The London Festival of Architecture has always proved to be a platform for vigorous debate – both about our theme and about wider issues affecting London. On our Views Pages we give space to a range of contributors including industry leaders, curators, academics, politicians and other less-heard voices to express their views and ideas. These are their opinions and not necessarily those of the Festival. We hope you find them in equal parts inspiring and challenging.

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Manifestos: Architecture for a New Generation No. 6

  • In an exciting collaboration with the Design Museum, ‘Manifestos: Architecture for a New Generation’  highlights the work by 10 emerging voices in architecture, who have each been nominated by established names in the profession, for their impact on shaping a new future for London. Responding to the defining challenges facing young people in London today, this new generation of architecture voices pushing the boundaries of what architecture can be, who London is for and what its future holds.
  • In a series of visionary manifestos, the chosen 10 share alternative visions for the capital’s urban landscape, prioritising collaboration, dialogue, learning and action in response to the real material and social conditions of a city in flux. Check back every Wednesday and Saturday for more.

 

Pricegore (nominated by Tamsie Thomson)

Facades are the making of the city. They are the threshold between interior and exterior and often between public and private. They are fundamental to the identity of the institution, the business, the family, and the city itself. But in current times facades are neglected -constrained by simplistic planning policy, diminished by design & build, overlooked by critics, and subsequently illegible and irrelevant to the public.We propose a rejuvenation of the facade. We make no claim for any historic style, or any particular material -we appreciate the richness and variety that London has developed over the centuries, but want facades that are relevant for today. We believe better facades do not need more money -they just need more purposeful and skilful intent. We would like to see contemporary facades that communicate, and enhance the city for all. We propose that facades can be radical, not in terms of technology, but in terms of redefining civic beauty and meaning.

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Manifestos: Architecture for a New Generation No. 5

  • In an exciting collaboration with the Design Museum, ‘Manifestos: Architecture for a New Generation’  highlights the work by 10 emerging voices in architecture, who have each been nominated by  established names in the profession, for their impact on shaping a new future for London. Responding to the defining challenges facing young people in London today, this new generation of architecture voices pushing the boundaries of what architecture can be, who London is for and what its future holds.
  • In a series of visionary manifestos, the chosen 10 share alternative visions for the capital’s urban landscape, prioritising collaboration, dialogue, learning and action in response to the real material and social conditions of a city in flux. Check back every Wednesday and Saturday for more.

 

Space Popular (nominated by Eva Franch i Gilabert)

 

Recent developments in virtual technologies increasingly point to the possibility of a three-dimensional future for the Internet, persistently mapped over the entire planet. The inhabitable internet might eventually become a collective place for all humans to live, work, and play. Based on this assumption, what will the spatial internet look and feel like? How should we value it? How do we make it fair, safe, and equal for all? Who—if anyone—will own and govern it?

In the context of the immersive, inhabitable Internet, the role of the architect is ambiguous and their responsibilities remain unclear. One does not need an architect to construct physical spaces, nor to construct the two-dimensional graphic worlds we now inhabit. Will we need architects to conceptualise and construct three-dimensional virtual spaces? In short, should the essential role of the architect evolve faster, and sooner, than it has ever been required to before?

We see an urgency to formulate possibilities and principles for how our future digital lives—blending our intellects, emotions, and bodies— communities, and values, will be shaped.

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Manifestos: Architecture for a New Generation No. 4

  • In an exciting collaboration with the Design Museum, ‘Manifestos: Architecture for a New Generation’  highlights the work by 10 emerging voices in architecture, who have each been nominated by  established names in the profession, for their impact on shaping a new future for London. Responding to the defining challenges facing young people in London today, this new generation of architecture voices pushing the boundaries of what architecture can be, who London is for and what its future holds.
  • In a series of visionary manifestos, the chosen 10 share alternative visions for the capital’s urban landscape, prioritising collaboration, dialogue, learning and action in response to the real material and social conditions of a city in flux. Check back every Wednesday and Saturday for more.

