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Live blog: The London Festival of Architecture 2012

The London Festival of Architecture 2012 runs from 23 June to 8 July – post your top picks and memories of the event here

Made LFA plans?

Join the discussion and share your hot picks

For full listings visit the LFA website

 

Wednesday 11th July
Rakesh Ramchurn, administrator, AJ

Bringing back memories of King Kong clambering up the Empire State Building, Casa Nostra is an installation by Czech graffiti artist Jan Kalab which pits a cluster of skyscrapers against what can only be described as a giant urban octopus whose glowing red tentacles surround and impale the buildings.

Casa Nostra, by Point (Jan Kalab). Business Design Centre.

Casa Nostra, by Point (Jan Kalab). Business Design Centre.

The children viewing the work with me found it as appealing as anything at the Science Museum and the installation is one of those works that show architecture can be fun. And although we are already familiar with architecture and art crossing paths, it was nice to see a graffiti artist, whose work usually takes the city as his canvas, bringing the relationship full circle by designing a mini-cityscape of his own. Rakesh Ramchurn

International Showcase: Czech Republic – ‘Casa Nostra’ by Jan Kalab at the Business Design Centre, London. Until 12 August 2012.

Tuesday 10th July
Julia Nicholls and Eva Ravenstein, Squire and Partners

Eva2

The King’s Cross Picnic

The British weather was hardly kind to us on the weekend of Squire and Partners’ King’s Cross Picnic installation for the London Festival of Architecture. Rain of biblical proportions fell during the morning, but by opening time at 11am the rain had stopped, and largely stayed away over the whole weekend. 

Of the 500 visitors who came to the picnic over the weekend, many sat outside on our deck chairs and grass beds constructed from recycled palettes, which were covered in real turf and topped with picnic baskets bursting with native English flowers planted by landscape designer Jeremy Rye

Kings Cross Picnic2

A large scale moss installation on a railway wall, by artist Anna Garforth, provided a striking backdrop and was gradually added to during the weekend by children armed with buckets of chalk. By Sunday evening the chalk stretched over two streets creating a fantastic mural of pictures and messages for passers-by.

The inside space - Victorian warehouse restaurant/bar 6 St Chad’s Place - was decked out in more turf, bespoke games tables and seating made from recycled palettes, plus two swings hanging from the rafters which were in constant use by children and adults!

Kings Cross Picnic1

Youth dance groups from The Place did hourly performances providing a fantastic visual interaction in both the indoor and outdoor spaces.  And the lovely ladies from The Poundshop brought their bespoke mobile kiosk as part of a summer tour, selling wonderful designer/maker items.

We also had an unexpected A-list visitor in the form of actor Clive Owen, who watched the dance performances and hung around for a couple of hours to enjoy the space!

The picnic was a hugely fun and successful event for us, and we very much enjoyed celebrating with the rest of the LFA team at the closing party in the Filling Station on Saturday night.

 

Monday 9th July
Sam Westbrook, intern, AJ

Rule Britannia 2

Rule Britannia

Buro Four alongside Mae Architects, DLA Architecture and Barker Langham opened the doors to their shared Naoroji Street office for a light hearted and interactive evening of exhibitions and debate.

The evening focused on a number of themes each covering a strand of Buro Four’s ‘Big Relay’, a continuing series of events aimed at promoting dialog and debate within the construction industry.

With the main focus on sustainability, collaboration and innovation, the evening examined the areas where Britain’s construction industry has been exceling.

A joint installation by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and Max Fordham showed what could be achieved when working collaboratively. Presented were a number of ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ schemes that the architects and engineers had both worked on together. These projects included the BREEAM ‘Excellent’ Woodland Trust headquarters in Lincolnshire, and the Hive, a joint use library for the University of Worcester and the general public, a project which recently achieved a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating.

While Alex Ely, from Mae Architects, and Martin Long, from Buro Four, discussed the difficulties and benefits of collaboration in the delivery of projects.

Other contributors to the event included Gensler, Grant Associates and Wilkinson Eyre, who exhibited a number of current projects in Asia and the Pacific, such as their ‘Gardens by the Bay’ project in Singapore.

A series of mini debates and exercises were scheduled throughout the evening, climaxing with a contest named “Who Can Build the Best”, where teams had five minutes to build the best Olympic arena from a selection of materials provided. The tongue and cheek exercise aimed to further express the theme of collaboration.

