How a Tiny Chinese Library Won a Big Canadian Architecture Prize

ArchitectureToday, the sad truth is that many of us have become disconnected from the world. Buildings alone are not architecturally magnificent. It’s how the building connects to its surroundings that makes it magical. Unfortunately, too many of us, even those that have a serious interest in architecture, only look at pictures on a computer screen, rather than going to see these works of art in person.

However, a new prize, which is being managed and funded by a group of Canadian architects, is trying to turn the tide against this trend. The prize, known as the Moriyama Prize, aims to bring our attention back to architecture that really works in a real world setting, and not just in a photo. Last week, the prize was awarded for the very first time and it was an architect from Beijing called Li Xiaodong that won for the work he did on a tiny library in a rural part of China.

Not the typical winner of a $100,000 architecture prize, but one that was well deserved. The Liyuan library as it’s known, is located in the small village of Jiaojiehe and was built using a budget that could barely be described as a budget. The design takes local climatic conditions into account, runs without the need for electric or mechanical ventilation, and has become a very important part of the local community since it was constructed two years ago.

The library has not been build to simply “look good” on paper, it serves a valuable purpose and integrates into its surroundings exceptionally well, which are all traits that the prize’s organisers are trying to promote. The award is named after the architect Raymond Moriyama, who is an individual with an extremely inspiring story, having started in a Columbia internment camp during the time of Hitler and the Second World War and he has gone on to achieve success on the international stage. At a gala evening for the award, he explained how he wanted to help Canadian architects to connect with the rest of the world, broadening their perspective and opening them up to new experiences.

In a recent interview, the Liyuan library’s creator, Li Xiaodong spoke of how his work has global influences, but at its core remains philosophically Chinese. He explained how Western design often revolves around creating an object that will feature in a landscape and then be interpreted from a perspective point of view; perspective is how the work is defined. “However, in China, we like to look at architecture from a birds-eye-view, as this allows us to layer space and see a space behind the space.” he commented.
When you closely inspect the library, you can understand what Li means. The library is a very long yet sleek “box” that features a series of interconnected pockets of space. The timber matrix that forms the core of the structure has been given a glass “skin,” which is then reinforced by a layer of branches that have been taken from the surrounding area. The way the library has been constructed makes the building integrate effortlessly into the landscape.

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Some Things You May Not Have Known About Packing For a Move

As the years pass by most people gather a greater number of prized possessions. They become part of their lives, going with them from place to place, every year getting more priceless. They could be a favourite crockery or tea set, or family heirloom that has been in the family for generations; either way people have had sleepless nights worrying about the safety of these possessions. 200128811-001

An easy way to avoid these nightmares from coming true is to take great care when packing these possessions away. Making sure that you have the right materials for the job is very important. These include having good strong tape and sturdy boxes as well as things like bubble wrap and packing foam for more fragile items. If your budget is tight though and you’re not sure if you can afford this sort of padding, old newspapers and blankets can do the job well too.

Don’t forget to pack your belongings room by room; you want to try to avoid getting anything mixed up before or after you’ve moved.

Cover any crockery completely with your padding, if there are any gaps left open that knock into one another during transit they are likely to be damaged or even broken. The same goes for any cups or glasses you may have. Keeping glass separate from everything else is also important. Don’t over pack the box as some items may still break under the weight of the ones on top of it. This applies especially when packing glass; make sure the heaviest items are at the bottom!

Tape your finished box closed with your strong tape and use a waterproof marker to label all the sides of the box with fragile, include which way up the box needs to be handled.

Make sure to use some common sense when packing more delicate items, don’t risk an items safety to save on time; this is the fastest way to damage your items, so if you think that you may have put a few too many things into a box, take them out and start a new box.

Remember when you move furniture like a cabinet or bookcase, to empty all of the draws and put them in a box with a label that specifies which cabinet they came from.  This will make unpacking a lot easier.

