West London Open Studios

LFA’s second hub weekend saw the studio openings of West London practices. The variety of activities led to an exciting weekend of architectural discovery. 

The RIBA Incubator open studio treated us to the work of 10 dynamic, young and emerging practices. All based in the RIBA’s affordable workspace, which offers the architects in-house training and business mentoring. The practices’ work was incredibly varied, with models and drawings on display from a multitude of different sectors and scales. A great insight into the future of architecture, drawn by visions to shape the space we live and work. Maybe these emerging practices will the larger practices of tomorrow. 

The open studio experience at Studio McLeod was truly unique and uplifting. 
A 25-minute personal architectural therapy session, Duncan and the team took you through their simple and effective process, capturing your personal perspective of happiness, to help create a vision of your perfect day. The session was a reflection of the practice’s approach to working with their clients - to simply listen, remove any barriers or constraints and open your mind to true happiness with the aim to create beautiful and harmonious architecture. 

Henning Stummel Architects’ admirable commitment to their local area, Shepherds Bush, was reflected in their architectural proposals to improve the area for its residents. With busy roads, heavy traffic, noise and pollution undermining the enjoyment of the existing communal green and severing the area and neighbourhood, tackling this is paramount. The practices’ thoughtful and practical plans to reclaim the Common for residents, with solutions looking to not only improve the experience of Shepherds Bush Common but to also create new and much needed residential space. 

The contemporary workspace and community hub of Farrells on Hatton Street showcased the compelling history and current projects of the practice. The open studio day not only took us on a journey of the practices’ architectural work, with tours from the new generation of Partners, but also reflected upon the inspirational history of the building. Originally a furniture factory, the building had undergone many adaptations over’s its 90 year lifespan. Now, a naturally lit architectural studio, the striking Art Deco factory’s colourful history and personality obviously continue to inspire the Farrells legacy. 

As the clock ticked ‘hungry’, I headed to Fitzroy Square where WATG’s Great Architectural Bake-Off took place. London practices were invited to recreate distinctive yet edible iconic buildings and the judges were on the look out for creativity, realism and (obviously) taste. With architectural masterpieces created in just a few hours. Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and Jestico + Whiles were crowned joint architectural baking champions, for their cakey creations of London’s Millennium Dome and the Santa Caterina Market in Barcelona. 

The weekend activity continued with Rodić Davidson Architects and the celebration of the community and architecture of Pied Bull Yard. Bloomsbury-based artist Albany Wiseman gave an expert drawing class, where both children and adults captured the small central London community and architectural oasis with its charming formation of buildings. The practice within their studio also put on an engaging display of their current proposals and completed projects, which included impressive award winning residential buildings. 

The final stop on the West London Open Studio trail was Robin Partington and Partners. Leo Cripps gave us an insightful and expert tour of the projects. The studio’s energy and culture was inspirational and its collaborative spirit shone through in their work, which ranged from private residential, to city centre master plans, to permanent exhibitions. The studio’s commitment to staff wellbeing and fun was also envious, I will be interested to find out from their ‘Secret Squirrel Team’ where their next outing is to! 

The West London Open Studios trail led me down a path of architectural ingenuity, exploration and epic cakes, making me even more intrigued to visit the East London practices this week from 16 – 19 June. 

Georgie BrownComment