Rule Britannia

 

Monday 9th July
Michelle Price, editoral assistant, AJ

Mirrors of Awareness

The installation being created

The creation of the installation

My LFA 2012 highlight was Rebecca Gregory, Eddie Blake and Emma McDowell’s ‘Mirrors of Awareness’ installation.

Diagram used to project onto facade of Metropolitan Workshop

Diagram used to project onto facade of Metropolitan Workshop

Capturing this year’s theme of the playful city, the three independent artists/architects explored the individual’s interaction with the city, and how experiencing everyday life can cause one’s physical surroundings to be assumed and then invisible due to the repetitive nature of social practice.

The creation of the image

The creation of the image

‘We never look at just one thing; we are always looking at the relation between things & ourselves… Soon after we can see, we are aware that we can also be seen. The eye of the other combines with our own eye to make it fully credible that we are part of the visible world’ (Taken from ‘Ways of Seeing’, by John Berger).

Partaker stood in position B

Partaker stood in position B

Viewers were encouraged to observe the installation, of orange-painted geometries on Metropolitan Workshops office façade and pavement, from two observation points. The experience demonstrated that the image was only perfectly legible from one vantage point [position B]. Once the viewer moves from this point the image distorts into abstract forms, aiming to dissolve the individual back into their everyday experience.

The finished installation on the opening night

The finished installation on the opening night

Throughout the opening event, Cowcross Street saw the public using the viewpoints suggested and exploring the street further to gain new perspectives of the installation. Encouraging people to stop, look and interact with the street was a refreshing concept, which kept people interested and added a new quality of life to the space.      

Thursday 5 July
Sahiba Chadha,
sustainability intern, AJ

Tim Soar at Article 25’s Summer Party

Article 25’s Summer Party last night showcased new work by architectural photographer Tim Soar, at an exhibition curated by architect Phil Coffey and presented in partnership with Place Careers. The room was a-buzz with admirers of Soar’s prints, which lined the walls of the Clerkenwell Kitchen, re-appropriated as demure art gallery.

Soar’s collection documents the remnants of the 19th century water industry of the north, namely the Derwent Valley Mills in and around Derby.

He aims to examine the social, economic and geographic factors in generating these communities with their own social orders, and whether such developments are a record of lessons for modern society facing an ‘age of unpredictable futures.’

'Masson Mills Boiler Rooms' by Timothy Soar

‘Masson Mills Boiler Rooms’ by Timothy Soar

Parallels have been drawn with Article 25’s work in the developing world, which seeks to understand the benefits of investment to large displaced communities facing rapid change in challenging environments.

The compositions capture the lost dynamism of these now inert scenes and objects; Soar says that the message at the heart of the work is that a focused, centralised political context necessary to unlocking the full modern potential of water power – perhaps a second coming in the context of the Derwent Mills?

Article 25 is the beneficiary charity of London Festival of Architecture 2012. To support their work, please donate here.

See more on Footprint.

Thursday 5th July
Sam Westbrook, intern, AJ

WA

Ingenious Minds Live

Many have tried their hand at car design, including architects Zaha Hadid and Norman Foster. However, none are quite as radical as Will Alsop’s self-named ‘Concertina Car’.

Conceived following an event held by London based brand and marketing company,Burson-Marsteller. Will’s sketch presents a light-hearted design based around the principle of space saving in the modern city.

Ingenious Minds Live, inspired by the launch of the Ford D-Max, saw three leaders in the design industry meet for a morning of discussion. The line up included Lucy Johnson, founder of ‘Bright Young Brits’, Erika Tsubaki, Ford trends expert, and Will Alsop himself, world-renowned architect and author.

Held in front of a live studio audience and streamed over the Internet. The panel show format, hosted by comedian Alexander Armstrong, promoted discussion on the future of technology and design, speculating how we may live, work and play in the years to come.

 

Thursday 5th July
Michelle Price, editoral assistant, AJ

Should architecture make us fit?

In 22 days, the London Olympic Games will begin. Will the games influence us to become more active? Or should architecture and the cities we live in influence and support us to pursue healthier lifestyles?

Over 100 people gathered in the Wellcome Collections’ Auditorium last night to hear Architect and Journalist Peter Murray, Architect and Director of Canadian Centre for Architecture Mirko Zardini, The Lancet Editor Richard Horton and Commissioner of the New York City Department of Design and Construction David Burney debate the hot topic.