Heavy items should always go at the bottom of the box but if an item is especially heavy, try to put into a small a box as possible on its own so that it is easier to transport. When lifting heavy items from the floor, bend down to pick them up with your knees, avoid using your back; a back injury will be the last thing you need on the day you move! In addition, if you find yourself having to turn with a heavy weight in your arms, lead with your feet, don’t twist your back.

Finally, when packing items into the removals van, make certain that the boxes that you’re going to need the most at the other end get loaded into the van very last, so that you’ll be able to reach them quickly at the new house. The box with the kettle in is a good example of this.

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Be Aware Of The Difference Between Section 8 Notices And Section 21 Notices.

In regards to eviction practices in the UK, there are two commonplace ways to do this: Giving a Section 21 Notice or giving a Section 8 Notice. However, not always is the procedure of preparing those uncomplicated and effortless. Often it could happen that the wrong form of eviction notice is served to a tenant – having negative consequences. When these errors happen, the entire eviction process could be delayed. Because of this, let us look at the differences between a Section 21 Notice and a Section 8 Notice so you will know when you serve which type.

Section 21 Notice

Intended for evictions, Section 21 Notice is regarded as the prevalent type of notice used today by landlords everywhere in the UK. Giving a Section 21 notice is commonly a quite straight-forward procedure. There are two principal forms for this type that are fixed term Section 21 Notice and periodic Section 21 Notice. The first kind should be served whenever your arrangement with the tenant has not yet ended. If your tenant is still living in the property and the tenancy agreement already concluded, that’s where the periodic type will be made.

Section 8 Notice

Its intent would be that the landlord will be able to reclaim possession of a residence. You can base your claim regarding possession on a number of reasons, which are split into mandatory and discretionary. Mandatory grounds are more powerful: In case the judge deems that any of these apply, then the tenant must immediately relinquish possession. On the other hand, when discretionary grounds happen to be demonstrated, possession is not usually given straight away; the judge may further investigate the case before making one last decision. Rent debts will be one of those particular grounds very often decide a court case in the landlord’s favour.

Which Must I Serve?

Whenever you want to claim back possession of your premises you should normally deliver a 21. If rent arrears will be the matter, you should serve a Section 8. The notice you deliver would depend entirely on your situation. In situations where a typical tenancy ended and the landlord demands the property, this is where a Section 21 Notice should be used. Pay attention to that you should allow a 60 days leeway for your tenant when you would like to end a tenancy following the initial six months. A eviction notice needs to have the required deadlines and dates correctly stated.

Important Things To Take Into Account

It is important that Section 21 is provided before the following date where rent payment is normally due. Following this day, the period of notice is usually 60 days where the tenant would need to vacate. Possession may then be claimed as soon as the tenant vacated (typically after roughly 2 month) or in case he or she left the property ahead of the specific deadline. Then again it’s not at all uncommon that it’ll take three or more months until the property can be reclaimed again. Because a Section 8 Notice typically entails a judge’s decision it may take considerably longer: Several months can be possible when this happens.


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Leading 5 Tips for Landlords.

Choosing property as a profession these days has many benefits if you decide to get into the rental marketplace. As more individuals switch to renting a property instead of buying one; there has been an enormous surge in demand for rented accommodation. With demand significantly outweighing supply, these expert landlords have now positioned themselves perfectly to become able to drive out deals much more suited to them. They’re now able to ask for higher rental prices on their property also as being able to choose only the extremely best tenants. Although that’s the case on paper, many landlords are unaware from the following points. They are able to be extremely helpful in steering away from a quick choice and in avoiding creating any problematic errors.
Landlords ought to know a factor or two concerning the law. Owning and renting out a home or an apartment comes with certain legal responsibilities on behalf from the owner. These consist of bringing the property up to rentable standards and sustaining any electrical goods that include the property like the oven or shower. You will find a couple of other items to think about as well. A landlord would advantage significantly if they read a few paragraphs on home law as it is fairly simple. Whether or not or not you choose to possess an agent deal with your property, knowing a thing or two about the law will make life simpler within the lengthy run.Select the tenants very meticulously. 1 group of tenants may appear ideal for the property on paper, don’t be afraid to dig a bit deeper if you are not 100% Just be conscious that in case your tenants don’t turn out to be as perfect as had hoped they could be; the law makes it very complicated terminate that contract early.
Check that all the appliances in the home are operating properly It is as much as you the landlord to make sure that your property is secure and that it has all of the needed equipment/appliances which are needed. Appliances ought to be checked, professionally where required, and an itinerary such as the situation of any furnishings should be produced before the contract is signed. The itinerary then serves as an insurance coverage policy for just about any claim from the tenants, that they’ve not received an item in the stipulated condition. Thus avoiding their correct to claim compensation from you.

