2021 Festival
2021 Festival
2021 Festival
2021 Festival
2021 Festival

#LFA2021

What makes the LFA unique is that each year our vast programme of festival events is principally delivered not by us, but by a diverse community of passionate event organisers. It’s the breadth and creativity of these organisers that delivers such a varied and engaging programme of events for the festival each June.

We are now delighted to announce our ‘Call for Events’ to be part of the 2021 festival in June. Whether you’ve previously run events for the festival or are thinking about holding an event for the first time – we would love to hear your ideas.

Our theme for the 2021 Festival is ‘care’. We’re particularly looking for events which respond to this year’s theme in new or interesting ways.

Physical and Digital

Since the festival was founded in 2004, we’ve been a truly city-wide celebration of the world’s capital city for architecture. Over the years, our programme of events has included amazing architectural installations, tours, debates, parties, workshops, drawing classes, lectures, architectural cake baking, film screenings and much, much more.

Last year, in the height of the pandemic, we transitioned to run a new digital festival, which helped us engage a vast new audience online. Then in the autumn we held many of our physical events as part of a longer ‘festival season’.

For 2021 we want to harness the best of real-world events with the accessibility of digital. So this June the LFA will be a new hybrid festival including both physical events and digital events – allowing more people to participate in more ways and in more places.

2021 Festival theme:
Care

How has it taken a global pandemic to help us take stock of what we care most about? At a time when technology is both connecting us and dividing us, perhaps the pandemic is showing us that we need to find ways to reconnect with each other, to build care and empathy.

The theme for the 2021 LFA is ‘care’. Through the festival we’ll examine how we can better care for ourselves, each other, our cities and the environment.


Read more about this years theme

2021 Festival
2021 Festival
2021 Festival
2021 Festival

For architects, ‘care’ means many things. At its most basic level, architects design buildings which are used directly for the care of people – from hospitals at the beginning of life, to Maggie’s Centres at the end of life.

Last year, the industry’s response to the pandemic was swift and urgent – from fabricating face shields & portable intensive care units to adapting existing buildings into care facilities.

But what does ‘care’ mean for architects? From inaccessible playgrounds and unsuitable play equipment to sometimes outright hostile design – sometimes it can seem there’s a distinct lack of care in our built environment.

The Grenfell Tower fire is perhaps the most tragic example of not only a systematic lack of care but also of wider uncertainties around governance and accountability of the profession.

But it’s not just the profession. The theme of ‘care’ opens up questions about our civic duty as individuals to care more.

The UK was one of the first major economies to pass laws requiring greenhouse gas emissions to be cut to net zero by 2050. In global cities such as London where population expansion continues to fuel a construction boom, meeting an ambitious decarbonisation plan requires extensive changes across the built environment sector.

In November the UK will host COP 26. Is this our industry’s chance to take responsibility and rethink methods of constructing new and preserving old buildings, neighbourhoods and infrastructure?

Architects should be driven by the practices of care, not only taking into consideration energy footprint or use of sustainable materials, but also how these materials were obtained and their impact on mental wellbeing and physical health of the people using buildings.

The virus too has altered our perception of our urban environment, how we move, meet and interact. One of the main challenges for employers was to provide a safe and healthy work environment, which for many resulted in an immediate shift to working from home.

Architecture as an industry has always been slow in accommodating alternative and more flexible ways of working. Yet it is precisely architects that need to rethink the future of workplace and to find a balance in between prioritising human health and providing spaces for face-to-face collaboration.

The profession too is beset by a long-hours culture, that hardly demonstrates care for our staff. How should the profession better care for its staff?

The murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests have again highlighted society’s widespread lack of care on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender and income inequality.

In June 2020, thousands of architects and designers stood together in solidarity with the BLM movement against racism. But is that enough? Statistics still portray the sector as predominantly white, with men occupying most leadership positions. And while gender and racial diversity within the profession is gradually improving, isn’t there still a lot of work to be done to engage and support all underrepresented groups across the sector if we are to be a caring profession?

Isn’t it time, as Cedric Price once said, that “like medicine, architecture must move from the curative to the preventive.”

This year’s LFA is a chance to examine ‘care’ in all its forms. And perhaps an exhortation for us all to care more.

Interested in running an event?

The LFA exists to democratise the discussion around architecture and our city. Holding your own event is a great way to be part of a powerful group of people shaping the discussion around our built environment. You might be an architect, community group, artist, student, residents group, film maker, photographer, passionate individual, politician, local authority, developer, designer, tour guide or from any other background – we want to help you put on an event!

Find out more