The Panel from left to right: Mirko Zarini, Peter Murray, Claire Fox, David Burney and Richard Horton

The Panel from left to right: Mirko Zarini, Peter Murray, Claire Fox, David Burney and Richard Horton

It was a topic I expected to spark debate, especially as the event was hosted by BBC Radio 4’s The Moral Maze panellist, Claire Fox, who kicked off the debate claiming ‘I am the most unfit person and know nothing about architecture’.

The discussion touched upon various themes including Frank Lloyd Wright’s The Living City, inequalities in society, making stairs more available in buildings, the role of an architect, the freedom of architecture and obesity, highlighting the depth of this subject.

‘There are a whole lot of smaller things which architecture can do. Architects do have a moral duty not to include something which is injurious into their buildings.’ Peter Murray

As a keen cyclist and with the notion that walking and cycling cities are nicer, Peter Murray focused on walking and cycling as ways to create a healthier city. Think Amsterdam, think Copenhagen. David Burney informed us that New York City has policy to ensure cycle parking is provided with every development to encouraging the use of the bike – but there is no policy for car parking.  This is geared towards encouraging people to walk, cycle or use public transport to move around the city.

One member of the audience referred to London as a toxic city and as a result her car has become her refuge.  However one underground station she enjoys is Foster’s Canary Wharf Station, which makes her want to use public transport.

Foster + Partner's Canary Wharf Station

Foster + Partner’s Canary Wharf Station

One simple way of improving health within buildings was suggested by both Architects Richard and Peter – stairs. Peter ‘You cannot find where the stairs are at all. You are either forbidden to use them for Health and Safety or they are hidden in the service shaft’.

This caused a stir in the audience, ‘is stairs your only thing, it’s not enough’. However, studies have shown that regular physical activity [like using the stairs] can reduce our risk of becoming overweight, developing heart disease and diabetes.

This argument comes down to user choice and freedom. Architects have the abilities to design environments which encourage physical activity [walking, cycling, stair-use], but can they control how people chose to occupy the building without stripping individuals of their freedom?

One suggestion would be to add the topic to the current Soft Landings agenda to monitor and advise how people use buildings in the first years of occupation. Architects can only create the back-drop to what could become a successful healthy city, the inhabitants have the responsibility to use it well.

At the end of the event I watched the audience leave the auditorium. They all used the stairs.

 

Suspend reality and enter a world where anything could happen – this was the audience’s requirement at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios’ (FCBS) LFA event last week, entitled ‘Curious and Curiouser’. Ten speakers delivered three-minute quick-fire presentations, ranging from DNA and wave gardens, to an urban-Ebay, algae farms and green belts and braces.

The evening also offered a sneak preview of FCBS’s exhibition ‘Through the Looking Glass’, a series of cardboard and light installations. Both whimsical and playful in line with this year’s LFA theme, the cardboard structures made ideal surrounds for the speakers and audience to mingle in as they returned to reality.

Read more on Footprint.

ecoLogicStudio1

Marco Poletto presenting ecoLogicStudio’s H.O.R.T.U.S. algae farm

 

Wednesday 4 July
Rakesh Ramchurn, administrator
, AJ

Home – an exhibition at the Mosaic Rooms in west London – explores the idea of home in the Arab world through installations created by Middle East-based architects.

The most interesting exhibit explores the development of the traditional Bahraini house, from dwellings with a large single room to houses with multiple rooms around an inner courtyard. These central courtyards provided more privacy than a back yard or garden would, and as they were shaded they were cooler than areas outside the house, allowing the rearing of livestock or vegetables. However, in the age of air conditioning, these traditional features are being left out of modern housing projects, leading instead to large covered central spaces that function similar to reception rooms.

AMBS Architects - Photo: Dick Batka

AMBS Architects - Photo: Dick Batka

The Iraq-based AMBS Architects presented a 3D model of eco-sustainable communities that used traditional Iraqi building materials such as compressed soil bricks and features such as wind tunnels in a sustainable housing scheme that could be implemented across Iraq.

A couple of practices focused more on memories of home rather than the architecture of housing structures themselves. Morocco-based KILO Architects created a wall installation featuring pottery, slippers, tea pots and other Moroccan artisanal products, while Qatar-based Thomas Modeen created a hanging textile work that referenced traditional north African mashrabiyya windows.

