LFA Announces 2021 Theme is ‘Care’

NEWS |

Every year the LFA takes a different theme to inspire its programme of events that brings a vast public audience together with architects, artists and many others to celebrate architecture in London, and to discover how architecture can be a positive force for change in the world’s greatest city.

For the first time this year, we invited our community of event organisers and supporters to propose this year’s festival theme.   Over 30 proposed themes were suggested by our community, with the final selection being made by our Curation Panel.

After much discussion, we’re delighted to announce that our festival theme for 2021 is “care.” .  The theme was proposed by Gonzalo Herrero Delicado, Curator at the Royal Academy of Arts.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing our Curation Panel’s interpretation of our theme, and what they’re looking for in this year’s festival events. You’ll find their thoughts on the LFA Views Pages. You can find our more about running your own event here – and more about our 2021 programme here.

Announcing our theme, LFA Director Tamsie Thomson said:

“How has it taken a global pandemic to help us take stock of what we care most about? A lesson from the pandemic is that we need to find ways to use architecture and technology to reconnect with each other, to build care and empathy.

“For architects, ‘care’ means many things. At a basic level, architects design care buildings from hospitals to hospices, and the profession’s swift response to Covid-19 was inspirational as architects fabricated face shields and portable intensive care units, and adapted existing facilities into critical care settings.

“But what does ‘care’ mean for architects, civic leaders and the public? From inaccessible playgrounds to sometimes outright hostile design, it sometimes seems there’s a distinct lack of care in our built environment. Grenfell shames us as a systematic lack of care and accountability is exposed, while the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent BLM protests highlighted inequalities that are too often built into our cities and surroundings.

“We can do better, and this year’s COP 26 Summit will be an opportunity for our industry to take responsibility and demonstrate its care for future generations through responsible design and environmental leadership. As we look towards a post-Covid world, architects need to help people create a safer and more inclusive built environment, and homes and workplaces that care for people’s work-life balances, and their physical and mental well-being. Regrettably, the profession still has further to travel to care for its own people, by addressing persistent inequalities and exploitation. It is time, as Cedric Price once said, that ‘like medicine, architecture must move from the curative to the preventative’.

“This year’s London Festival of Architecture is a chance to examine ‘care’ in all its forms, and perhaps an exhortation for us all to care more.”

The LFA Curatorial Panel, which will help the LFA team shape the festival programme, includes:

  • David Bickle (partner, Hawkins\Brown and former director of design, exhibitions and Future Plan at the V&A)
  • Will Hurst (managing editor, The Architects’ Journal)
  • Dipa Joshi (partner, Fletcher Priest and Mayor’s Design Advocate)
  • Suzy Klein (BBC Radio 3 presenter, writer and arts broadcaster)
  • Neil Pinder (design and technology teacher, winner of the Teacher of the Year award and regular LFA event organiser)
  • Manijeh Verghese (co-curator, British Pavilion Venice; head of public programmes, Architecture Association; and director, Unscene Architecture)

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