 

Chris Hildrey (nominated by Justin McGuirk)

 

In the creative industries, architecture stands alone for the degree to which it’s imposed upon those who use it. We get to decide the products we buy and the clothes we wear but the experience of those places we live, work, wander, and dwell is typically determined by an accrued legacy of prior decisions.

This gives rise to an implicit duty on those who shape the built environment: that they do so in a way that protects the interests of those who live in it and prevents the marginalisation of those who face its effects most acutely. But there is also opportunity: addressing this concern requires non-traditional models of practice. By looking beyond buildings and unbinding its interventions from the medium of their result, the profession has the potential to create a more appropriate and impactful city for those due to live with them.

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The Passage on Boundaries

 

  • The Passage is a charity based in Westminster that supports people who are street homeless or living in insecure accommodation. In this piece they explore how they help homeless people transform their lives and overcome the boundaries of homelessness.

 

The mission of Passage is to provide resources to encourage, inspire and challenge homeless people to transform their lives. We provide a lifeline to those that have fallen on hard times, offering health, emotional support, employment and accommodation solutions which enable clients to end their homelessness for good.

 

The sad reality today is that the UK is in in the midst of a housing crisis and The Passage’s services are in higher demand than ever before. The lack of access to affordable housing, ongoing cuts to social care budgets and welfare reform have severely hit the most vulnerable in our society. The most visible sign of this is the alarmingly high number of people who are street homeless. For those of us that live or work in London, or have been visiting the city’s incredible architectural sites as part of London’s Festival of Architecture, can’t have failed to notice the lamentable number of people sleeping rough on our streets.

 

Homelessness can happen to any one of us; redundancy, home repossession, a broken relationship, mental illness, violence or abuse can all result in someone losing the roof over their head. Not having a home makes it that much harder to find a job, stay healthy and maintain relationships.

 

Boundaries don’t have to be physical, they can be emotional or psychological; they can be caused by language differences, fear, ignorance, or connected to a person’s mental health. Being separated from familiar communities or people can often feel as though a boundary has been crossed, leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation. For more vulnerable people, forging new connections, building new relationships and settling into new environments is an intimidating process and can be too daunting to face alone, particularly so for people who have experienced homelessness. Many former rough sleepers find that returning to their life on the streets is a less frightening idea than continuing to live somewhere that feels lonely and unfamiliar.

 

 

Home for Good is a London-wide resettlement support scheme. The only project of its kind in London, we recruit and train amazing volunteers who help clients settle into new homes that are often situated in unfamiliar areas. It recognises that homelessness is a trauma, and empowers people to move on by providing help and companionship. The project uses structured befriending and community support to reduce social isolation, build resilience and thereby prevent a return to the streets. Home for Good pairs a client with a volunteer, who will meet for an hour or so each week to chat and get to know the area together. Exploring local activities with friends can be a healing and empowering process, and can make it much easier to meet new people and build a sustainable life away from the streets.

 

Home for Good helps to break down the mental boundaries that can prevent smooth passage into a new community, and in many cases, the experience is as life-enhancing for volunteers as those they are partnered with. Partnerships come together from an organised ‘matching evening’, and are entirely based on chemistry and human connectedness, often creating friendships from two very different backgrounds.

 

There are many inaccurate perceptions relating to those we help in the street community. Home for Good is not just a precious chance to share experiences and deepen relationships with someone new; it’s also an opportunity to dismantle the barriers of ignorance or misunderstanding around this issue, and to spread this learning throughout a society in real need of it. Beneficiaries often have life experiences not far removed from those of their befrienders, be it gaining a qualification or establishing a career, relationship struggles, mental health issues or addictions.

 

‘I really valued the opportunity to befriend somebody that I might not usually have the chance to get to know, to become part of their life and learn some of their wisdom while enjoying each other’s company.’

‘[I enjoyed] being at the coalface and meeting the actual people, understanding their experiences/struggles. The satisfaction I got from that was wonderful, very positive and has been good for my mental health (and has improved my health and wellbeing).’

