The 2014 London Festival of Architecture opened this week, with over 200 events running throughout the city in the month of June. This year's theme is "Capital", an intentionally ambiguous theme which allows an exploration of the culture, people, economy and built environment of London. Some of the key topics to be interrogated will be the housing crisis afflicting London and the recent boom in the construction of tall buildings.
Read on after the break for more on the festival and some of its headline events
2014 marks the London Festival of Architecture's 10th anniversary. The festival began in 2004 as the London Architecture Biennale, an attempt at creating an alternative to the Venice Biennale which - while the Venice festival takes a global focus - was intended to turn attention onto the city it inhabited. As this London Architecture Biennale grew popular with the wider public, who took an interest in the architectural issues within their city, the name 'Biennale' was dropped for something which had a wider appeal.
From its beginnings in London's architectural epicentre at Clerkenwell, this year the London Festival of Architecture has expanded with events throughout London. The popularity of the Festival and its continuing expansion show how critical architectural issues are to people in the UK's Capital, and how the festival itself has helped to "transform the perception of architecture from a niche interest, to a vital element of the UK’s cultural, economic, social and financial framework."
A full diary of events can be found here.
Does London Need More Tall Towers?
02 June, 18:30 - 20:30 at Peacock Theatre, London School of Economics, WC2A 2HT
This public debate will focus on the crop of tall buildings set to drastically alter the London skyline. Speakers include journalist Sir Simon Jenkins, policy academic Professor Tony Travers, director of Create Streets Nicolas Boys Smith, and programme director of the World Architecture Festival Paul Finch.
Will Self: On Architecture
09 June, 19:30 - 21:00 at Kings Place, Hall 2, N1 9AG
Will Self, one of Britain's best known writers and a renowned "urban psychogeographer" will give a talk entitled "When Liquid turns to Solid: the Spatialisation of Capital Flows in 21st Century London", about capital in relation to new architecture in the city, followed by conversation with writer and journalist Andy Beckett.
Housing Londoners: Is it just a numbers game?
16 June, 19:00 - 20:30 at Kings Place, 90 York Way, N1 9AG
This debate will take as its starting point the desperate need to house London's growing, changing population, and examine how to achieve the number of new homes required, while creating great neighbourhoods and quality homes that reflect both changing lifestyles and an aesthetic value that London can be proud of.
New Perspectives: A Celebration at Balfron
21 June, 12:00 - 19:00 at Balfron Tower and sites across Poplar, St Leonards Road, E14 0QT
For the International Architecture Showcase 2014 the British Council are bringing ten architects from Austria, Chile, Denmark, Estonia, Iran, Latvia, Nigeria, South Africa, Taiwan and Uganda to the UK to be hosted by London practices. Together the architects will explore the influence of émigré architecture on London, with each collaborative team proposing new ideas for Poplar – the home of Ernö Goldfinger’s iconic Balfron Tower.
Thomas Heatherwick, Dan Pearson & Joanna Lumley: The Garden Bridge Project
26 June, 19:00 - 21:00 at Siobhan Davies Studios, 85 St George's Rd, SE1 6ER
The Death and Life of Great London High Streets
At locations around the city, eight expert-guided visits of recently completed projects will present practical ways to reinvigorate our high streets by working with their existing character and strengths, and offer an opportunity to discuss their future life.