With the rare gorgeous sunshine blessing us in June, who still stays indoors?! Okay, well with the heatwave in London being hotter than Rio, I had to escape indoors to cool myself in front of fans… or air-con if I’m lucky, before I melt.
All in the name of ‘London’s Festival of Architecture’, I was able to escape into private homes, architecture studios, exhibitions and many other architectural happenings in London. With so much going on, I had a difficult time choosing which events I wanted to help at *breaks sweat*.
This year, London’s Festival of Architecture is exploring around the theme – ‘Memory’.
Below are several events that you may have seen me wearing a pink T-shirt for LFA.
Cody Dock Masterplan: An artist and makers community in East London
One of the first events I attended to was the Cody Docks, being in a rather remote part of London, there were hardly any visitors this day. Especially for LFA. The only visitors were curious passer-bys that I grabbed held of and dragged into the exhibition room. Just kidding. They either worked or lived in the area, and was genuinely very curious to know how the Cody Docks will develop and what is currently going on.
The exhibition room shows the masterplan project by PUP Architects through a series of drawings and a scale model of the masterplan. It is now undergoing a grass roots regeneration into an arts and small industries community asset including reopening the dock, developing studio and working space, (a full-size prototype of a container is on site and in use!) gardens and heritage, educational and leisure facilities to open up access to the natural habitats of the River Lea.
Before 2009, Cody Docks was just a dumping ground, now, there are frequent volunteers coming in weekly to help clean the grounds and maintenance. Some jobs require gardening, and others were painting the ships! The local community and school comes in and grows the garden too!
Man About Kew House
Thanks to architecture events, we are given permission to enter private properties which we normally would not be granted access to. Kew House was one of this year’s private homes opened to the public (with a price), but this comes with entertainment aswell! Performed by ‘Man About the House‘, Tim Ross and Kit Warhurst, through comedy and music, we are welcomed into the house.
For a more detailed account with images, read more through my blog entry on ARCHiTRACKER.
Blessed by a gorgeous day of sunshine on a Friday afternoon, and a prime location of the office by the Regent’s Canal, Cullinan Studios opens its doors for the public to wander into their office through a mini-tour and a Pecha-Kucha style presentation of their projects. You can also help yourself to some cakes and drinks too!
There are three levels inside the Cullinan Studio, with the second floor kindly rented out for other creatives to share this space. On entrance, you are welcomed by an exhibition of the Studio’s projects and about the building we are currently in. On the top floor, they had set up a VR (Virtual-reality) space where visitors could explore their new projects.
At 6pm and 7pm, everyone gathers in front of the screen by the exhibition where they held the mini pecha-kucha presentations of their projects including ‘Artist’s house in Brixton‘, ‘A house in Hampstead‘, and ‘BFI Mediatheque‘ and more.
It is always interesting to discover that the people that comes to visit are not always an Architect, or in the design field, but just genuinely interested in what and how other professions worked and how creative their work spaces are! It was a great networking event talking to everyone, exchanging business cards and exploring the studio!
Temple of the Tongue, by Bompas & Parr
Another ‘open studio’ but a self-guided tour! Bompas & Parr are well-known for their creative multi-sensory experiences embracing the senses, especially in the tastes.
So even before entering the building, you were given a piece of paper to stick on your tongue and asked what you can taste… mmm…? Apparently, it is supposed to taste bitter, the intensity of the bitterness depended on yourself, some people on other hand tasted nothing, or, just paper. Whereas, I was that 1% that tasted sweet. Well what can I say, I just have a special tongue with sweet tastebuds! 😛
Grabbing our headphones and ipods, we’re ready to set off on our self-guided tour! The entrance had a display of Bompas & Parr’s sculptures and works, the audio gave a brief introduction and story of the studio.
Going through a series of rooms and the office, my favourite had to be the kitchen where the magic happens! As soon as I slightly opened the door, the smell of sweetness smacked me in the face. At the time I was visiting, they were making diabetes on a cone (basically sticking plenty of doughnuts, cakes, sweets, creams etc) ready for the party tomorrow night, the room was just heaven!
The office itself was an organised creative mess, surrounding the workstations were hanging corals, random creations on shelves, colourful space in general. Definitely a place I can see myself working in!
