This month, a city wide celebration has been taking place in the UK capital attracting thousands of visitors to its many events, tours and exhibitions. The annual London Festival of Architecture is a global hub of architectural experimentation, debate & practice and has been a summer fixture of the city since 2004. With 69 partner events, 82 associated projects and 62 open studios spread across London, the festival programme puts the city on the map throughout June, provoking questions about the contemporary and future life of the city whilst promoting positive change to its public realm.
Delivered by leading academic and cultural institutions, along with expert practices and individuals, the festival’s many events respond to this year’s theme of ‘Work in Progress’. Tackling key issues central to this theme there are debates on how policy and design can encourage creative workspaces, international case studies of industrial renovation along with looks at the past, presence and future of the work space and its impact on social behaviour.
‘With so much development going on across the capital, Londoners are more acutely aware of architecture and its impact than ever before. This year’s London Festival of Architecture promises some fascinating insights and debate about the challenges being addressed by the men and women who have designs on our cities.’ Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
A key installation for the festival has been the TREExOFFICE, an innovative concept work space by Australian American artist Natalie Jeremijenko in collaboration with architects Tate Harmer and Gensler and artists Shuster + Moseley. Housed in the canopy of an urban tree, the project has been installed in Hoxton Square by Groundwork London, Arts Admin & Hackney Council and is part of the Park Hack project which endeavours to sustain and make the most of the UK’s public parks.
Coinciding with the festival is the 247th Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, one of the top exhibitions to visit during the month. The largest open submission show of contemporary art and architecture, the 2015 showcase is exhibiting the work of both established and emerging architecture practitioners with this year’s architecture room curated by celebrated architect Ian Ritchie.
Numerous tours are taking place across the city in conjunction with the temporary installations and exhibitions. Tour highlights include London’s First Skyscraper centred on the London Underground’s Head Office and hosted by The London Transport Office, and a Nine Elms on the South Bank tour, exploring one of the London’s most promising regeneration projects on the banks of the Thames.
New to the festival this year is the inclusion of an international Focus Country which is an exploration of the architecture from a carefully selected country around the globe. Ireland was chosen as the inaugural exhibitor and the country is currently celebrating Irish Design 2015 – a year-long international tribute to Irish design supported by the Irish Government. Creating a bespoke programme for the festival including workshops, events and an installation titled New Horizon with two purpose built pavilions, this particular section of the London Festival of Architecture champions Irish design on a global level.
The month long event celebrating the capital’s rich architectural landscape is running from Monday 1st – Tuesday 30th June and more information on the exhibitions, talks and tours can be found at the London Festival of Architecture website.