For the second year the London Festival of Architecture has asked its network of event organisers, supporters and followers to suggest a theme for the festival. The proposals were then considered by the festival’s curatorial panel, who selected ‘act’ as a word with multiple meanings and associations that will allow event organisers – large and small, old and new – to produce a rich and varied programme celebrating architecture on London’s public and global stage.
Over the coming weeks we will be publishing a series of viewpoints and reflections upon the theme by the curatorial panel and others, to inspire event organisers’ thinking ahead of the call for entries in January 2022.
’Act’ promises to be a fascinating theme for the London Festival of Architecture 2022 – and in many ways a natural choice as we continue to emerge from the pandemic while facing enormous issues that have never gone away.
After such as long time of enforced passivity, the imperative to act is felt by so many of us, whether we are architects or not, while the pandemic has exposed so many things that need to change. How, for instance, should architecture act in the face of the climate emergency, social injustice and the needs of a changing society? How can architects make their actions felt beyond their profession – how can they be heard more clearly, become more valued or collaborate more meaningfully?
In another sense, architecture can be seen as an act – something that creates spectacle, joy and myriad other responses. As life returns to normal, let’s celebrate architecture’s performative power and its almost theatrical ability to animate our streets and spaces, to inspire us, and of course to enrage us.
As humans our days are filled with everyday acts – for instance acts of kindness, our interactions with friends, families, colleagues and strangers. How does architecture shape those acts? Architecture is more than something that’s there in the background: it acts as an agent in every aspect of our lives that deserves to be explored and celebrated.