Although not quite sure if it was exploring the concept of ‘home’ or the changing structure of housing, the exhibition presented a few interesting ideas that made the visit worthwhile. My favourite was from Lebanon-based L.E.FT Design which presented a way of reconfiguring Middle Eastern houses with revolving doors to give residents access to four rooms at a time, without the need for corridors.

The Mosaic Rooms, 226 Cromwell Road, London SW5 0SW. Until 7 July.

 

Tuesday 3 July
Tom Ravenscroft, AJ Buildings Library editor

Tom Ravenscroft, The Architects’ Journal Buildings Library editor

Tom Ravenscroft

The Architects Benevolent Society’s ‘Playful City Search’

Teams of architects, their friends and others who mistakenly thought it was a pub crawl, roamed across central London answering architecture-related questions (and taking photos of pineapples) for the Architects Benevolent Society’s (ABS) inaugural treasure hunt.

In their quest to raise money for the ABS, the intrepid quiz teams visited All Souls Church (where they learnt the spire has 17 sides), the National portrait gallery (where Christopher Wren’s portrait resides in room ten) and Make’s London visitor centre (from which St Paul’s dome is 112 metres high), learning the difference between Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s K2 and K6 phone boxes along the way, before winding up at Tate Modern for drinks and awards.

Team ‘Battersea Villagers’ - led by Fabiana Chirivi of ORMS - took a prize for the most creative pineapple photo, while McDaniel Woolf won the most dedicated participants award and PTEa - which fielded a 15-strong team - was recognised for its sheer strength of numbers. 

The team with the highest score was ‘Ken and the others’, featuring yours truly. Bring on next year!

PineapplevsStPauls

 

Tuesday 3 July
Tim Gledstone, partner, Squire and Partners

Tim Gledstone

Tim Gledstone

Canstruction 2012 contest winners: Squire and Partners

We approached the Canstruction challenge (to build a self-supporting structure from tin cans) by trying to come up with an entirely new way of giving the cans stability and structure.

Rather than use tape or string or wire, we invented (and patented!) a little plywood disk with carved grooves that would enable the cans to lock together… allowing us create a full size interactive ‘shelter’ of cans that can be assembled and reassembled anywhere. We call it ‘Food and Shelter’.

The 12-hour construction day was definitely a challenge (we had three minor collapses although no casualties in the end), but the effort was absolutely worth it. Squire and Partners are very proud of everyone in our team and so excited to be named Overall Winners and Judges Choice.

The exhibition, at One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, runs until 7 July, when the shelter will be dismantled and donated to FareShare.

Canstruction_Award

 

 

Tuesday 3 July
Sam Westbrook, intern, AJ

Developing City

The developing city

The developing city exhibition offers a fascinating and intriguing view of the past, present and future look of the city of London, including a radical representation of the capital in 2050.

While the exhibition considers the future, it is more interesting as window into the past, with stories of the city that go back as far as Roman and Medieval times.

Looking in depth at some of the city’s most historically significant periods; the recovery after the Great Fire of London, damage caused during Blitz, and the radical change experienced as London grew to become a global financial powerhouse, the installation explains and discusses London’s changing attitudes to architectural design and city planning.

As a visitor to London, the exhibition provides education on some of the city’s biggest landmarks and areas of urban planning. A large interactive model puts the city’s buildings into context, while also introducing some of its future landmarks, both proposed and under construction.

The exhibition concludes with an instillation entitled ‘Grow Up London’, which focuses on the need for vertical construction, speculating how the city is likely to respond to the pressures of increased density as it continues to grow. A booklet explaining the instillation is free to take away, and the debate can be followed on twitter @GrowUp2050.   

The Walbrook Building, London EC4
21 June – 9th September

 

Friday 29 June
Peter Murray, Chairman of NLA

Peter Murray

Peter Murray

Peter Murray’s ten top tips

1. Take in the Fitzrovia Hub this weekend with open studios, walks, rides games and installations

2.  Go to the Royal Academy on Saturday and Sunday for a great collection of events

3. Tuesday evening July 3 take in the opening of Oculus - Roz Barr’s installation in Store Street Crescent.  

4. Wednesday July 4 come to the debate about healthy cities ‘Architecture as Antidote’ with David Burney, head of architecture and design New York City

