AOR Unveils Floating Platform for the London Wildlife Trust

Courtesy of The Finnish Institute in London / Architecture Foundation

The Finnish Institute in London and The Architecture Foundation have unveiled Viewpoint, a floating platform on Regent’s Canal in the centre of Camley Street Natural Park, London. Designed by Erkko Aarti, Arto Ollila and Mikki Ristola of Finnish practice AOR, the platform will be operated by the London Wildlife TrustThe permanent structure is intended to bring visitors to London’s most central nature reserve, connecting them with the wildlife of the park and the Regent’s Canal. In addition, it will also provide the park with an additional workshop space and learning facility, becoming “an architectural focal point of King’s Cross.”

Exploration Architecture: Designing with Nature

The Sahara Forest Project. Courtesy The Sahara Forest Project Foundation

In February 2014, The Architecture Foundation will present Exploration Architecture: Designing with Nature, the first ever solo show of Exploration, a thought-leading architecture and design practice working in the field of biomimicry.

A striking 3D printed installation will showcase a selection of four projects and prototypes from the studio’s cutting-edge research on sustainable, nature-inspired design, including two new, previously unpublished designs. Study models, sketches and specially commissioned short films introducing Exploration’s projects will be presented alongside a myriad of natural specimens that inspired the designs – offering unique insight into the studio’s practice of learning from nature in order to deliver future-facing solutions for architecture, systems design and materials production that address the major challenges of our age.

The Architecture Foundation Presents: Three Conversations on “Culture + Commerce”

© Max Creasy

Having wrapped up their three part series And the Winner is…?, The has launched another trio of evening discussions, this time around the ever-encroaching commercial values which are increasingly threatening cultural venues in . The series, entitled Culture + Commerce, will explore how culture can fight against commercial homogeneity in the face of reduced public funding.

‘Futures in the Making’ Exhibition

© Chang-Yeob Lee The Synth[e

Opening October 4, The Architecture Foundation in London is delighted to present ‘Futures in the Making,’ a group showcasing prospective architectural futures explored in the work of recent architecture graduates. From spectacular pollution capturing facades to innovative agrarian settlements, projects will include a global range of case studies that test new ideas for architecture and infrastructure by a rising generation of architectural talent. The will be on display until November 13. For more information, please visit here.

“If you Build It, Will They Come?” – The Architecture Foundation Discusses Cultural Centers’ Impact on Cities


The considerations regarding urban regeneration are far and wide. From the reuse of derelict infrastructure – like WORKac’s project in St. Petersburg’s New Holland Island - to the master-planning of cultural communities – like the design of Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi - to the development of an entire districts – like Foster + Partner’s for the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong – the design of cultural centers that range in program, function and attraction have been a keystone in redeveloping the cultural impact of cities.  The “Bilbao Effect” is still cited as proof that architecture has the capacity to revitalize cities centers and elevate their status in global design with these “architectural trophies“.  If you Build it, Will They Come?: New Cultural Projects in Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong and St Petersburg is a talk, organized by The Architectural Foundation that explores the relationship between grand urban cultural projects and the developmental strategies that are unique to each city.  The discussion focuses on presentations from designers of the aforementioned projects in an effort to find both the specific relationships that exist between development and the site as well as the general understanding of how cultural centers thrive and revive the urban environment.

More on each project after the break..

Open Call 2013: AF Project Space

We Made That in residence – image © Max Creasy

The Architecture Foundation recently launched their annual international Open Call for innovative independent exhibitions and installations for its central London Project Space. Intended as an incubator for independent positions and architectural experimentation, projects selected through the Open Call will punctuate the AF’s ongoing curated program. This program, competitively selected through a jury process, will give space to individuals or organizations to activate the AF Project Space as a testing ground for modes of and 1:1 scale spatial experimentation, an open studio, a public residency or other diverse formats. The foundation’s recent initiative, ‘We Made That’, was a project selected through the 2012 Open Call. The deadline for submissions is May 10. For more information, please visit here.

And the Winner Is… Competitive Advantages?

Kengo Kuma’s competition winning design for the V&A at Dundee. Courtesy V&A.

