Highlights from the London Festival of Architecture 2013

The British Council's with Atlas of Unbuilt World' installation
The British Council's 'Atlas of Unbuilt World' installation, designed by Pernilla Ohrstedt Studio, is on display at the UCL as part of the London Festival of Architecture 2013.
(Image credit: Tom James)

This has been a year of change for the London Festival of Architecture. Launching in early June, this year's architectural festivities stretch over a whole month (as opposed to 2012's two-weeks), while 2013 also marks the first edition of the festival since it turned annual, setting the whole celebration off to a different pace. 

Added to this, the 2013 festival - orchestrated by a quartet of initiating partners, including the Architecture Foundation, the British Council, RIBA London and the NLA - engages with many of London's cultural institutions that haven't been officially involved before, such as the Design Museum and the ICA. 'This year's festival throws the spotlight on the important role that architecture plays in the cultural life of London, with a programme of exhibitions, talks and events involving 25 organisations,' explains the British Council's Vicky Richardson.

The undercurrent of change can also be detected in several of the displays on offer this year. The Architecture Foundation show focuses on the work of Superuse Studios, promoting a change in our attitude towards material and energy re-use. The British Council's impressive Atlas of Unbuilt World designed by Pernilla Ohrstedt Studio, presents future projects from around the world, offering a glimpse of how the global landscape is changing; you can even 3D-print your project live, courtesy of printing agency 3Dpeasy. And RIBA's Welcome To The Social, created by architecture practice Hawkins\Brown, highlights the transformative effect of life - and design's - social aspect. 

After all 'change' has always been part of the Festival's agenda. The theme was even reflected in the keynote debate organised by RIBA London earlier in the month, entitled 'London Architecture: what would you change?'. 'I'll consider the festival a success if it generates debate and discussion about architecture, deepens our understanding of the subject and makes us think about it in new ways,' says Richardson. 'I also think it's a chance to break down the artificial barriers that often exist between architects, clients, and the public.'

Other Festival highlights include the small yet perfectly formed Lesser Known Architecture show at the Design Museum, created by Elias Redstone, Theo Simpson and Wallpaper's very own Ben Mclaughlin (the latter two form Mass Observation), which brings the cream of London's crop of hidden architectural gems to the spotlight. Open studios, architecture tours (including a bicycle tour of Brutalist London) and workshops are also part of the program. And summer staples such as the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition, the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion (this year by Sou Fujimoto), and the architecture schools' summer shows - including the AA, the RCA and the Bartlett - are back as well.

And while most exhibitions opened during the festival's first week, events will be running throughout the month in both the core program and the fringe. More treats are in store for later too - the Barbican's playfully disorientating Dalston House installation by Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich is not opening till the 26 June - so stay tuned.

The project presents with around the world

The project presents future projects from around the world, offering a glimpse of how the global landscape is changing.

(Image credit: Tom James)

Over 60 models with show in the exhibition

Over 60 models from 40 countries are on show in the exhibition, ranging from a new museum in Turkey to a school in Nigeria.

(Image credit: Tom James)

As part of the activites with British Council exhibition

As part of the activites around the British Council exhibition, visitors can 3D-print a project live, courtesy of printing agency 3Dpeasy.

(Image credit: Tom James)

Festival's key exhibitions with currently on display

'Welcome To The Social', created by Hawkins\Brown architects, is also one of the 2013 Festival's key exhibitions, currently on display at the RIBA.

(Image credit: Sion Palmer)

Architecture practice Hawkins with Brown believes

London-based architecture practice Hawkins\Brown believes that the future of architecture lies in the value of the 'social' aspect of life and design.

(Image credit: Sion Palmer)

The Social marks Hawkins with Brown architects' 25th anniversary

Welcome To The Social marks Hawkins/Brown architects' 25th anniversary.

(Image credit: Sion Palmer)

The Superuse Approach with Design' exhibition

Through their 'InsideFlows: The Superuse Approach to Design' exhibition at the Architecture Foundation, Dutch architects Superuse Studios investigate innovation and sustainability in design.

(Image credit: Max Creasy)

The exhibition shows with Superuse Studio's

The exhibition shows Superuse Studio's ongoing collaborative research with the Inside Masters programme at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague.

(Image credit: Agnese Sanvito)

Playfully disorientating with Dalston House installation

Leandro Erlich's study for his playfully disorientating 'Dalston House' installation, coming up at the end of June. 

(Image credit: Courtesy of the Barbican Art Gallery)

Lesser Known Architecture with Elias Redstone

'Lesser Known Architecture', created by Elias Redstone, Theo Simpson and Ben Mclaughlin, is an exhibition focusing on the hidden gems of London's architecture, such as the Brownfield Estate by Erno Goldfinger (pictured).

(Image credit: Theo Simpson)

The Cabmen's Shelters with Maximilian Clarke

Also in the show are The Cabmen's Shelters, designed by Maximilian Clarke.

(Image credit: Theo Simpson)

The Wellbeck Street Car Park

The Wellbeck Street Car Park, designed by Michael Blampied.

(Image credit: Theo Simpson)

The Stockwell Bus Garage with exhibition Lesser Known Architecture

The Stockwell Bus Garage was also one of the nominations for the exhibition Lesser Known Architecture, presented at the Design Museum.

(Image credit: Theo Simpson)

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director 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), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).