London Festival of Architecture 2014: what not to miss in week one

London Festival of Architecture (LFA), is back for 2014, with over 200 activities that stretch across every corner of London.

Running for the entire month of June, here’s our round-up of the hottest events in week one of this annual, city-wide celebration of the capital’s buildings and landmarks.


Does London Need More Tall Towers?

2 June, 6.30pm, Peacock Theatre

This hotly anticipated debate (hosted by New London Architecture, Centre for London and London School of Economics and Political Science) debates the motion ‘London Needs Many More Tall Towers’. Speakers include Paul Finch of the World Architecture Festival, Simon Jenkins of the National Trust and Evening Standard, Nicholas Boys Smith of Create Streets, Tony Travers of LSE, Rowan Moore of The Observer and Nicky Gavron from the London Assembly.

Open Studios Shoreditch Trail

5 June, various times and venues

RIBA London’s trail of open studios offers behind the scenes access to over 20 practices in Shoreditch, Clerkenwell and nearby areas. Other activities include model-making demonstrations, exhibitions, talks, films and home-brewed craft beer. Participating practices include Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Coffey Architects, Hawkins/Brown, Hut Architecture, Milk Architecture, Say Architects and vPPR.


The Peoples’ Salon: Architecture

02 June, 18:30 House of St Barnabas

Richard Sennett (Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and New York University and founder of Theatrum Mundi) and Charles Holland (who was a core member of FAT- Fashion, Architecture, Taste) debate the importance of conversation between architects, urban designers and the public. The discussion will cover previously proposed public projects such as Ken Livingstone’s 100 Public Spaces programme and different areas of London including the Southbank, Windrush square and Gillet Square.

Looking at London: Yinka Shonibare

3 June, 6.30 pm, Geological Society

Yinka Shonibare MBE RA will discuss with Patrick Wright, how his thought-provoking works have been inspired by his experiences of the capital. This is the first in a series of talks presented by the Royal Academy of Arts at the London Festival of Architecture.

On Ettore Sottsass

3 June, 8pm, Design Museum

Ettore Sottsass, founder of the Memphis Group and creator of radical social housing projects and the iconic bright red Valentine typewriter, is one of the great designers of the twentieth century. To celebrate the publication of a new monograph by Phaidon, Design Museum Director Deyan Sudjic will talk to Sottsass’s widow Barbara Radice, who travels to the UK for this event.

Dream Builders: Moshe Safdie

05 June, 19:00 RIBA

Moshe Safdie is an architect, urban planner and theorist who first came to the world’s attention in his twenties through his ground-breaking ‘Habitat 67’ project – a centrepiece of the Montreal EXPO. In partnership with the BBC, the RIBA brings you an opportunity to direct questions to Moshe Safdie as he is interviewed by Razia Iqbal about the power of architecture, a humane approach to urbanism and more.

Discover London

Capital Views

4 June, various venues, 2.30pm

New London Architecture (NLA) are offering an exclusive tours of several London towers by the very architects that have helped to shape the city. Lucky visitors will go to the top of the Heron Tower with KPF and ARUP, the Willis Building with Foster + Partners, and get the chance to see the historic views from the Balfron Tower and Centre Point.

Road Trips by Routemaster, Stephen Bayley on South London

07 June, 14:00, 20 Grosvenor Gardens

The National Trust is organising Routemaster road trips that offer passengers the opportunity to explore London’s distinctive neighbourhoods and the characters and cultures found in our capital city. Architectural critic Stephen Bayley kicks off the ‘Road Trips’ with his personal architectural highlights of South London.

Architecture on the Thames: Sunset Boat Tour

07 June, 18:30. Meeting point: Festival Pier, South Bank

Open City is organising a sunset boat tour down the River Thames to explore the historic and modern architectural landmarks that help to make the riverfront so architecturally diverse – and London such a vibrant and dynamic city.

Semi Detached Holden

07 June, Meeting Point: Oakwood Station

London Transport Museum presents a series of talks and tours around the city, from architect Charles Holden’s influence on the Piccadilly line in the early 1930s, to the design of Stockwell and West Ham bus garages. The tour will look at how public architecture has responded to the changing needs of an expanding, globalised city.


Kingston University: Degree Show

31 May – 6 June, Kingston University

The 2014 Kingston Undergraduate Degree Show offers visitors a glimpse into the future of art, design and architecture, and a chance to meet this year’s students.

Rainforest installation and exhibition

Until 19 July, Architectural Association

The Architectural Association (AA) brings to London, Rainforest, an installation by Chilean/German GUN Architects, installed in Bedford Square. Rainforest features suspended pyramidal fabric ‘stalactites’ above steel pools and seating areas. Alongside the yearly student summer exhibition, featuring the work of over 650 students, an accompanying exhibition in the main AA Gallery explores the pavilion’s conceptual evolution and technical engineering


29 May – 3 July, Gallery@LR, Lloyd’s Register

Sky.Lines is an impressive collection of urban photography by renowned German photographer Christopher Hauser, which depicts dramatic and complex sceneries of city skylines, including Tokyo, Hong Kong, London, New York, San Francisco, Sydney and Singapore.

Contemporary Danish Architecture

3 – 13 June, Danish Embassy

Arne Jacobsen’s modernist embassy building in Sloane Street hosts an exhibition showcasing some of today’s foremost Danish architects, which also looks at the influence of Danish architecture today as well as in the 20th Century. The Danish Embassy will also host a number of talks and seminar in conjunction with the exhibition.

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