Architectural may be regarded as an opportunity or a burden. There are numerous architectural practices that have gained significant attention for their submissions and winnings in highly publicized , but the reality is that architectural are expensive and do not guarantee reward. And yet, they are an opportunity to engage in a critical dialogue about the projects at hand, and may be approached with more creative and imaginative risk than when working directly with a client, which is probably why they are so popular and numerous.  They are also an opportunity to bring the public into conversations about architecture in the public forum. These are just some of the considerations that The Architecture Foundation hopes to tackle in its new series, “And the Winner is…?“.

Throughout 2013, The Architecture Foundation will be hosting a three-series of critical and polemic explorations into the culture of architecture awards, competitions and festivals.  The first in the series, “Competitive Advantages” will be a discussion considering the nature of architecture competitions and their advantages and disadvantages as they pertain to the clients and the public, established architectural firms and emerging practices.

The Architecture Foundation and We Made That Launch “The Open Office”

Courtesy of

The Architecture Foundation has recently launched a month-long initiative named The Open Office. The scheme, which is described as “part ‘Citizens Urban Advice Bureau’, and part functioning practice” is the brainchild of -based practice We Made That  and will take place in the offices of The Architecture Foundation in Southwark, London until 22nd March. Operating on a walk-in basis, and displaying all work openly, The Open Office aims to engage and educate local communities on issues of architecture, urbanism and planning.

Read more about The Open Office scheme after the break.

Duggan Morris to Design the New Floating Cinema

Duggan Morris Architects, Winning design for the Floating Cinema Competition, A Strange Cargo of Extra-Ordinary Objects, 2012

and has announced Duggan Morris Architects as winner of the Open Architecture Challenge to design the next phase of the acclaimed Floating Cinema project. This project has been commissioned by the Legacy List with corporate partner Bloomberg as part of the Bloomberg East series of artist-led programs to animate the waterways in East London working in partnership with the Canal and River Trust.

Continue after the break to learn more.

Akihisa Hirata: Tangling

Akihisa Hirata: Tangling © Daniel Hewitt

Presented in an “interwoven tangle”, Japanese architect Akihisa Hirata has revealed his view of architecture and ecology, along with form and function, in his first ever international solo exhibition at the in . Now on view, the immersive 1:1 scale installation – “a contorted loop” – display’s over a hundred study models and conceptual sketches, an interview with the architect, and intimate films of based on his projects.

The exhibition opened shortly after Hirata’s receipt of the Golden Lion award at the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale for his contribution, with Kumiko Inui, Sou Fujimoto and Naoya Hatakeyama, to the Japanese Pavilion, curated by Toyo Ito.

Continue after the break for more. 

A Bureau Spectacular spectacular, one week from today!

Cartoonish Metropolis - Courtesy Jimenez Lai

One week from today, Chicago-based architecture practice Bureau Spectacular will transforms The ’s Project Space into an inhabitable installation and a graphic sequence of imaginary worlds, through the studio’s trademark mixture of built structure and cartoon. Founded by emerging architect Jimenez Lai in 2008, is a studio of architectural affairs, who describe their strategy as one of making “absurd stories about fake realities that invite enticing possibilities”. Fascinated by the interplay between storytelling and building, absurdity and speculation, weave architectural design and theory into comic strips that pop from the page into the real world as installations and small buildings.

Jimenez Lai: “This installation – Three Little Worlds – is a cartoonish blow up of a fragment inside the Cartoonish Metropolis. It is a comic book someone can walk into, a window into another reality.”

Continue after the break to learn more.

Design Competition: Floating Cinema 2013

Courtesy of Nina Pope

UP Projects and The Architecture Foundation have announced an Open Call to architects and designers for the 2013 design of the Floating Cinema Project that will cruise the waterways of East London.  The design is a followup to the Floating Cinema project of 2011, designed by Studio Weave, a scheme launched by UP Project’s Portavilion series for innovative temporary public art spaces with artists Somewhere (Nina Pope, and Karen Guthrie).  The competition will be held in two stages. A pre-qualification questionnaire should be submitted by each entrants (or group), due by 4pm on June 26th.  UP Projects and will then select four practices to develop and design the Floating Cinema in response to a brief. More on the competition after the break.

