largest fat-fueled power plant, Thames Water, 20C, renewable energy, clean energy
Image via Shutterstock

Every month London spends £1 million cleaning up its sewers, which are clogged with a greasy mass of cooking oils. Now Thames Water and the utility company 20C have unveiled plans to use the gooey mess to produce energy at what is said to be the world’s largest fat-fueled power station. According to The Guardian, the £200 million deal was financed by an iCON infrastructure-led group and it will cover a 20 year period. The project will provide energy for sewage works, a desalination plant , and (if there’s any energy leftover) the national grid.

North China Pollution Slashes Life Expectancy by 5.5 Years

pollution, air quality, premature death, world health organization, MIT, China air pollution, smog index, environment, news, environmental destruction

Researchers have established a clear, quantifiable relationship between pollution in North China and life expectancy. They found that 500 million people in the country will lose a combined 2.5 billion years. North China receives free heating, which is powered by dirty coal, as part of government policy established decades ago for residents north of the Huai river. As a result, pollution in the region is 55 percent higher than in other areas, according to The Guardian. Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences show that on average, individuals lose five and a half years of their life as a result of this pollution.

UK Government Makes £90,000 Porsche Eligible for a Low-Carbon Grant

porsche panamera s e-hybrid, department of transport, grant, low carbon emissions, hybrid vehicle, luxury vehicle

How would you feel if your tax dollars were going to fund a £5,000 discount on a Porsche for the wealthy? UK citizens will now be able to receive a break on their £89,900 Panamera S E-Hybrid thanks to decision by the Department for Transport. The subsidy, which was introduced in 2011 and designed to give incentives to purchase low-emission vehicles, now includes the luxury car alongside much more affordable models.

Obama Campaign is Gunning for Republican Climate Skeptics in New Grassroots Push

John Boehner, Organizing for Action, climate change, republican climate skeptics, Obama campaign, global warming, climate change, climate politics, news, environment, Congress, United States, grassroots campaignPresident Obama photo from Shutterstock

Critics say that the Obama Administration hasn’t done enough to arrest climate change, but a new campaign launched by Organizing for Action, the group behind both of Obama’s presidential campaigns, suggests otherwise. OFA sent out an email to supporters this week with a video that pokes fun at leading Republican figures who have publicly denounced climate change as a hoax, The Guardian reports. This new grassroots push is designed to call out those congressional leaders who have blocked efforts to implement widespread reform that could slow climate change.