5. Visit the International Showcase in particular the Home a study of mud built housing 

6. Visit the Developing City exhibition in the Walbrook building

7. Photograph a pineapple and put it up on Flickr

8. Go to Royal Docks Meanwhile Spaces including the Pleasure Gardens. Ash Sakula’s Caravanserai and  architects’ installations and structures by Price and Myers. Catch Canstruction at Canary Wharf    

9. Friday July 6 ‘Definitely-NOT-the-Olympics Pecha Kucha’ with all the teams that have designed buildings for the Games  

10. Weekend of July 7/8 visit the King’s Cross Hub for a climactic collection of amazing events   

 

Friday 29 June
Emily Booth, group special projects editor, AJ

Will Alsop

It was a treat to watch old pals Will Alsop and sculptor Bruce McLean in conversation at the ‘Construction: Knowing through Making’ symposium on Tuesday.

They had the relaxed camaraderie of a pair who have known each other for years (since 1979, anyway) and who have worked together loads. So what if it took a good bit of time for them to get onto the topic in hand: collaboration. (Alsop kicked off with the line: ‘We weren’t sure why we were here.’)

What was clear is they have a positive influence on how each other works. ‘Most of our working together doesn’t necessarily produce a building,’ Alsop explained.

‘Most of it is talking. There is an understanding.’ McLean added: ‘You change how I think.’

And they both put a refreshing premium on fun.

Alsop: ‘Best practice. Terrible words. It’s as if you’re not allowed to have fun. It’s nothing to do with culture.’ Meanwhile McLean made the point that some people think if you’re having fun you can’t be serious. But, he added: ‘If you don’t laugh, you don’t learn.’

Hats off to artist Patricia Cain who organised the symposium, and who pulled together a fantastic line-up of speakers ranging from Richard Wentworth, professor of sculpture at the Royal College of Art, to Ranulph Glanville, whose work as architect and academic is based in the notion that each of us constructs our own world. Mind-stretching stuff.

 

Wednesday 27 June
Tom Ravenscroft, AJ Buildings Library editor

Tom Ravenscroft, The Architects’ Journal Buildings Library editor

Tom Ravenscroft

Annual Wren lecture at St Bride’s

Terry Farrell delivered the inaugural Annual Wren Talk at the journalists’ church, St Bride’s, on Fleet Street.

Held in aid of the INSPIRE! Appeal, which is aiming to raise £2.5 million for vital repairs to the spire of Sir Christopher Wren’s church, Farrell discussed Wren’s work within the context of modern London.

St Bride's

The highlight of the evening, or icing on the cake (apologies), was eating Wren’s masterpiece. Following the talk a five foot tall model of the church made from sponge cake, commissioned by John Robertson Architects, was cut and shared among the audience.

Launched in March 2012 the appeal has raised almost £700,000. To contribute to the visit - www.stbrides.com/inspire

Cake

St Bride’s cake by Grant Smith

 

Wednesday 27 June
Tom Ravenscroft, AJ Buildings Library editor

Tom Ravenscroft, The Architects’ Journal Buildings Library editor

Tom Ravenscroft

Royal Academy Annual Architecture Lecture: Steven Holl

After a brief introduction by Royal Academician Chris Wilkinson, and a quick plug for the RA bookshop, the 2012 AIA Gold Medal winner Steven Holl delivered a lecture on the theme of scale and/or ‘scalelessness’, to a packed hall at Burlington House.

Soon to complete his first UK work at the Glasgow School of Art, to be followed quickly by a Maggie’s centre at St Bathelomew’s in London, this seemed an appropriate time to learn more about the New York-based architect.

Based on Holl’s book ‘Scale’, the clearly structured lecture took the audience on a walk through the practice’s project portfolio starting from its largest scheme, the central business core and cultural district for the Tianjin eco city in China, to one of its smallest, Daeyang gallery and house in Seoul. The projects formed the backdrop a discussion over the confusion of scale and how to achieve ‘scalelessness’, while retaining a human scale (often through the use of bamboo formwork).

Royal Academy Annual Architecture Lecture: Steven Holl

Royal Academy Annual Architecture Lecture: Steven Holl

His thoughts were particularly pertinent with regards to  the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’ Simmons Hall, where the repetition and number of windows on the slab of university accommodation makes the scale difficult to judge, and possibly achieves the ‘scalelessness’ Holl desires. But at other times the argument seemed a little forced.