Be sensible when deciding how much rent to charge. By performing so you greatly increase the probabilities of scaring away the best tenants away. Only the larger cities of significant nations are managing to preserve above typical rental returns since the recession has begun affecting ordinary citizens. Remember that throughout colder months rental prices have a tendency to fall; so in the event you region in a position to let your home within the summer time months then you’ll discover it easier to obtain a slightly greater return. But usually base the price on the typical for the region.
Landlords should be polite and friendly with their tenants. It is not great practice for a landlord to treat their tenants any differently to how they would expect to become treated themselves. A good relationship nurtures mutual respect and also the landlord should be the one setting an example that the tenants will then adhere to.

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Employing An Online Letting Agent If You Wish To Let Your Home

A professional that can assist to let your home or property might be extremely helpful. Many things need to be thought of, such as legal procedures, forms and various additional often confusing issues. If you use an online letting agent, they will assist you in all aspects, which include choosing the right tenants for you. Nowadays, there is no lack of online letting firms, here are some tips how to locate a good one.

Being a property owner, you might have particular requirements that the letting company must fulfill. One of the things that the agency is able to do on your behalf is to find the right tenant, but you may also require their help in regards to all the legal procedures. Before you’ll choose an agent, make certain that you know about the things where you will require their help and support. Not surprisingly, their particular offers can vary and do not always involve all services you would possibly need.

The advantages you will get by using online letting agencies could possibly differ considerably, with some offering a better all round service as opposed to others. With there being a great number of differences, you need to spend some time and evaluate them meticulously. What criteria do you need to take into account?

In particular:

• Exactly where are they based? Do they have a local office?

• Are they professional and quick to locate new renters for your premises?

• What additional strategies and strategies to get renters do they have?

• What exactly comes as the standard part of the service and just what will you have to pay any extra for?

It is always a good idea when you inquire beforehand whether they can offer these services to prevent any kind of dissatisfaction using the agency at a later time.

An additional aspect you should think of when you compare these kinds of online letting firms is whether or not they may be independent and / or whether they are linked to and rely on an estate agency. Whilst comparing those agents with regard to letting, do keep in mind that a number of letting agencies offer to get tenants for your property on the basis when they don’t manage to do so in a certain period of time, then you’ve nothing to pay. Make sure you know how they manage this beforehand. Some other online letting agents could possibly ask for a one-time fee beforehand, irregardless whether they will get a tenant or not.

Do not get tempted by very cheap prices for their services. When a certain agency features surprisingly low fees then ensure you look over what you’ll get for the investment. While the regular fees may very well be low you could have to pay out for many extra services. If you can, stay away from these kinds of hidden fees and select an agency that may be transparent and lets you know regarding their packages and each of the charges. Also check the references of any agent that you will be considering signing up with and see how successful they have been in the past. From going over various other landlords experiences you can quickly have an impression about the trustworthiness and dependability of the selected online letting agency.

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Help for Landlords and Tenants Offered by British Deposit Scheme Provider, one of the British tenant deposit scheme providers wants to ensure that both landlords and tenants in the United Kingdom understand what constitutes their rights and obligations. The organization recently released a guide that will help landlords and tenants to clear up their questions.

