For five weeks this summer the London Festival of Architecture will see the capital buzzing with events, installations and exhibitions that celebrate the fabric of our city. This year’s festival promises to be bigger and better than ever with more than 300 events taking place between 20 June and 20 July. Five hubs in north, south, east, west and central London are hosting extensive programmes that will appeal to all ages. Here we pick the cream of the crop.
South Bank, SE1
The South bank will become a pulsating hub when cultural institutions along the Thames welcome visitors beyond standard opening hours.
Activities including films at the BFI Southbank, live installations at the National Theatre, dance performances at the Toby Paterson-designed pavilion in Potters Fields and artists’ films in the H-box, designed by Didier Fiuza Faustino, at Tate Modern.
20 June to 20 July
More than 25 embassies will be hosting exhibitions, installations, events and debates throughout the festival. Not only can you check out exciting developments in cities across the world, you will also be able to peek inside historical embassy buildings that are normally out of bounds to the general public.
If you are a foodie or a history buff get yourself down to Cheapside. “Cheapside is London’s oldest shopping street. It started trading in 60 AD and is the focus of the City’s new plans to become a seven-day-a-week retail centre,” says Peter Murray, director of the London Festival of Architecture. “The Cheapside Day will recreate a medieval fair, with jugglers, stiltwalkers, musicians and more,” he says.
Urban treasure hunt
South Bank and Southwark hub
A brilliant way to explore Southwark’s architectural secrets, the urban treasure hunt will weave its way past old railway arches and iconic cultural landmarks as well as events connected to the festival. Teams of up to four people receive an illustrated map of the area. You then solve the clues and take digital photos as answers. Prizes abound. Advanced booking is essential.
From 3 July
Lectures and talks
The 2007 Stirling Prize winner, David Chipperfield, will be delivering this year’s headline lecture on 3 July at Friends House in Euston. Or, listen to outspoken speakers, such as Janet Street-Porter and Jon Snow, at the Big Breakfast events run by Blueprint magazine throughout the festival.
Tickets must be booked in advance for both events.
Party on the Green
6pm to 11pm, Clerkenwell Green, EC1
Hugh Cornwell, previously of The Stranglers, The Blockheads and various DJ’s and dancers are providing free entertainment.
* For details of events and to book tickets visit www.lfa2008.org, or call 020 7436 8625. Or visit the NLA at The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, W1, during the festival.
LFA riverboat service
A festival riverboat service will be connected to the five “hubs”. Boat tours and events will also be run along Regent’s Canal. For more information, visit www.refreshregentscanal.co.uk.
Guided cycle routes
Jump on your bike and explore the city from a unique perspective. A programme running throughout the festival encompasses tours tailored to specific themes from housing to sport and waterways to subterranean.
The Hub Spoke ride offers a serious workout, taking participants across all five festival hubs. Weekend Hub Rides are tailored more towards family groups and those with a general interest in architecture, while fast After-Work Rides are geared towards cycling and architecture enthusiasts.