‘You get to meet people you wouldn’t meet in your own circles. I learn a lot from [my client]; his worldview. We talk about politics, food and recipes a lot.’

‘I would say that this experience has exceeded my expectations and it has been wonderful. [My client] is a positive role model and she helps me just as much as I help her.’

Quotes provided by Home for Good volunteers

 

 

Our work is based on the values and ethos of St Vincent de Paul who believed that vulnerable people needed to be helped by actions, not words. These values are core to all that we do: we strive to be inclusive, and we seek to be a place of hope, aspiration, change and innovation.

 

The Passage believes that in 21stcentury Britain, no-one should have to spend a night sleeping on the streets. Street homelessness should not be inevitable; it is preventable and can be ended. Before Home for Good, only 40% of clients maintained their tenancies; since establishing the programme in 2014, that figure has climbed to 98%. Help us maintain our extraordinary and urgent work.

 

If you want to learn more about The Passage, the Home for Good programme or how you can get involved go to: www.passage.org.uk

 

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Manifestos: Architecture for a New Generation No. 3

 

  • In an exciting collaboration with the Design Museum, ‘Manifestos: Architecture for a New Generation’  highlights the work by 10 emerging voices in architecture, who have each been nominated by  established names in the profession, for their impact on shaping a new future for London. Responding to the defining challenges facing young people in London today, this new generation of architecture voices pushing the boundaries of what architecture can be, who London is for and what its future holds.
  • In a series of visionary manifestos, the chosen 10 share alternative visions for the capital’s urban landscape, prioritising collaboration, dialogue, learning and action in response to the real material and social conditions of a city in flux. Check back every Wednesday and Saturday for more.

 

Joseph Henry (nominated by Asif Khan)

with Priya Khanchandani & Jayden Ali

 

There is the potential for architecture to become more relevant to the citizens of London. Architecture and architects will need to embrace more diversity. It will require the architectural profession shifting into a type of spatial agency resembling a broader architectural culture. Architecture and architects will need to embrace and support more diversity, including both the diversity of practice and the diversity of the practitioners, expanding the worn-out architectural tropes into a more pluralist space for practice and collaboration. The traditional practice of architecture (i.e. the building of buildings) is often slow but the creating of ideas by architects is often not. By architects mimicking the practice of artists in the realms of music, art and fashion and finding lighter and faster experimental ways of improving peoples’-built environment, architecture can start to absorb and contribute to the wider cultural narratives of the city.

 

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Manifestos: Architecture for a New Generation No. 2

 

  • In an exciting collaboration with the Design Museum, ‘Manifestos: Architecture for a New Generation’  highlights the work by 10 emerging voices in architecture, who have each been nominated by  established names in the profession, for their impact on shaping a new future for London. Responding to the defining challenges facing young people in London today, this new generation of architecture voices pushing the boundaries of what architecture can be, who London is for and what its future holds.
  • In a series of visionary manifestos, the chosen 10 share alternative visions for the capital’s urban landscape, prioritising collaboration, dialogue, learning and action in response to the real material and social conditions of a city in flux. Check back every Wednesday and Saturday for more.

 

Stephanie Edwards of Urban Symbiotics (nominated by Elsie Owusu OBE)

 

Architecture and Urbanism is at a crucial turning point. Set within a world undergoing intense social and technological change, the sector must respond and adapt to London’s growing expectations by facilitating new and inclusive ways for life to be experienced.

The real needs of people must be addressed to provide more relevant human spaces. This should be achieved by prioritising user insight through research and targeted engagement of people, providing a flexible vision.

A cross-disciplinary focus and delivery needs to be adopted. We must interrogate the relationship between physical, digital and social spaces to create tailored environments. By responding to behaviours, we can innovate developments in cities.

The future is exciting and provides a critical opportunity to re-invent human connection to the urban fabric, creating unified environments that meet the ever-evolving needs of London’s dynamic population.