‘SHIFTS: The Economic Crisis and its Consequences for Architecture’ Exhibition

Powerhouse Company, Bubbles (2012). Courtesy Powerhouse Company / Christian van der Kooy

‘SHIFTS: The Economic Crisis and its Consequences for Architecture’ is an currently on display until June 9 at The Architecture Foundation in . Presented by Rotterdam/Copenhagen-based Powerhouse Company and critic and architectural historian Hans Ibelings (the Architecture Observer), the exhibit illustrates the far-reaching impacts of new economic circumstances on architecture’s recent past, troubled present and unknown future acknowledging the onset of an imminent housing crisis in London, and the continuing shrinkage of the architectural profession in the UK. More information on the exhibition after the break.

P.E.A.R. (Paper for Emerging Architectural Research) Event

Courtesy of

For one night only on October 26th from 7:00-8:30pm, P.E.A.R. (Paper for Emerging Architectural Research) will be performing live for an evening of readings, discussions and performances at The Architecture Foundation in .

P.E.A.R. is an exciting new architectural fanzine, presenting work from a variety of contemporary architectural practices, researchers and individuals working in Europe. P.E.A.R. aims to re-establish the fanzine as a primary medium for the dissemination of architectural ideas, musings, research and works. Through its presentation of a wide range of architectural discourses, P.E.A.R. seeks to present the complexity and variety of contemporary architectural practices

inmidtown Habitats New Design Competition

Courtesy of

The Architecture Foundation is pleased to be running a new open and international competition that calls on design teams to submit proposals for urban beehives, bird/bat-boxes and planters.

The competition is being organized by The AF on behalf of inmidtown, the business improvement district for the central London areas of Holborn, Bloomsbury and St. Giles. The competition calls for submissions that offer distinctive yet functional designs that help enhance biodiversity in this urban context. It is envisaged that the winning proposals will be mass-produced and installed in a variety of sites across the inmidtown area. More information on the competition after the break.

‘Just the Flip Side of the Wall: Post Works at the AF’ Exhibition

Courtesy of Post Works

For their inaugural show, Just the Flip Side of the Wall, Melissa Appleton and Matthew Butcher (Post Works) will create a new environment within The Architecture Foundation’s Project Space that will act as a frame for a series of events that explore the relationship between architecture, the city and performance.

The exhibition, which takes place from September 30th to October 29th, will be an extension of Post Works’ recent works Stage City (part of The Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition) and No Stop Statue Machine, a film that presents a world where buildings weep, infrastructures conduct people’s thoughts and staircases become machines for endless exercise, recently shown at the ICA, London. More information on the exhibition after the break.

20 Houses: A New Residential Landscape – The 2011 Wallpaper* Architects Directory at the AF

Concept render courtesy Speirs + Major

The annual Wallpaper* Architects Directory, now in its twelfth year, provides the ultimate little black book to the world’s most promising young practices. For this year’s Directory, Wallpaper* selected twenty studios from around the world. Each was given an open brief to design the ultimate rural retreat. These twenty houses were designed to be flexible and functional, but also formally and technically innovative, sitting on an isolated countryside site. The only sanction was the need for the homes to touch the ground lightly, with minimum disruption to the landscape.

This exhibition, in The ’s Project Space, unites the featured architects, showcasing all twenty bespoke homes in a single show; a swirling, imaginary topography, designed by emerging UK-based practice Naja de Ostos, who conceived the installation as a blossoming abstracted landscape. Selected highlights of the Wallpaper* Architects Directory and the full list of twenty practices will be revealed in the magazine’s July 2011 issue, and featured in full on wallpaper.com from the exhibition’s opening day.

As part of the exhibition programme, Wallpaper* and The Architecture Foundation have invited a selection of the practices from the 2011 Directory to take part in a series of talks, using the theme of built/unbuilt to explore the relationship between real world commissions and the ideas and approaches that arose out of the open brief for the Directory commission.

The exhibition will run from June 9 to July 14. The talk dates are June 14 and July 5. For more information, including ticket, please click here.