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The launch of a new publishing company

James Pallister gets into the swing of the London Festival of Architecture

London Festival of Architecture started for me on the top of the Architecture Foundation’s HQ, in David Kohn’s Skyroom. The occasion was what must be a very rare event: the launch of a new publishing company. Justin McGuirk, former editor of Icon and design critic at the Guardian is now director of publishing at the Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, the not-for-profit organisation which offers free architectural education from its Moscow complex. The venture aims to introduce a new model into the staid world of architectural publishing by making a series of long essays available digitally, for consumption on the Kindle and other tablet hardware.

I suspect that clever pricing has a lot to do with steering a successful transition in reading and purchasing habits – as they do too, pricing the essays at £2 each, with £20-£30 for an annual subscription.

Other LFA highlights include ‘Architecture as Antidote: should cities make us fit?’, a debate at the Wellcome Foundation on 4 July that will pick up some of the ideological battles hinted at in the title of David Morley’s lecture of 26 June: ‘Evolution versus Revolution’. It promises to be a lively evening as Clare ‘Moral Maze’ Fox presides over a panel which includes Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet and Mirko Zardini of the CCA.

Attendants would do well to swot up by getting hold of a copy of Imperfect Health: The Medicalization of Architecture, the accompanying book to Zardini’s recent exhibition of the same name at Montreal’s CCA. No doubt there will be fireworks as the rights and wrongs of interventional design strategies that aspire for greater health for us all at the expense – or otherwise – of individual freedom are argued over.

Read Essays published by the Strelka Institute of Media, Architecture and Design www.strelka.com

Listen Architecture as Antidote: should cities make us fit? Debate, an event in the London Festival of Architecture, at the Wellcome Foundation, 4 July, 7pm. Entry £5

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