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London Festival of Architecture reveals ‘biggest ever’ programme

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The AJ can reveal the full programme for this year’s London Festival of Architecture (LFA), which is being billed as the ‘biggest ever programme for Europe’s largest annual architecture event’  

Now in its 13th year, the month-long festival, which runs throughout June, will mount more than 450 separate events exploring the theme of ’memory’.

The programme will again be delivered by architecture and design practices and practitioners, cultural and academic institutions, artists and many others. In 2016 almost 30,000 people attended festival events, most of which were free.

London Festival of Architecture 2017 highlights:

  • A new events pavilion at Dulwich Picture Gallery designed by emerging London architecture practice IF_DO, the winners of a recent design competition. Sponsored by Almacantar and Arts Council England, the temporary structure will help mark the south London gallery’s 200th anniversary and will host a range of events from talks to performances throughout the summer.
  • Talks by architectural giants David Adjaye, Daniel Libeskind and Richard Rogers. This year’s talks programme also includes an exploration of unbuilt work by women architects, and an ‘unpeeling’ of the Square Mile to unearth memories of many layers beneath.
  • Let loose in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens on 3 June, the Memory Monsters assume the guise of familiar landmarks to illustrate the changing face of London. This family event aims to explore the role of memory within one of London’s fastest-growing new districts.
  • A public exhibition showcasing proposals for new creative workspace beneath the Silvertown Flyover will be on display at the Siemens Crystal. As the new City in the East takes shape, the LFA has been working with the Royal Docks Partners to develop a rich mix of events in the Royal Docks area during the festival.
  • Memory Machine. A hands-on family workshop at Somerset House that encourages visitors to explore architecture, memory and everyday activity by mapping London using drawing and collage.
  • The Great Architectural Bake Off and the Lego Challenge. Architects unleash their creativity through the medium of cake in Fitzroy Square, while they battle for control among themselves – and with the disruptive fantasies of young children – using Lego at the Royal Academy.
  • Here Lies Jonathan Meades. As the great architectural provocateur turns 70, the British Film Institute (BFI) celebrates his work through a programme of screenings, talks and on-stage appearances at various London venues including the BFI, RIBA and the Whitechapel Art Gallery.
  • #johnremembers. An Instagram campaign by LFA patrons John Robertson Architects will take shape in the run-up to and during the festival, with members of the creative community and the wider public posting photos of London with their own personal stories and memories.
  • LFA Open Studios. Architects, architectural technologists, landscape architects and structural engineers throw open their studio doors to the public for a wide range of events from talks and exhibitions to practical workshops or activities for children. Open Studios take place across London throughout June, with four weekend ‘hubs’: South Bank (2-3 June), Fitzrovia (9-10 June), Shoreditch (16-17 June) and Clerkenwell (24-25 June).

Other events include building tours, an exhibition of large-scale photography at the soon-to-be demolished Cressingham Estate (Sanctum Ephemeral pictured below), and a celebration of 10 years of gastronimical innovators Bompas and Parr, famous for their architectural jellies.

Sanctum ephemeral by mark aitken park perimeter 2

Sanctum ephemeral by mark aitken park perimeter 2

Sanctum Ephemeral, an exhibition of large-scale photography at the soon-to-be demolished Cressingham Estate

London Festival of Architecture director Tamsie Thomson said: ‘Members of the public can look forward to the biggest and best-ever London Festival of Architecture in June.

‘Our “memory” theme has inspired hundreds of participants – from small architecture practices to major cultural institutions – to create a fantastic and varied programme of events that will inspire, enthuse, provoke and entertain. There really is something for everyone.’

She added: ‘Memory is fundamental to how people experience any city, and London is no different as a rich depository of memories old and new. This year’s festival will celebrate those memories, create new ones, and explore how London memories can influence the future of our city.’

The AJ is media partner for the London Festival of Architecture.

Click here to see the full programme

Weston Williamson + Partners' open studio in 2016

Weston Williamson + Partners’ open studio in 2016

Weston Williamson + Partners’ open studio in 2016

The London Festival of Architecture celebrates London as a global hub of architectural experimentation, practice and debate. Taking place from 1-30 June, the annual festival provokes questions about the contemporary and future life of the city, and promotes positive change to its public realm. The city-wide programme is delivered by leading cultural and academic institutions alongside associated projects by practices and individuals.

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