Before the end of the tour, we were given a choice moulds to make a jelly mould in the workshop! Plenty of architectural options! *cheeky smiles* And then to top of an already amazing tour, we get elderflower jelly to EAT!!! Mmm… my favourite!
Feast on London’s Memory
If you know me, you know I’m a foodie. 😀
Walking along Old Street, you will not miss Constanze Schweda’s (Kirigram) edible window display installation, which today, is open for devouring! *grins evilly*
The installation’s shape is inspired by London’s urban memory by morphing past and present. The layers of the installation is morphed by London’s historical topography and its morphological development, the formation and transformation of human settlement.
Constanze is an architect that now designs furniture, Kirigram’s designs are using only a single sheet of material to cut and shaped into a piece of furniture.
The evening was a relaxed and intimate gathering of Constanze’s invited guests and also for anyone who wished to join us on the sofa eating away the installation. The installation is actually made from rice paper (brings back childhood memories!) with some sherbet lemon on the side if you wanted to (the best combination in my view!).
Executive Talk: Business of Design
Tonight at the top of South Bank Tower, looking over London’s serene skyline yet half hidden behind typical British grey and rainy weather, we are gathered with wine in hand in front of Dezeen‘s Founder Marcus Fairs, BIG‘s CEO Sheela Søgaard, Zaha‘s Global Head of People & Talent Caroline Roberts, and Design Haus Liberty Founder Dara Huang for a panel discussion on leadership & talent cultivation in the design industry.
The evening was an interesting an hour and half discussion between Marcus and the ladies, hearing the stories of how they each entered the companies they were working for, what they considered of the work culture in architecture firms, the gender differences in offices, keeping their employees happy, how the founders have influenced the culture in the office, understanding the financial side of business and keeping it running, how the businesses grew and how to handle it all, plus many more topics that we was not taught in Architecture school.
It was definitely a fruitful night, taking home with us tips and advice given by top growing architecture firms on how to run a business! Definitely a key ingredient us Architects lack!
25 years of Open House
As we all know, Open House is one major event of the year for all architecture-enthusiasts to queue hours in front of buildings that are not normally opened to the general public. And for FREE.
This evening, the Open House team has listed the Top 25 buildings in a mini-exhibition, and held a small informal talk. With some finger snacks and drinks, everyone was chirping about which buildings they have visited and which they could not due to the queues!
Amongst the top 5, we could already guess which building won that No.1 position… and that goes to undoubtedly, Fosters and Partners‘ 30 St Mary Axe (aka The Gherkin). Following on are 2. St Paul’s Cathedral by Christopher Wren, 3. St Pancras Station and Renaissance Hotel by George Gilbert Scott (one of my favorite buildings!), 4. The Shard by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, 5. Barbican by Chamberlin Powell and Bon,
The list continues on to 25, ranked no.6. Lloyd’s Building by Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, 7. Houses of Parliament by Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin, 8. Foreign and Commonwealth Office by George Gilbert Scott, 9. BT Tower by Eric Bedford and G.R. Yeats, 10. Royal Festival Hall by London County Council and Allies and Morrison, 11. Tower of London by William and Robert Vertue, 12. Battersea Power Station by Giles Gilbert Scott, 13. 2 Temple Place by John Loughborough Pearson, 14. King’s Cross Station by George Turnbull and Lewis Cubitt and McAslan and Partners, 15. Sir John Soane’s Museum by John Soane, 16. City Hall by Foster and Partners, 17. National Theatre by Denys Lasdun and Partners, 18. Royal Albert Hall by Henry Young Darracott Scott and Francis Fowke, 19, The Leadenhall Building (aka The Cheesegrater) by Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, 20. 55 Broadway by Charles Holden, 21. Banqueting House by Inigo Jones, 22. Senate House by Charles Holden, 23. Guildhall by George Dance, Sir Horace Jones and Giles Gilbert Scott, 24. Trellick Tower by Erno Goldfinger, and finally 25. Royal Courts of Justice by George Edmund Street.
Through the whole top 25 list, I have probably only been to about 5 *hides in shame* but for Open House, I am more keen on private homes or artists’ studios etc! (less queuing time!) so I have visited more buildings!
Which buildings have you been to? and which is your favourite building in London?