On the rise: London Festival of Architecture tracks the city's nascent neighbourhoods

LFA New Developments One Blackfriars
Developers Berkeley are constructing a new tower designed by Ian Simpson in Blackfriars with 274 homes, a 162-bed hotel, retail units and a public square ‘It will create 200 new full-time jobs on a site that has been derelict for more than a decade,’ says Tony Pidgley, Chairman of the Berkeley Group. Take a tour of the site with architect Ian Simpson, where 90 people are currently at work on the construction, increasing to 1,400 in 2016
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Creating a new community or cultural hotspot from scratch is an extraordinary and huge challenge, especially in an over-developed city like London, where space comes at a premium. But as this year’s London Festival of Architecture highlights, there is a plethora of new and ambitious regeneration projects underway in the capital. Seeking to create new neighbourhoods, in some cases the size of small towns, these new schemes are currently sprouting up in previously neglected pockets of the city.

‘I think it’s important that we create communities, places where people want to live and work,’ says Tony Pidgley, Chairman of the Berkeley Group, developers who currently have regeneration projects underway in London’s Blackfriars and Manor House, both of which are being opened up as part of the LFA’s programme of walking tours. ‘This is what regenerating London is all about - making places people can enjoy.’

The theme of ‘cultural placemaking’ is particularly strong at this year’s festival and is the focus of a talk organised by the Architecture Foundation that examines the locally-led garden city-style development that is planned for Ebbsfleet in Kent. Taking place this weekend, Ellis Woodman Director of The Architecture Foundation and Louise Wyman architect and Ebbsfleet UDC Masterplanning Director are set to discuss how the masterplan is taking shape at the offices of AHMM in Old Street.

For a preview of projects underway in the beating heart of the city, join Transport for London Commissioner, Sir Peter Hendy, who will be driving his restored routemaster around the West End with representatives of London's leading developers. Acting as tour guides for the trip, the developers will highlight the work they are doing across Covent Garden, Regent Street, St James's, Mayfair, Fitzrovia, Victoria and Kings Cross.

For those interested in the impact that London’s array of new developments will have on the skyline, the Design Council has brought back its sell-out London skyline tour, in which Thomas Bender, the Cabe team’s Lead Advisor for Design Review, explores the skyline’s past, present and future.

At the other end of the spectrum, away from the glossy developments, research group Cass Cities has organized an exhibition and series of walking tours that draw attention to the uncertain future of London’s small businesses; specifically those of the middle Lea Valley (Haringey, Enfield and Waltham Forest), which may be the next to fall victim to the capital’s seemingly insatiable appetite for the new.

LFA New Developments On Site At Woodberry Down

Also in the works from Berkeley is the regeneration of Woodberry Down, a vast north-east London council estate which will make way for 920 new homes as well as student accommodation creating employment for local people in the process. A tour of the development will be hosted by Fletcher Priest Architects and social entrepreneur Simon Donovan who will discuss how the community is evolving after six years on site

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LFA New Developments HM 050615 Panorama

At Berkeley’s recently-completed Goodman’s Fields scheme, sculptor Hamish Mackie has installed six life-size bronze horses which gallop through a water feature

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LFA New Developments Goodmans Fields

Inspired by the site’s previous life as fields for London’s livery horses, the project is an example, Pidgley says, of how art works can create an ‘amazing public realm.’ The development team will be hosting a light lunch and tour of the site to discuss the project

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LFA New Developments Nine Elms On The South Bank Looking East

South of the river, Lambeth and Wandsworth councils’ have teamed with the Mayor of London and TfL as well as city planners, landowners and developers to map out a grand plan for the regeneration of ‘Nine Elms’ - a neglected stretch of river between Battersea and Vauxhall. The mammoth, decade-long project will see the creation of 18,000 new homes and a 1 billion investment in infrastructure. A walking tour led by Robin Hughes of Network Rail this weekend will start at Vauxhall Station and end at the new Damien Hirst Gallery on Newport Street

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LFA New Developments Vauxhall S New Skyline And Revitalised Railway Arches Viewed From Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens

Perhaps the most show stopping component of the new Nine Elms quarter is the 42 square metre Battersea Power Station site, which is being reimagined as a riverside park with 3,992 apartments, three hotels, and more than 250 shops and restaurants

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LFA New Developments The Entrance To The Linear Park Nine Elms

To mark its long-awaited redevelopment, David Twohig, Head of Design and Placemaking for Battersea Power Station; Ian Simpson and Rachel Haugh of SimpsonHaugh and Partners; and Philip Marsh of dRMM will be taking an in-depth look at the design process behind the first buildings and public spaces, set to open in 2016

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LFA New Developments Hammersmith Looking To The Future Furnival View Colour

Another project looking to reconnect the city with its riverside is happening in Hammersmith, where the ageing A4 Flyover, that currently screens the town centre off from its Thames frontage, is being banished to a tunnel below ground. A series of events – in the form of exhibtions, lectures and schools – will be set up around Lyric Square to engage the local community with the project

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LFA New Developments

Examining how these new public spaces in London should look and why they have been designed, in some occasions, so poorly in the past is ‘Never Mind the Bollards’ - an exhibition at New London Architecture that showcases the best public space projects and initiatives in London over the last 10 years. Photography ©Paul Raftery

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LFA New Developments Ubiquitous Unique

Offering a more sceptical view of London’s developments, an installation called 'Ubiquitous Unique' showcases computer-rendered elevations from one hundred recent planning applications across London, challenging claims for the uniqueness of these schemes and highlighting the reality of privatisation of public space -  loss of built heritage, a housing crisis and the fragmentation of communities. Curated by Reclaim London, the show offers hope in the form of proposed ideas for a fairer future

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