London Festival of Architecture 2012

London Festival of Architecture 2012

With the 2012 London Festival of Architecture reaching a crescendo this weekend, we thought it time to bring you the highlights of what has been a fortnight of thought-provoking architectural celebrations. Under the theme of the ’Playful City’ - referencing the impending Olympics, but also appealing to the child within use - this year’s events spanned a variety of ’hubs’ across the British capital.

The first weekend honed in on Southwark, where community events like the Gibbon’s Rent Garden, the Union Street Printing Press, by Public Works, and the Reunion Public House ensured a lively couple of days. Our highlights also included the Architecture Foundation’s gorgeous ’Bureau Spectacular: Three Little Words’, featuring an installation inspired by practice founder Jimenez Lai’s architectural comic strips (on display until the end of August).

Moving on to the City of London hub, we marveled at the future face of the capital, as envisaged by the Developing City exhibition (on until 9 September). Meanwhile, architects competed to create the cleverest and best-looking structures out of cans at the Canstruction event in Canary Wharf. Squire and Partners were deservedly crowned the winners with their gazebo-style structure, incorporating 2,580 cans that were carefully secured in hand-cut wooden inserts.

The London Pleasure Gardens hub had to battle some bad weather, but launched triumphantly regardless a few days ago. Here, visitors can stroll among follies, pavilions and pop ups in the East London park, as well as sit down and relax on one of the pews and perches conceived by architects for the RIBA London competition.

The Fitzrovia and Hoxton hubs also pulled in the crowds. The recently renovated Villa Tugendhat flung open its doors, and architect Harry Dobbs created the imaginative ’Weather - It’s Raining or Not’ collection of parasol-shaped structures. Another witty play on the British weather obsession came in the shape of design studio Troika’s ’The Weather Yesterday’ light installation.

Last but by no means least comes the Kings Cross hub, which will close the festival with a bang this weekend. David Rockwell’s Imagination Playground will make a guest appearance, while Squire and Partners are organizing a picnic over the pavement for visitors. And the recently opened Kings Cross Filling Station, designed by Carmody Groarke architects, will provide evenings of exiting conversation with its series of talks and events.

There is already talk about turning the biannual festival into an annual event. So, here’s hoping London will play host to another inspiring selection of architectural events in the summer of 2013.

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