Event report: London Festival of Architecture 2010

Shelving, display and dividers
Hy-Pavilion was set up in Park Crescent before being moved to the NLA HQ in Store Street for the rest of the festival
(Image credit: press)

The London Festival of Architecture 2010 has just drawn to a close after two weeks of events in the full swing of British summer. This year's offering was as varied and multi-levelled as ever, featuring emerging student talent, contributions from a myriad of local practices and work from elsewhere around the globe, with the International Architecture Showcase coordinated by the British Council and the Architecture Foundation.

As much as architectural imagination and diversity was an unquestionable protagonist, another clear presence marked this year's festival. Pop-up installations are nothing new - the most famous London example being the 10-year-long Serpentine Pavilion commission series - but their dominant presence during this LFA flagged up their role in the wider public's understanding of the profession, as well as their central position in curating architecture.

This Festival clearly supported the personal and experiential side of architecture. Underlining this was its 'Welcoming City' theme, which saw a plethora of temporary large-scale installations emerge, offering the public not only the chance to look at architecture, but to actively engage in some great examples of three-dimensional spaces.

Most of London's major architectural organisations joined the game. The Architecture Foundation (opens in new tab) not only commissioned an installation for their exhibition space - 'Moss Your City' by Norwegians, Pushak - but also got involved in more, like the Union Street Urban Orchard pop-up garden and the upcoming Jellyfish Theatre by Berlin-based architects Köbberling and Kaltwasser (opens in new tab).

New London Architecture (opens in new tab) took over Store Street crescent with a temporary park, featuring the impressive Price & Myers Hy Pavilion in the middle to provide shade on sunny days and act as a stage for events. Meanwhile, near Trafalgar Square, a solar lift by Matthew Lloyd Architects (opens in new tab), Architecture Inside Out (opens in new tab), Shape and RIBA London (opens in new tab) made its appearance for 15 days at the Duke of York Steps and the Foldaway Bookshop by Campaign Design was fully functioning off Regent Street for the last week of the Festival. Running alongside these and still going today is the V&A 1:1 - Architects Build Small Spaces exhibition, a celebration of the pop-up installation.

Of course this is not to ignore the broad range of other events that were on offer, and all the lectures, tours, exhibitions and competitions that took place during the festival. Our highlights included the beautiful photographic essay '50 Years of London Architecture'; the imaginative Swarming Futures exhibition curated by Naja deOstos' (opens in new tab) practice partner Ricardo deOstos, presenting a snapshot of the present and a glimpse of the future of Brazilian architecture; and the RIBA's active presence behind the Nash Ramblas project and the Forgotten Spaces competition exhibition on show at the Royal Festival Hall (opens in new tab), which explored the idea of reusing London's abandoned spaces. Tours of the NEO Bankside complex offered a unique opportunity for those anxious to get inside the swiftly rising Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (opens in new tab) new development in Southwark. Here, they could admire the playful Tate Modern model made of sugar cubes.

Naturally, Wallpaper* couldn't resist taking part in the capital's largest architecture celebration. Our own exhibition at the New London Architecture (opens in new tab) gallery opened during the festival and will be on show until the 9th July, presenting work produced by the 30 international architects that took part in Wallpaper's 2010 Architects Directory. Partnering with the Festival organisers for LFA's main party that also launched our show, our guests had the chance to admire a selection of illustrations by British graphic designer Andrew Clark (opens in new tab); look through copies of our July issue, displayed on the lovely Hexagon bookstand by Nendo for Quodes (opens in new tab); taste a range of delicious drinks courtesy of Mamont (opens in new tab) vodka; and nibble on treats from the barbeque to the sounds of uplifting music from SOAS. All in all, it was a summer night to remember.

It is true; this year's festival might not have been as long or as big as its 2008 predecessor. In some ways though, it was all the better for it. Combining a manageable-sized program, lots of fun, key architecture issues such as the need for urban green spaces, the Olympic projects and creative reuse of space, while at the same time reconnecting the public with architecture's third dimension and full-scale experience, it proved to be central to the city's perception of our built environment, as well as a great day out.

Designed by London-based engineers Price & Myers

the pavilion provided shelter for talks and presentations, as well as the multitude of LFA visitors who just wanted somewhere shady to sit.

(Image credit: London-based engineers Price & Myers)

Moss Your City

'Moss Your City' pavilion by Oslo-based studio, Pushak 

(Image credit: press)

an urban forest

On entering the cave-like pavilion, visitors were surrounded by an urban forest

(Image credit: press)

The Jellyfish Theatre

The Jellyfish Theatre - London's first fully functioning theatre made from recycled materials

(Image credit: Berlin architects Martin Kaltwasser and Folke Köbberling)

under-construction NEO Bankside complex

A model of Tate Modern made from sugar cubes was on show at the under-construction NEO Bankside complex

(Image credit: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners)

Wallpaper's exhibition at the New London Architecture gallery

Wallpaper's exhibition at the New London Architecture gallery opened during the festival and will be on show until the 9th July, presenting work produced by the 30 international architects that took part in Wallpaper's 2010 Architects Directory.

(Image credit: Agnese Sanvito)

graphic design

Illustrations by British graphic designer Andrew Clark.

(Image credit: Agnese Sanvito)

displayed on the 'Hexagon' bookstand by Nendo for Quodes

Visitors can leaf through copies of our July issue, displayed on the 'Hexagon' bookstand by Nendo for Quodes.

(Image credit: Agnese Sanvito)

The Foldaway Bookshop

The Foldaway Bookshop by Campaign Design 

(Image credit: press)

The bookshop

The bookshop was as an initiative of Claire Curtice publicists 

(Image credit: press)

58 sheets of cardboard

Designed in three weeks and constructed within three days from 58 sheets of cardboard, Foldaway was managed and stocked by RIBA Bookshops

(Image credit: press)

pop-up garden 

The Union Street Urban Orchard pop-up garden 

(Image credit: press)

The garden regenerated

The garden regenerated a disused site in Bankside 

(Image credit: press)

The Swarming Futures exhibition

The Swarming Futures exhibition, curated by Naja deOstos' practice partner Ricardo deOstos 

(Image credit: press)

the future of Brazilian architecture

 The show presented a snapshot of the present and a glimpse of the future of Brazilian architecture

(Image credit: press)

A solar lift by Matthew Lloyd Architects

A solar lift by Matthew Lloyd Architects, Architecture Inside Out, Shape and RIBA London made an appearance for 15 days at the Duke of York Steps 

(Image credit: press)

Reservoir Roofs by Gort Scott

RIBA London held an exhibition called Forgotten Spaces, showcasing the results of the regional competition which invited proposals for overlooked pockets of land in London. First prize went to 'Reservoir Roofs' by Gort Scott - a proposal for the development of existing reservoirs to allow school children and day trippers to connect with the middle Lee Valley

(Image credit: press)

'The Pool' by Scott Brownrigg

Second prize went to 'The Pool' by Scott Brownrigg - a plan to bring the Kingsway Tramway Subway back into use

(Image credit: press)

'Thames Archipelago' by Craft Pegg Limited

Third prize went to the 'Thames Archipelago' by Craft Pegg Limited - a proposal for floating natural habitats at East India Dock

(Image credit: press)

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).