The lecture was supported by a number of Holl’s watercolors that seem to capture the light and colour (and human scale) that is so important in his work. Although beautiful, occasionally these paintings overshadowed the actual architecture and especially in the case of the completed but unopened Nanjing Sifang Art Museum, seeing the built work proved a little disappointing.

The lecture was neatly tied up with a Walter Benjamin quote that encouraged the audience to think deeper about the night’s focus on scale: ‘The size of an object is in an inverse ratio to its significance’.

 

Tuesday 26 June
Julia Nicholls, associate at Squire & Partners

Julia Nicholls, associate at Squire and Partners

Julia Nicholls, associate at Squire and Partners

King’s Cross Picnic

Squire and Partners are transforming a cobbled King’s Cross backstreet into a picnic garden designed for play.  The event includes a large scale art installation ‘The Poundshop’ selling designer/maker wares from a custom designed kiosk, performances by young dancers from The Place and delicious lunches and drinks from the kitchen at 06 St Chad’s place.

Dates: Saturday 7th of July and Sunday 8th of July 2012
Time: 11am to 5pm daily
Location: Outside 06 St. Chad’s Place, London, WC1X 9HH

King’s Cross Picnic by Squire and Partners

King’s Cross Picnic by Squire and Partners

 

Monday 25 June
Alex Maxwell

London Vellonotte. Image by Alex Maxwell

London Vellonotte. Image by Alex Maxwell

London Vellonotte
First stop on London’s Velonotte was Hoxton Square. Among the pubs and bars (trendy) and their clientele (less so), about 200 cyclists were listening to Peter Ackroyd and event organiser Serge Nikitin discussing the explosion of gin palaces and taverns that blighted London in the early eighteenth century.

Handily, this interview, and the others that followed our slow progress through the East End, were aired by Resonance FM, providing a soundtrack to a very wet, but interesting and enjoyable night.

Architecture and social history are deeply interwoven in this part of town. Outside the Salmon and Ball pub we heard the tales of the men hanged after the Spitalfield Riots, some 250 years ago, in the same spot. And of the Bolsheviks who, after attending a conference in London, ran out of money and could not get back to Russia, so camped up near the site of the De Beauvoir estate, perhaps as close to Soviet Khrushchovka as London comes.

Architectural gem of the night was Denis Lasdun’s Keeling House, which had been lit up especially for the ride by sponsor iGuzzini. Having only read about it previously, it’s a wonder this brutalist block isn’t used as example of successful regeneration of 50/60s housing. Perhaps employing the original architect is the key?

More modern buildings on the route included Adjaye’s first Ideas Store at Watney Market, FAT’s Blue House and a ride along the Olympic Park greenway, flanked by Olympic Stadia and industrial estates. 

Monday 25 June
Xenia Adjoubei, studio Alea Iacta Est

The London Velonotte. Image © Jo Burridge Photography

Source: Image © Jo Burridge Photography

The London Velonotte. Image © Jo Burridge Photography

London Vellonotte
I should think most of you know this feeling: You are cycling through the city. Passing through well-known parts and buildings, some of these are unnoticed, others lovingly gazed at from the saddle of your bike, and suddenly something triggers a realisation; a moment of consciousness of where you are now.

This moment is set apart from your everyday commute. This is a moment of engagement and ownership of the city that makes you appreciate London’s rich history and urban energy.

The Vellonotte architectural tour of London’s East End allowed us to not only tap into that urban nature, but to do it all at once, communally, to the sound of narrated stories, histories and music.

We stopped in squares to be taken back in time, on council estates to ponder politics, outside a modernist masterpiece clothed in changing light. We watched a long line of twinkling lights unfurl as we rode along canal paths in single file, all the time with one ear in the live Velonight soundtrack, the other in a discussion about town planning or new brake pads.

The London Velonotte. Image © Jo Burridge Photography

Source: Image © Jo Burridge Photography

The London Velonotte. Image © Jo Burridge Photography

And yes, it did rain, almost all of us were soaking wet, wringing out our gloves at every stop. We were in amazement at radios bought in pound shops, which turned out to be amphibious.  But did the weather matter? I should think it only made our smiles wider.

The next Vellonotte will be in St Petersburg on the 14 July. Visit the website for more information.

