Fresh ideas for the London Festival of Architecture 2008

Although it is taking place for just the third time next year, the London Festival of Architecture 2008 (LFA2008) is set to become one of the worlds major international celebrations of architecture and the built environment.

The popularity of the biennial Festival reflects the enormous interest that Londoners have in the changes that are happening across the capital, says Peter Murray, Festival Director.

LFA2008 takes place June 20 to July 20, 2008 in association with Design for London. It also involves major players on London’s architectural scene including the Royal Institute of British Architects Trust, The Architecture Foundation, RIBA London Region, New London Architecture and CABE.

From the sites of the 2012 Olympic Games in the east to the 1851 Great Exhibition in the west, the new St. Pancras Station and German Gymnasium (the birthplace of the modern Olympic movement) in the north to the 1951 Festival of Britain in the south, LFA2008 will draw together Londons heritage and contemporary architecture. It will focus around five major hubs across London, each of which will host free and ticketed exhibitions, lectures, temporary structures and events around the theme of FRESH!

For each of the five weekends of the festival, a different hub will be the focus of special highlight events with a focus on fresh thinking, fresh ideas, fresh talent, fresh collaborations and fresh cultures, to include, amongst many others:

*headline talks by Festival President and author Peter Ackroyd and Stirling Prize finalist, architect David Chipperfield
*Pecha Kucha Proms at the Royal Albert Hall
*Big Breakfast talks by high profile speakers
*a major conference on planning at the TUC Building
*parties and social events including a Black Tie Banquet at the Guildhall
*the closure and transformation of major streets to show how public spaces can be improved
*a special Thames boat service that will connect the hubs

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone says, London has the most vibrant architectural scene of any city in the world which values architectural heritage as well as new emerging talent and ideas. This is crucial if London is to retain its character while meeting the needs of a diverse population and rising to the challenges posed by climate change. The London Festival of Architecture is a wonderful celebration of Londons architecture, and one which I and Design for London are proud to support.

LFA2008 officially launched yesterday evening at the newly completed UCL Cancer Institute building, with speakers including Peter Murray, Director of the Festival; Peter Bishop, Director of Design for London; Professor Malcolm Grant, President and Provost UCL; and Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, architect and President of the Royal Academy of Arts.

The five London Festival of Architecture hubs will be defined areas of concentrated activity where events will take place, where people will congregate and where the buzz of major events will be evident. They are as follows:

*Chelsea, Kensington & Knightsbridge Hub: focusing on museums and galleries including the V&A and RIBA Architecture Gallery, and on the proposed shared space public space scheme in Exhibition Road by Dixon Jones
*South Bank & Southwark Hub: including open-air events on the Riverside Walk and exhibitions and talks in cultural venues including the Design Museum
*Kings Cross, Bloomsbury & Covent Garden Hub: exploring the new master plan for Bloomsbury, public spaces behind the British Museum and talks at New London Architecture
*Clerkenwell & City of London Hub: including events in St Pauls Cathedral, Paternoster Square, Smithfield Market, New Street Square, Cheapside and links with the City of London Festival
*Canary Wharf, Stratford & Thames Gateway Hub: debates on the Olympic Games and Thames Gateway-related issues, a major lecture by a world renowned architect, and open air events in Jubilee Gardens

Five key architectural institutions collaborate for the first time: Design for London, The Architecture Foundation, New London Architecture, RIBA London and RIBA Trust. In association with the British Council, over 20 international Embassies across London showcase fresh architecture talent from their respective countries, including Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Poland, Romania, Switzerland and Venezuela.

A major event in the City recreates the medieval markets of Cheapside, London’s first high street. It marks the major changes to the area that are taking place through the City of London Corporation’s efforts to increase retail in the Square Mile, and draws attention to sustainability issues relating to food miles. Acclaimed chef Oliver Rowe of Konstam is working with LFA2008 to investigate what fresh food can be sourced within the Greater London area and how local food production impacts on city planning.

The concept of an integrated and sustainable transport strategy for London is key to the Festival, so it connects walking, cycling and river transport to send an important message to public and politicians alike. Sustainable, low-polluting modes of transport will include a boat service along the Thames linking the five LFA2008 hubs, delivered in association with RIBA London and Thames Clippers, and special LFA2008 cycle routes running across the capital.

The National Architecture Student Festival organized by London Metropolitan University & EDAW and supported by CABE Space runs concurrently with LFA2008. Architecture, engineering, planning and design students will work with local community groups and primary schools to create temporary structures at key public spaces in the five hubs.

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