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London Festival of Architecture reveals ‘eclectic and diverse’ programme

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The London Festival of Architecture (LFA) has unveiled a programme packed with 400 events for its month-long celebration of design and the built environment in June

Now in its 14th year, this year the festival will explore ’Identity’, a theme the LFA hopes will inspire the ’most diverse and interesting’ programme yet. 

Delivered by architecture and design practices and practitioners, as well as cultural institutions and artists, the festival appeals to a huge audience, attracting record numbers of 400,000 people in 2017. 

LFA director Tamsie Thomson launched the festival at the Shard’s viewing gallery in central London on Wednesday (2 May).

’It’s no surprise that London – a city of multiple individual and collective identities – should inspire the most diverse and interesting London Festival of Architecture programme yet,’ she said.

The festival runs between 1 and 30 June 2018.

London Festival of Architecture 2018 highlights

Dulwich Pavilion exhibition See the six shortlisted designs in the LFA-organised contest for the 2019 Dulwich Pavilion. The exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery offers a brilliant showcase of emerging architectural talent, including the likes of PUP Architects, e10 studio and FleaFollyArchitects, ahead of the construction of the new pavilion for next year’s festival.  

St Paul’s Gateway A trapezoidal contemporary gateway structure designed by ScottWhitbyStudio that will create over 400 mirrored images of St Paul’s Cathedral as pedestrians arrive out of St Paul’s Underground Station. The proposal is made using over hundreds of highly reflective Anodised Aluminium poles suspended vertically from a simple lightweight structural canopy. The practice had won a competition to design a ‘modern maypole’ for the Strand but has said that structure will instead appear at next year’s festival. 

City Benches – the result of a design competition organised by the London Festival of Architecture and the City of London Corporation. A series of one-off new public benches across the City of London showcase London’s brilliant emerging architecture and design talent. Ten benches – five in Cheapside and five in the City’s Eastern Cluster – will help the City remain an exceptional place to live, work and visit.

Amanda Levete lecture The New London Architecture annual lecture – this year by Amanda Levete – is always a headline event of the LFA calendar. Amanda is a RIBA Stirling Prize-winning architect and recent recipient of the prestigious Jane Drew Prize, recognising her talent as a leader in international design. 

>The Treehouse at Battersea Power Station Studio Kyson’s Treehouse shows a new reflection of the city, offering an abstract take on a traditional concept and using a material palette of charred timber and smoked mirrors.

LFA Open Studios Architects 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 takes place across London every Friday throughout June, with five ‘hubs’: Clerkenwell (1 June), Fitzrovia (8 June), Cambridge Heath (15 June), Shepherd’s Bush (22 June) and Kentish Town (29 June).

Émigré architects A short film by Stirling Prize-winning practice dRMM about the influence of the émigré architect in London. As the research commissioned by the LFA and Greater London Authority showed earlier this year, London’s architecture sector thrives thanks to a global workforce, and this film – screened at The Scoop in the London Bridge focus area – features 10 interviews with dRMM architect and designers from 10 nations.

> LFA Symposium – Does Identity Matter? A day-long conference at the Royal Academy posing the question does identity matter? The event explores the impact of architecture on the identity of a city, exploring identity in the context of individual and collective expression, place-making and architectural practice.

> The Ombra Altana A new installation that celebrates ‘identity, architecture and aperitif’. Presiding over a corner of South Hackney, at Ombra by the Regents Canal, the Altana elevates the everyday life of meeting, talking, eating and drinking. Launching during the Venice Biennale, this simple structure will transplant the identity of Venice to East London. This project is designed and built by Hackney based architects fourth_space and The Office for Crafted Architecture (EXYZT collective, Central Saint Martins).

The Bird Hide In response to a four-month residency with Bow Arts at RAW Labs, artist Sara Heywood presents a temporary site-specific installation inspired by the identity of the Royal Albert Docks, its local wildlife, and close proximity to London City Airport.

Fourthspace_The Ombra Altana_Credit Fourthspace

Fourthspace_The Ombra Altana_Credit Fourthspace

Source: Fourthspace

fourth_space’s The Ombra Altana

Other events include the Great Architectural Bake Off (GABO); an afternoon of ’Gelato e Architecture’ with Casswell Bank Architects and local ice-cream maker La Grotta Ices; and an architour of Sir John Soane’s Museum.

Thomson added: ’We cannot wait to share this year’s brilliant programme with the public, and to spend a month immersed alongside the city’s amazing architecture and design talent, as we celebrate London and showcase the architecture that helps to make it the greatest city on earth.’

Speaking at the launch, Deputy London Mayor Jules Pipe said City Hall was proud to support the festival. ‘It’s shocking to think you go back a few decades and 50 per cent of architects were employed by local authorities and now its less than 1 per cent – we need to address that.’

He added: ’The mayor and I think it is key to embed a culture that supports quality design in the built environment.’

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