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Manifestos: Architecture for a New Generation No. 1

 

  • In an exciting collaboration with the Design Museum, ‘Manifestos: Architecture for a New Generation’  highlights the work by 10 emerging voices in architecture, who have each been nominated by established names in the profession, for their impact on shaping a new future for London. Responding to the defining challenges facing young people in London today, this new generation of architecture voices pushing the boundaries of what architecture can be, who London is for and what its future holds.
  • In a series of visionary manifestos, the chosen 10 share alternative visions for the capital’s urban landscape, prioritising collaboration, dialogue, learning and action in response to the real material and social conditions of a city in flux. Check back every Wednesday and Saturday for more.

 

Alpa Depani (nominated by Pooja Agrawal)

 

 

Architects have all the tools, and the remit, to contribute positively to a London that remains inclusive, safe and sustainable. Increasingly, architects are stepping out of traditional roles and finding ways to cross professional boundaries and to collaborate to meet those challenges. This is good, but it is not enough.

 

Look to the mainstream of the architectural profession and it remains remarkably retrograde on issues of diversity, fair and equal pay and efforts to reduce global warming. If architecture is to look outward and to respond with empathy and intelligence to the issues that our capital faces, from one generation to another, it must first look inward, confronting its own bad habits with a willingness to adapt and change.

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For the love of colour – Visiting Yinka Ilori and Pricegore’s ‘The Colour Palace’

 

  • Ilaria Vignolo is Marketing and Communications Coordinator at New London Architecture. In this piece she shares her first impressions of ‘The Colour Palace’, an installation designed by Pricegore with Yinka Ilori for the London Festival of Architecture, the second edition of the Dulwich Pavilion at Dulwich Picture Gallery. The pavilion is on view until 22 September.

 

“This makes me want to cry… tears of joy” laughs my friend, giving a quick wipe behind her sunglasses. We are stood at the entrance to the grounds of the Dulwich Picture Gallery and have just set eyes on the Yinka Ilori and Pricegore-designed ‘The Colour Palace’, created for this year’s London Festival of Architecture – a huge cubic pavilion painted a rainbow of colours, sitting on four huge cylinder-shaped ‘stilts’ .

 

I had been meaning to visit the gallery for years, but a glimpse at the colossal multi-coloured pavilion on the LFA newsletter, a collaboration between British-Nigerian artist and designer Yinka Ilori and architecture practice Pricegore, followed by a fascinating LFA talk at Shoreditch-based learning network YCN, was exactly the prompt I needed to make the trek down from east London.

 

The talk, ‘Graphic Content’, responded to this year’s LFA theme of ‘Boundaries’ by looking at the fluid, blurring boundaries between graphic design and architecture, two disciplines which have never been more entwined than they are now. A panel of design thinkers including Russell Potterfrom creative studio SODA, Joy Nazzarri of dn&co, Martyn Evans of U+I plus superstar designer and artist Morag Myserscough took turns to share their thoughts on the ways designers shape environments through bold visions and beautiful forms.Coincidentally, Morag was also one of the judges for this year’s Dulwich Picture Gallery LFA pavilion design competition won by ‘The Colour Palace’.

 

Russell Potter raised the question ‘how can designers represent architecture on a 2D surface?’. He used SODA’s own Compton Courtyard Mural as an example, now an Instagram star in its own right; a layered jungle landscape printed on to the façade of their studio, which reflects the hidden garden within the courtyard. ‘The Colour Palace’ exemplifies this beautifully. The structure is inspired by the colourful prints sold in a Lagos market, where the traditional textiles hang, densely layered, from wooden frames. As Ilori points out, it is also very much ‘representative of today’s London’ as it is intended to represent a culturally diverse London and ‘attract a much wider audience to the gallery’. It responds to the LFA’s chosen theme by fusing the boundaries between European and West African traditions.

