London Festival of Architecture 2016 programme launch

The London Festival of Architecture 2016 programme is launched today, with almost 300 events taking place across the capital from 1-30 June. The festival captures London’s exciting mix of diverse and multi-layered communities, and demonstrates huge appetite among architects, artists, developers and the public to nurture, shape and enrich their city.

Exploring the theme “community”, the London Festival of Architecture 2016 will connect with as many people as possible. The line-up includes exhibitions, talks, tours, workshops, installations and debates. From cycling tours and performance sculpture, family building workshops and an exploration of 21stcentury community centres, to architecture through the eyes of TV documentary and stand-up in the BT Tower, the London Festival of Architecture offers an amazing programme that is diverse, informative, thought-provoking and fun.

Highlights include:

  • The Grow Store: an interactive urban gardening installation by The Edible Bus Stop at The Building Centre, Store Street, and a focus for events and talks.
  • Architecture – You Ask the Questions: Razia Iqbal hosts an Any Questions style event, hosted by the Royal Academy at the Royal Institution with panellists including Stella Creasy MP.
  • Papers: a one day festival of refugee culture and design at the Barbican, organised by the Architecture Foundation.
  • Open Studios: over 50 practices across London open their doors to the public. Practices include Stirling Prize holders AHMM, who are hosting a taster event for aspiring young architects.
  • Architecture on Screen: a series of screenings at the BFI, telling the story of the built environment’s portrayal through TV documentary.
  • Newport Street Gallery tour: Peter St John (Caruso St John) will lead a tour of Damien Hirst’s gallery, housing 3,000 pieces of the artist’s work.
  • Open Garden Estates: Architects for Social Housing hosts tours of some of the beautiful green spaces and private gardens at the heart of many London council estates.
  • Man About the House: Australian comic turns architectural icons – from Erno Goldfinger’s 2 Willow Road to the BT Tower – into venues for comedy and music.

As London welcomes Sadiq Khan as its new Mayor, the London Festival of Architecture makes a serious point too, as the city faces an unprecedented period of change. In the face of pressures on housing, public services and public space, the London Festival of Architecture demonstrates communities’ enthusiasm to engage with their surroundings and the built environment. By providing outlets and giving them a voice, the London Festival of Architecture allows people to have a say on the future of their neighbourhoods and London as a whole.

Themes being explored through the London Festival of Architecture programme include:

  • Housing renewal and regeneration: what are the critical ingredients to create successful new communities? A panel discussion by leading architects and policy-makers at King’s Place will examine 21st-century placemaking.
  • Creative workspace: how are architects responding to new ways of working, by designing for working communities? Co-working and Co-Living is an exploration by The Trampery of the shift towards communal workspace, while Bow Arts’ Breaking Down Walls will highlight new approaches to artistic workspace in East London.
  • Community engagement: how can individuals and neighbourhoods have a greater say in new development? With Dreamers of Builders? at the South London Gallery, artist Rebecca Davies’s alter ego Mavis Davis shows how the arts can bring communities together to discuss housing justice and diminishing social space.

Patricia Brown (Chair, London Festival of Architecture) said:

“Much of London’s character comes from its position as a successful and forward looking global city, forged from its mosaic of different communities. It’s so important to maintain this character, especially as London continues to grow. Architecture and architects have much to bring to this – in the physical manifestation of future developments, and by shaping conversations and processes. I am delighted that this is at the fore of a broad and exciting line-up for the London Festival of Architecture 2016. We are looking forward to welcoming people to a month of provocative, informative and entertaining events across the capital.”

Paul Karakusevic (Partner, Karakusevic Carson Architects) said:

“The London Festival of Architecture positions itself at the heart of the architectural dialogue in June, and has curated a wonderful series of events and projects that celebrate the notion of “community”, with a bespoke programme displaying best practice and innovation across London. Against a tide of commercial projects, a groundswell of community focused schemes are subtly changing London, tapping into a latent desire to improve the city and restore civic pride.”