In the private rental sector in the UK, most disagreements arise once a rental property is returned to the landlord. Property damage and costs associated with it are one major reason for disputes in regards to tenant’s deposits. The managing director of MyDeposits explains how many disputes stem from poor or a lack of communication between the involved parties. He states that it is important to verify a rental property’s condition before handing over the keys to a tenant. Likewise, he said that tenants must be aware of the expectations of their landlords in regards to the shape and condition of the property once a tenancy has ended.

In the new guide, the organization has collected the expertise of both residential landlords as well as a special conflict resolution team dedicated to those frequently encountered problems. Among the points talked about in the guide are essential things such as advice how to recognize minor damage caused by regular wear and tear and how to discern such damage from damage a tenant would be liable for. The guide goes over explaining how the length of tenancies can affect wear and tear and what type of damage is acceptable depending on the length of a tenancy as well as other factors.

The guide covers frequently disputed issues such as wear and tear of carpets or furniture. Using real life examples, the guide explains everything in detail to make it easier for tenants and landlords to avoid disputes over such commonly encountered issues.

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Longer Tenancies for Buy-To-Let Landlords Now Permitted By British Lender

As one of the first lenders in the United Kingdom, The Mortgage Works (TMW) is the first major British lending firm that will make it possible for buy-to-let borrowers to make use of long term tenancies. This move comes as a majority of lenders in the nation are still restricting many of their borrowers to contracts that cannot exceed the duration of one year.

TMW, in a public statement said that the new initiative to allow tenancy contracts up to a maximum of three years will bring greater flexibility to the private rental sector and that the move will provide many benefits for the increasing numbers of people who rent homes privately.

With their new option, the lending group aims to offer more choices in the private rental sector that will help with creating more affordable housing for people in the United Kingdom.

The director of mortgages at Nationwide group to the press: “Due to the recent developments on the housing market in the UK we are seeing increasingly more people looking to rent. For us, offering longer term tenancy options is the logical consequence in an effort to adapt to this changed market.”

‘If one looks at the recent statistics released by Shelter not long ago, approximately 20% of families in the nation rent today. Giving them a way to remain in tenancies longer is providing more stability to many of those tenants. What the market needs today is innovative solutions and we think this move is a good step in the right direction.’

Housing charity Shelter says that forced short-term tenancies cause many problems for tenants such as the requirement to move often, including the need looking for new schools for children in short intervals. “Today, where more than one fifth of families in the UK rent, we don’t think this is viable”, a spokesperson said. “The majority of renters we asked clearly wish to remain in tenancies for much longer. They want stability rather than uncertainty where to move every 12 months. For that reason we clearly welcome the new move which will make longer-term tenancies an option for borrowers”.

Shelter now hopes that more mortgage lenders in the nation will follow suit.

One of the reasons Nationwide Group gives for offering longer term tenancy options for borrowers is their pledge to contribute to the goal of establishing homes for 750,000 people in the UK within the next five years. Aside from their new borrowing options, they also aim at educating and helping landlords in crucial matters such as safety checks and drawing up tenancy agreements.

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‘Years of Blight’ In Anfield makes Landlord Seek Compensation over Liverpool Stadium

Two properties wanted for demolition to construct the Liverpool stadium will likely not go cheap. Graham Jones, the landlord who owns the two properties at Rockfield Road in Anfield says he will not sell without significant compensation for years of blight in the area.

He accuses Liverpool of shady activities such as buying up homes in the neighbourhood and leaving them empty as a way to run down the entire area and drive down property costs. Today, according to Jones, the area is seeing significant vandalism almost everywhere.

The landlord stays firm with his demands as the Liverpool city council is buying property in the area in order to demolish and threatening legal compulsory purchase orders for any owners who refuse to sell.