 

After emerging from a winding bus journey and walk through quiet, residential Dulwich, we are met with a view that feels really quite surreal. In the middle of the manicured gallery’s lawn, we are greeted by an explosion of colour and geometric patterns, bright, bold and eye-catching. People of all ages are exploring the interior of the installation or sprawled around it, engaging in creative pursuits from neon life-drawing painting, stitching a collaborative pattern or interacting with the immersive installations dotted around by students from the Bartlett School of Architecture. The sight breeds an atmosphere of optimism and exudes positivity – no small feat when faced with relentless news of the political climate and climate crisis these days.

 

At ‘Graphic Content’, U+I’s Martyn Evans talked ‘using design to make a temporary space beautiful quickly and totally change the perception of a place’ invoking Morag Myserscough’s magnificent, psychedelic public art installations, which embody her famous mantra ‘make happy those who are near and those who are far will come’. Applying the ‘far’ of this motto to our hour-long commute into the leafy suburbs may be a bit too literal, however I will say that ‘The Colour Palace’ filled me with joy and swelling pride, as a Londoner, to be part of this colourful city. If you like it and happen to have £25,000 to spare, for some magical reason, you may even be able to buy the pavilion after its stay at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. I just hope that, wherever it ends up, it will remain in public view and continue to affect everyone who sees it.

 

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On Apps and Infrastructure

  • In his first essay for our Views section, KB Yeoh explores how apps  are affecting the space between our buildings and how infrastructure is failing to keep up.  KB is an associate and project manager at Jackson Coles.

Deliveroo, Uber Eats & Just Eat- a few examples of the wonderful little digital helpers on those nights when one comes home late with an appetite but to an empty fridge. The couriers on the front line zipping around tirelessly like a modern concierge servicing the city at large helping urbanites smash through boundaries of consumption like never before. Ultra-convenient yet a challenge to the traffic lines of our city’s public pedestrian and retail spaces.

On one such service provider’s website, it pontificates to its riders- “Shopping centres and malls can be extremely busy and tend to be no-cycle zones. When collecting an order in these areas please park your bike safely and securely outside the centre, using cycle stands or other cycle parking facilities wherever possible”.

Take Westfield Stratford for example- If delivery cyclists were to adhere to this, it would be reasonable to estimate that an extra 10 to 15 minutes in some cases would be added to each journey. When a rider is paid not only by the hour but also by the number of deliveries they fulfil, it is no surprise that many have taken the risk of collision – navigating through these busy pedestrianised zones rather than dismount to maximise their delivery results.

The problem is exacerbated by the inadequate number of cycle stands to cater for the demands of this service provider. These cycle stands are positioned at the entrance to the complex and also far away from some of the eateries located deep into the centre itself.

As the food delivery sector becomes more competitive, the problem looks to worsen.  In recent years, spending thresholds have fallen to encourage more orders which in turn will mean more riders racing against the clock. I put the theory to the test and recently ordered a single dipping sauce delivered to my home (Sauce costs 40p with a 50p delivery charge- all in the name of research, of course). Within 15 minutes, an eager and very polite man on his scooter came bearing the fruits of my experiment. I gave the man a generous tip for his trouble and promised not to repeat my belligerence.

So whilst food delivery apps have the ability to broaden the home dining scene, the pressured mind-set of the rider versus the physical infrastructure on our roads, pavements and public realm have yet to adequately follow suit to support the evolution of this urban phenomenon.

 

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Without Walls

For our Views Section, LFA Patron Ft’work presents a series of three, hard-hitting short films, produced in collaboration with Sarah Wigglesworth Architects and community-based organisations. These videos each explore this year’s LFA theme of boundaries.  Each film explores boundaries from the point of view of a particular social group, whose experience reveals where social and physical boundaries collide.

In this first film ‘Without Walls’ captures conversations between women who have served prison sentences, as they share experiences of physical confinement and discuss ‘women’s centres’, the intended replacement for women’s prisons.

The two other videos in the series ‘Regeneration Divide’ and ‘Postcode’ will appear weekly over the next two weeks,