 

Monday 25 June
Chee-kit Lai, The Mobile Studio

Chee-kit Lai

Chee-kit Lai


Open City invited Mobile Studio to design a modular system for a kids’ workshop at Celebrate the City Weekend, as part of London Festival of Architecture 2012. The system is a giant house of cards, which is lightweight and enables kids to draw and subsequently construct their own self-supporting structures. The modular slot system provides infinite possibilities of play. The workshops entitled Archi-Lenses & Art Frames were held at the Great St Helen’s Sculpture Space at Cheapside and Leadenhall Market.

Archi-Lenses and Art Frames

Archi-Lenses and Art Frames

 

Monday 25 June
Adam Knight,
Director, Hugh Broughton Architects

Adam Knight

Adam Knight

On Saturday 23rd June, with a dozen AO boards gaffer taped to tent legs, a group of West London Architects and Engineers battled against a strengthening wind to promote ideas for change in Hammersmith.

The devastating impact that the construction of the A4 in 1961 has had on Chiswick and Hammersmith brought us together for the first West London Event which took place during the London Festival of Architecture four years ago. The idea of sinking the A4 into a tunnel appeared a bit far-fetched then, but made it has way into a number of the resultant concept sketches.

The Flyover Makeover event in Hammersmith

The Flyover Makeover event in Hammersmith

In January 2012, the closure of the Hammersmith flyover, and positive comments from local Councillors and the Mayor of London, encouraged us to make this the subject of a more open public event. So, with generous support from local architectural practices, Hammersmith London and Halcrow engineers, we transformed Lyric Square into a play space and people flocked in to see what was going on. Architects and engineers were on hand to answer questions and promote creative discussion about how Hammersmith could be. A brass band and games including giant Connect 4, table tennis and egg and spoon racing kept the kids occupied.

By the end of a long but thankfully dry day, pink stickies scribbled with public comments clung to a full message board and provided a clear statement that the wind appears to be blowing in the right direction for this idea to run.

 

Friday 22 June
Merlin Fulcher, Reporter, AJ

Merlin Fulcher

Merlin Fulcher

East London’s Silvertown Quay in the Royal Docks is being transformed into the London Pleasure Gardens featuring a string of RIBA London-commissioned installations by the likes of Foster Lomas, Nickolas Kirk Architects and Studio Squat.

The eight hectare waterfront site opens next weekend with a free festival featuring live music by Alabama 3 and a pyrotechnic display (Opening times: 1PM-11PM Saturday 30th June, 1PM-10PM Sunday 1st July).

Perspective Folly, by Nickolas Kirk Architects

Perspective Folly, by Nickolas Kirk Architects

Fenced-up and off-limits to all but the most intrepid urban explorers for decades, the rugged post-industrial landscape is not only fascinating and eerie but also home to one of the capital’s most iconic disused structures, the Millennium Mills.

With a choice selection of emerging architects throwing site-specific reinterpretations into the mix, this event promises to be a pleasant post-apocalyptic walkabout.

Across town, New London Architecture and the City of London have pulled out all the stops with an exhibition showcasing futuristic predictions of the Square Mile in 2050.

The Developing City: Arup and John Robertson Architects' future vision

The Developing City: Arup and John Robertson Architects’ future vision

Pitched as the festival’s headline event, The Developing City show at Foster’s Walbrook Building in Cannon Street presents three crystal ball gazing visions for the area.

Woods Bagot with Brookfield and Hilson Moran predicts London will ‘grow up’ with taller buildings and wider streets. Gensler with Eric Parry Architects, the LSE, the Royal College of Art, Siemens and RWDI has conceived the potential for a new park along the River Fleet and Thames.

The Developing City: Gensler and Eric Parry Architects future vision

The Developing City: Gensler and Eric Parry Architects’ future vision

Meanwhile John Robertson Architects with British Land, Land Securities and Arup has presented a ‘de-carbonised’ vision of the Square Mile with a new financial centre at Aldgate.

Historical displays and 40 scale models of recent and proposed schemes in the City are also included. Running until 9 September, the free event is openTuesday to Sunday from 11am to 5.30pm and on Friday until 7pm.

 

Friday 22 June
Emily Booth, group special projects editor, AJ

The 2010 Bankside Urban Orchard at 100 Union Street in Southwark

The 2010 Bankside Urban Orchard at 100 Union Street in Southwark

‘Weaving in and out of transformed railway arches and open air courtyards and gardens,’ says the blurb, ‘the reUNION will be a peaceful oasis in the bustling city.’ There’s going to be a secret cinema and open art studio, they’ll be neighbourhood feasts and nurturing nature gardens, courtesy of EXYZT and Lake Estates. What more could you want from a public space? The event takes place at 100 Union Street in Southwark.

