The last day of June saw the end of another successful London Festival of Architecture. Visitors from around the world were treated to around 500 events all around the city, all based in some way on the theme of Identity. Two weeks ago, we shared our favourites so far, and the things we were looking forward to. Well, as usual, various frustrations got in the way and we didn’t manage to catch everything we had wanted to. Such is life. So here is a quick round up of our highlights just to give you a flavour of the festival.
Serpentine Pavilion 2018
Designed by Frido Escobedo, this year’s pavilion draws on the domestic architecture of Mexico, combined with simple, industrial, British materials. Its courtyard design uses interwoven concrete roof tiles to form a celosía – a perforated wall, common throughout Mexico, that allows the breeze, light and a hint of greenery and sunlight to filter into the darker interior. The rectangular courtyard – also common in Mexico City – has a simple pool of water in one corner, partly covered by an undulating mirror, creating fluid, distorted reflections of floor, walls and visitors. The Pavilion will be in situ until 7 October so if you get the chance, do go and explore. It is well worth a visit.
The Great Architectural Bake Off
Held on 16 June, this annual combination of architectural, baking and construction challenge saw 15 professional teams come together to flex their creative and culinary muscles. This year, for the first time, the professionals were joined by 3 university teams, welcoming aspiring and established architects alike. Each team had to create an entirely edible, gourmet version of an iconic building. Architect and former Great British Bake Off contestant Tom Hetherington was among the judges who had to decide between such buildings as Tower Bridge, MI6, London Eye and Gaudi’s Park Güell.
Benoy’s “Barbicake” took this year’s top award with their splendid Barbican made of chocolate fudge, wafers, blueberry swirl, ginger and Nutella.
Zaha Hadid Architects were congratulated for their delicious chocolate and Guinness cake, used to create the London Aquatics Centre, with an impressive CNC-milled white chocolate roof.
Stride Treglown were praised for the authentic wartime flavours used in their Imperial War Museum Cake.
London Metropolitan University won the inaugural student award for their part-demolished, brutalist Robin Hood Gardens, made with layers of ginger, pistachio and Victoria sponge.
Juliettes Honourable Mention
We particularly liked Wilkinson Eyre’s wonderful rendition of Gasholders London. We mentioned it as one of our favourite London developments in our last post on the LFA and, hey presto, it popped up again at this event (but this time in the form of cake).
This short film, made by Stirling Prize winners dRMM, was shown on Fridays throughout the festival. It focused on the theme of identity at a time when the future identity of Britain hangs in the balance as we move ever closer to Brexit. The 9 minute film featured interviews with dRMM architects and designers from 10 nations around the globe. All were excited to work in such an international team and stressed how diversity and a different way of looking at things can bring only benefits. The film’s aim was to highlight the contribution made to the landscape of London by talented architects from all over the world.
A Few More Benches
We never did get to collect the full set but as they are now a permanent fixture, we can visit them all at our leisure. In our last LFA post we brought you Here Lies Geoffrey Barkington by Patrick McEvoy, Double Bench by Mills Turner and A Bench for Everyone by McCloy & Muchemwa. Which ones have caught our eye since then?
by Eleanor Dodman Architects
Garden Bench consists of 8 platforms arranged to create private pockets and conversational corners, all interspersed with chamomile, lavender and thyme for a fragrant and relaxing hiatus in the day.
by Nicholas Kirk Architects
Set in the centre of the City, Britain’s beating financial heart, this bench is inspired by the area’s financial heritage and aims to challenge our perceptions of cold, hard cash in uncertain economic times. It was formed using 45,000 beautifully-stacked pennies.
by Studio Yu with tomos.design
This is a modular series of hexagons inspired by the majestic Giant’s Causeway on Northern Ireland’s coast. It allows infinite combinations of seating, planting and colours to suit any space. Maybe we’ll see more of these popping up around the capital.
As we say farewell to London Festival of Architecture 2018, we look forward to finding out the theme for next year. Not long to wait. We’ll let you know when it’s announced later this year. In the meantime, please share with us your impressions and your pictures of this year’s event.