North London Open Studios
The final weekend of the RIBA Open Studio activity saw 14 North London practices opening their doors and giving us an insight into their office culture and variety of architectural projects.
John McAslan + Partners displayed their commitment to new talent with an exhibition of impressive work from the practices’ young and emerging architects. The projects on display were diverse and highlighted the work of an immensely skilled bunch. I was particularly drawn to the work of Aoibhin McGinley, entitled ‘Lighter than Air’, a project exploring the human fascination of inhabiting the sky – exploring architectural fantasy, developing and setting new boundaries.
The Bedford House Open Studios brought together three practices within one building, each with very distinct identities and architectural styles.
Niall McLaughlin Architects showcased work across a range of different building typologies and communicated the practice’s strong interest in the social function of architecture. Exceptionally apparent in their display of the installation that represented Ireland at the Biennale Architecttura 2016 in Venice, which saw the practice collaborate with Yeoryia Manolopoulou to create a large time-based drawing to communicate the changes of spatial perception caused by dementia.
Cousins & Cousins Architects studio space echoed the practice’s architectural ambitiousness and experience, to create functionally pure and fuss-free designs. An envious workspace in which the practice neatly displayed their past, current and future developments - a broad array of designs from thoughtful and adaptive residential projects to vibrant public pavilions.
Also within Bedford House are David Kohn Architects. This innovative studio cultivates design excellence from within their office space, always at the forefront of new materials and construction techniques. With a strategic background in all of their projects, the studio experiment and collaborate closely with a range of individuals.
Pollard Thomas Edwards for their Open Studio partnered with The Floating Cinema, a mobile arts venue commissioned by UP Projects and designed by Duggan Morris Architects. The boat trip helped to connect practices across the North London hub weekend. My journey started at Granary Square, Kings Cross, taking me afloat down the Regent’s Canal Arm of the Grand Union Canal, with an impressive ride through the 878 metre Islington Tunnel, moving slowly beneath London and emerging out on the other side to moor up by PTE’s offices at Diespeker Wharf. An epic conversion space of a Victorian warehouse, that reflects the design ethos of the practice, used on a daily basis throughout their design process and more importantly then successful followed through in many built projects.
All practices involved in the London Festival of Architecture 2016 RIBA Open Studios have generously and enthusiastically opened their doors for us to experience architectural design in a unique way. It has been an absolute privilege to visit studios all across the capital. Moreover, I have been particularly impressed with the communities of practices that have been built up through the hub weekends of activity, the collaborative spirit which over several years has been nurtured and promoted by RIBA is only growing stronger, further fuelling my excitement for LFA2017.