London Festival of Architecture 2023: Celebrating Urban Design and Community

Introduction to the Festival

The London Festival of Architecture, scheduled to run from June 1 to 30, is a celebration of the city’s architectural diversity. This year’s theme, ‘In Common’, promises to explore the concepts of community, equity, and sustainable resources through a series of walks, talks, screenings, and street installations.

Accessible Spaces for All

The festival’s headline installation, Seats at the Table, is a collaboration between Re-Fabricate waste collective and the DisOrdinary Architecture Project. This inclusive initiative aims at creating symbolic street furniture at Postman’s Park near St. Paul’s, designed by a group of disabled and non-disabled artists and architects, promoting accessibility and inclusivity in public spaces.

Architecture through the Lens

Jim Stephenson’s short film, The Architect Has Left the Building, is a study of how architecture serves its inhabitants. The film, which uses 14 iconic buildings as its backdrop, offers a unique perspective on the life of a building after the architect’s role is fulfilled. It will be screened at RIBA Architecture Gallery from June 5.

Behind the Scenes with Studio Lates

The Studio Lates series offers a unique opportunity to visit some of London’s top architectural studios on the first four Fridays in June. Each studio, located in areas such as Shoreditch, Southbank, and Bloomsbury, will provide its own unique experience. To reserve a place, visit the London Festival of Architecture website.

Revolutionary Seating at the Royal Docks

The Pews and Perches display at the Royal Docks is one of the festival’s most popular public installations. It features innovative seating designs, some made from waste from the Thames, others with feminist designs. While in the area, visitors can also check out The Line, a sculpture trail showcasing works from artists like Yinka Ilori and Laura Ford.

Migratory Memories in Lewisham

The Lewisham Migration Museum is hosting a free all-day festival, including a film screening and exhibition about the black self-build co-operative of Fusions Jameen, and a talk by Edward Adonteng on Brenton Pink, a Windrush-era Jamaican migrant. Attendees can contribute to a Lewisham Memory Map with their own photographs and mementos.

Greening the Streets

A greening installation by Wayward Plants at Holborn Circus is set to transform Fleet Street Quarter into an urban garden. Using a mix of medicinal plants, the installation pays tribute to John Gerard, a 16th-century herbalist, and the area’s printing heritage.

Industrial Giants Exhibition

Margaret Howell’s Wigmore Street store will be hosting an exhibition on Britain’s cooling towers. Documenting the ‘silent, sculptural beauty’ of these at-risk buildings, the exhibition is a collaboration with the Twentieth Century Society and will run from June 3 to 18.

Exploring the Hidden Corners of London

The festival encourages attendees to look at the familiar with fresh eyes, to give buildings more than a simple glance, and to engage in deeper conversations about our built environment. It is a time to celebrate the architectural gems that make London unique and to imagine the future of our city.

A Month of Architectural Wonders

From street installations to studio visits, film screenings to public talks, the London Festival of Architecture offers a month-long celebration of the city’s built environment. It’s a chance to explore London’s architectural heritage, engage with contemporary issues, and envision the future of urban design.