The council has admitted that eight of the 72 houses both sides of Lothair Road remain a significant ways from having agreed to any deal. The majority of those houses is already owned by the housing association. Amongst the remaining landlords for those 8 remaining properties is Graham Jones. Now, according to him, the council wants to buy the property for a bargain price seeing the overall bad state of the entire neighbourhood. One other landlord, Paul Mahoney accused the council of “acting as a puppet of the club” using less than ethical means making people to sell so they can expand the club. Then again, he might not have another choice than to sell, he told the reporters.

In contrast to Mr Mahoney, Jones will not be that easy to deal with. He stands firm. He told the press that he and his partner believe they have lost £500,000 in rent because of the disarray the club’s actions brought on in the first place. The area became so unattractive that the landlord could not find any more tenants to move in, losing significant income from rent.

He said: “Not that many years ago, this was your typical average working class area. No luxury mansions, but it was decent to live here. Until Liverpool started to buy out houses and left them vacant. They knew exactly what they wanted and why they did this. It was dereliction by design, and the council allowed it. We’re all set to meet them in court and we’re certainly not interested in their insulting offer.”

Joe Anderson, leader of the council: “To a certain degree I have to agree with the landlords since the the people of Anfield have been let down. The council should have protected residents and owners from blight in the previous years but failed to to do so”.

She said that it’s time for action now and talked about proposed plans that could help the area that suffered greatly in the last few years: “The only ones who don’t agree to our offers are those landlords who are not even living in the area. We think their interests are purely financial. It cannot be that a small number of landlords stand in the way of those plans which would be hugely beneficial for the entire area. If they were so keen on helping the area as they say they would sell and help the project going forward instead”.

The assistant directing Mark Kitts told us that compulsory purchase orders would only be a last resort measure but at the same time let us know they will use them if there is no other way to solve the problems with the remaining landlords. She says she’s pretty confident that an order would be granted since the expansion plan for the stadium has many economic benefits for the area.

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Mortgage Lender Nationwide Offering Longer Rental Contracts To Finance Landlords

As one of the first major lenders in the United Kingdom, Nationwide is offering landlords longer rental contracts.

The British mortgage lender is the first major lender in the nation to allow buy-to-let borrowers to offer their tenants three-year contracts. With this move, Nationwide aims to stabilize the current British rental market.

The move comes on the background of the fact that the majority of lending companies in the United Kingdom normally ask landlords to cap their tenancies, making it impossible to obtain loans for tenancies that exceed that time period.

For the increasing number of tenants in the nation, this means less security. A major British housing charity points out that this can cause significant problems for families with children. Those families will be required to move often due to the shorth duration of their tenancies.

The director of Nationwide, Richard Napier: “We see staggering numbers of people today who are seeking to rent while at the same time facing a shortage on suitable rental properties. With our programme, we want buy-to-let investors to be in a position that will make it easier for them to buy. We think this is a good move in the right direction in order to relieve the problems on the rental market today”.

The new mortgage loans can be obtained through the lender’s Mortgage Works division which is the company’s buy-to-let branch.

Nationwide points out that the new loan scheme will allows landlords to offer contracts of any period up to three years and that it anticipates more than 750,000 people that will get into a new tenancy within the next four years due to their new program.

Recently conducted surveys in the United Kingom have shown that today, twenty per cent of all people in the UK rent. It is expected that this number will rise within the next few years.

The chief executive of Shelter: “We are welcoming this move by Nationwide since short-term rents that are limited to twelve months are simply not cutting it anymore if one looks at the current rental market. According to our own studies, the vast majority of renters today prefer to stay in their rentals for longer. This is definitely a good move that should help out the rental market. We only hope that other lenders will do the same.”

The head of a leading mortgage brokerage in London, David Hollingworth states that he thinks that shorter tenancies can be a motivation to get on the property ladder: “People that established themselves do not want to move every year. In my opinion, shorter-term tenancy agreements can be a motivation to look into buying as opposed to renting”, he said.

