This year’s Architecture Week has the topical theme How green is our space? — and will explore all things sustainable and ecological. In a packed programme of exhibitions, walks and tours, there will be plenty of surprises - from architect-designed birdwatching hides in Battersea Park to architectural tours of London by bicycle. And there will be lots of experts on hand to advise you on making your home a greener, more pleasant place to live.
How green can I make my home?
Discover new ways to save the planet and save on fuel bills with this year's Homes & Property debate at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), chaired by Fay Sweet. Architects and eco-experts, including architects Alan Shingler and Deborah Saunt, will suggest practical, affordable and sometimes ingenious ways to make your home greener. This debate is a terrific opportunity to ask the experts what you want to know, so don't miss out. The event is on Monday 18 June at the RIBA HQ, 66 Portland Place, W1. Entry is free, but booking is essential (see below).
Homes & Property is also sponsoring a debate with the RIBA think-tank, Building Futures, on the theme: This House Believes London is Full. Speakers include architect Simon Alford of AHMM and urban designer Professor Robert Tavernor of the LSE. It takes place on Wednesday 20 June at Building Design Partnership, 16 Brewhouse Yard, Farringdon, EC1. Places are free, but booking is essential; see www.buildingfutures.org.
There will be plenty of help with green issues throughout the week. Eco-expert Dave Hampton will host drop-in sessions in the RIBA's groovy ground-floor café, designed by architect Ferhan Azman, where you will be able to discuss your carbon footprint — take along some recent utility bills and learn how to make savings. Go along on Monday 18 June (1pm to 8pm) and Tuesday 19 June (10am to 8pm).
And on Friday 22 June, also at the RIBA, is a two–hour workshop session entitled Green My Office, which will offer practical advice on making an energy- and waste-efficient workplace.
If you haven’t yet seen the UK’s leading eco-village BedZed, this is the time to catch up. In Sutton, just a short walk from the train station, this benchmark development of homes and workspaces by Bill Dunster Architects is full of brilliant eco ideas. There will be open days and tours throughout the week.
On a much smaller scale, on Saturday 16 June, architect Luke Tozer will show off work under way on his eco-home in Bayswater.
These two projects will be joined by dozens of other award-winning schemes all round the capital that will be open to the public, from the offices of major architecture practices, such as SOM, to the amazing new White Cube gallery in Mayfair and the Siobhan Davies Dance Studios in SE1, where you will be able to watch a rehearsal in progress.
Plenty of the events during the week are family-friendly, but among those activities aimed specifically at children are How Green Is My Space? — a family workshop at the Building Exploratory, NW7, on Saturday 23 June where kids can create an ideal family-friendly park. On the following day Kids Do Green Homes at the Design Museum will encourage architects of the future to try their hand at making a model eco home.
Walks and tours
Take a look at the massive regeneration works under way at King’s Cross with Alan Dein’s walking tour on Architecture Week’s first day, Friday 15 June, followed by Peter Murray’s cycle tour on Saturday 16 June of London’s best utopian social housing from the 1960s.
On Wednesday, there’s an evening stroll along the South Bank with architect Alex Lifschutz, from Hungerford Bridge to the Millennium Bridge; and Edifice and Artifice, a tour of the National Gallery with Rebecca Lyons exploring architecture in paintings.
To complete the week’s events, the Victoria & Albert Museum's RIBA Gallery offers an architecture exploration of the building with Christopher Middleton and a guided tour of its new show celebrating the Royal Festival Hall’s £100 million refurbishment.
Exhibitions during the week include Unfinished, a series of photographs by clients, builders and students working on projects with architect Niall McLaughlin, at the Photofusion gallery in Brixton, plus the six architect-designed birdwatching hides in Battersea Park by designers including Giani Botsford, Nick Stickland and Spacelab.
For Frank Gehry fans, there’s the gala screening of the new Sydney Pollack film Sketches of Frank Gehry on Thursday 14 June in Chelsea (www.curzoncinemas.com), which will be followed on Friday with Pollack and Gehry in conversation at the RIBA.
One of the most surreal offerings of the week will be a 15-minute film called The Games, made with artist Hilary Powell, in which a version of the Olympics is staged on the derelict wasteland in Stratford that is poised to become the 2012 Olympic Park.
How to take part
Booking is essential for many of the events; for more info on times, venues and ticket availability, visit www.architectureweek.org.uk.
Architecture Week (15-24 June) is organised by Arts Council England and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).
Get your free copy of this year’s Architecture Week guide and map (compiled with Ordnance Survey) from Evening Standard news vendors along with the Evening Standard on Thursday 14 June and Monday 18 June.