London Velonotte map designed by Dasha Serebryakova

London Velonotte map designed by Dasha Serebryakova

I’m a bit of wimp when it comes to cycling in London but Velonotte (23 June, 11.30pm-5.30am) looks set to be a memorable way to spend a night. Zooming around the great Wild East End of London discovering theatres, houses, churches and parks before a dawn party at Canary Wharf  East Wintergarden with an English cream tea.

 

Thursday 21 June
Sahiba Chadha, sustainability intern, AJ

The Open House Worldwide Conference ‘Smarter Cities, Smarter Thinking’ looks set to be a great event, honing in on social and cultural sustainability alongside economic and environmental. The two-day conference focus is on people, practice and place – Footprint’s pick is Day 2 which will get stuck into the details of technological and design innovation for urban spaces. (22 June, 9.30am – 4pm. Hosted at CBRE, Henrietta House, W1G 0NB)

 

Thursday 21 June
Anthony Hoete, WHAT_architecture

Legobusier

Our office ‘now that’s what I call architecture’ hit list includes:Legobusier at the Barbican, Jimenez Lai’s Bureau Spectacular at the AF’s Project Space, the Istanbul international showcase in King’s Cross and Minimal Complexities by Vlad Tenu.

Like a DJ including one of his own tunes in a mix album, we have featured our own Legobusier modern master class at the Barbican within our picks. Why? Legobusier promotes doing over seeing. This is participation not exhibition. Legobusier puts the fun back into functionalism: this is modernism for the whole family. And you get to win a WHAT_architecture Gold Medal in the process.

 

Wedesday 20 June
Sarah Wigglesworth, director, Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

Sarah Wigglesworth

Sarah Wigglesworth

After all the hype surrounding the Olympics and Jubilee my inclination is to head for the neighbourhoods.

First stop was Wednesday’s Architectural Quiz night in aid of Article 25, hosted by Max Hutchinson. Next, to the Big Screen at Broadgate for some historic footage of the City of London, sourced by the London Metropolitan Archives (21 – 22 Jun, 12.30pm– 7.30pm).

Making real architectural proposals with real people (let’s hope it’s not all architects!) is a good reminder of who our work is really for. The Flyover Makeover at Hammersmith lasts all day on Saturday 23 June, but if the weather holds I’d probably option for the Working Buildings Cycle Tour organised by the Architecture Foundation (23 Jun, 2.30pm – 5pm), taking in the former industrial area around Fleet Street.

Sunday will see me at the conversation between Graham Gussin and David Chipperfield at Siobhan Davies Studios. Always a thrill to go back and see what new event is hosted there (24 June, 2.30pm,).

And once the buzz has died down I’ll take a stroll around Home: Contemporary architectural interpretations of the home in the Arab world, at The Mosaic Rooms A.M. Qattan Foundation (21 June– 07 July, 11am – 6pm).

 

Wedesday 20 June
Chris Williamson, director, Weston Williamson

Chris Williamson

Chris Williamson

There are so many interesting events. So far I have clicked on the ‘I’m attending’ button and entered the following in my calendar:

It started on Wednesday night with the Weston Williamson pub quiz hosted by Max Hutchinson on behalf of Article 25. A fantastic night had by all!

On Saturday I am fundraising in Borough Market for Foodchain then doing the Working Buildings Cycle Tour (23 June, 2.30pm-5pm) starting at the Architecture Foundation. Next Monday there’s an interesting debate on The Defence of the Public Realm (25 June, 6pm-8pm).

Hoxton Hub (Open Studio, Edgley Design and HUT, 7 July, 10am-6pm) is on my cycle route home so will call in. There’s another cycle ride starting at Canary Wharf called Floating Communities (30 June, 2pm-4.30pm).

King’s Cross roof life - I’m hoping to go lunchtime 6th July and The Big Dance at Granary Square is a must. I will go to Terry Farrell’s Wren talk (28 June, 6.30- 8pm) – he’s always interesting and thought provoking. I’ll also go to the Peter Cook talk (It’s In The Bag, 3 July, 7pm).

Must remember to fit in some work.

 

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