He added that the majority of the contracts they lend mortgages to are pertaining to tenancy agreements that range anywhere from 6 months to 12 months duration. For the corporate sector, there are exceptions which on occasion permit longer time-periods for tenancies.

One good example for the current situation on UK’s provate rental market is a couple from Swindon that has two children aged 10 and 14. The two told us that they rented for their entire life and that buying is out of the question since they simply cannot afford to purchase a home. “Obviously, longer-term tenancy agreements would be a great thing”, says Karen Payne. “This would give us a lot more security as opposed to knowing that our tenancies will only last 12 months – you never know what happens then. The rental market right now is awful, looking for a new place each year is very stressful and expensive”.

“Imagine that each and every year you need to worry whether you actually get a new place and then of course the costs if you happen to find one. All the stress is also picked up by our children. This is a situation which is very bad for a family”, she told us.

Hollingworth, on the other hand said that it’s up to the landlords to offer those longer-term tenancies, many might not see the need to do it. A study conducted last year showed that many landlords don’t see the necessity for longer-term contracts since most of their tenants stay in their properties for many years regardless.

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Is the Property Market Booming Again?

After the property market saw a dramatic burst of the bubble in 2007-2008, questions come up today whether this sector is now booming once again. Indeed, there are some indications that many multi-asset managers are moving back to the property market after it has spent a rather rough five years after the recent burst of the bubble.

What funds are the investors choosing? Would they prefer open-ended or closed-ended funds? How does it look in terms of gains in that sector today?

One of those investors look at this market today is Mark Burgess, chief investment officer at Threadneedle. He told us that the asset class has been the one area not yet to benefit from the vogue for yielding assets: “When it comes to commercial property in the United Kingdom, the yield is still over 6%. You can look at it from that perspective that the UK economy is slowly improving and is unlikely to return to recession. We can likewise observe how banks have improved their capital positions today. In addition, private sector buyers, particularly many from countries such as Asia are now buying portfolios of real estate from the banks attracted by the returns on offer. Clearly, the UK is seen as an attractive property investment market once again.”

The investment professional had held a long standing underweight position, but says that today he is more confident in moving more substantial assets: “Seen over the last years, even if one takes into account often significant transaction costs, there are definitely good yields again today. , I think this is a good time to increase our exposure in this market.”

With him, other seasoned investors are sharing this positive outlook on the property market in the United Kingdom. The head of Londoon LettingAgents, Nick Ashworth told us that his company has upped his commercial property weighting not long ago and is now looking at brick & mortar again after a long stretch of time where this wasn’t a reasonable option due to the slump. But things look better now.

He told the press that yields available on commercial property can be a good alternative to traditional bonds: “There is also not the same crowding in commercial property as there is if you invest in bonds. If people disengage from bonds and the money comes out, it could be quite painful, but people haven’t gone back into commercial property after the crisis of 2007-2008.”

As per new figures recently released, £98m in net value is not moving into the newly revived property market. While this amount is still less than that for the top-selling UK Equity Income sector at £358m, it nevertheless is one indication for improvement towards the better. The report also shows that more money flew into REITS earlier this year than ever before.

Not all is all rosy because there are some signs that the market is already saturated with many of the fruits already been picked by the earl birds. For instance, property share funds, especially international ones did very well. The reason for this is strong structural reasons for the outperformance of property companies over bricks and mortar funds.

The manager of the Premier Pan-European Property fund, Alex Ross points out how REITS have been able to take advantage of the low interest rates prevalent today: “The major REITS have a unique cost of capital advantage. REITS were able to benefit greatly from the corporate bond market and raise 5-6 year bonds paying a coupon of just 1.5-3%. The advantage here is that they can borrow at these low rates with very good returns.”

One thing is for certain, the property market has seen a small upwards trend, but it might already be too late for those who have missed the early gains in the market. Property share funds yielded great results and bricks and mortar funds do not have some of the structural advantages that have boosted the REIT market. In conclusion, in can be said that those that are looking into commercial property as an investment alternative can still expect good returns.

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