LFA reaches out beyond architecture

The London Festival of Architecture 2010 will involve more non-architectural designers than previously, hopes Tamsie Thomson, director of the Royal Institute of British Architects London.

Next year’s biennial festival will feature city-wide projects, including an open-studio element focused in north-west London.

‘We want [non-architectural] designers to get involved in creating clusters of open studios to give people the opportunity to compare the design processes of different disciplines,’ says Thomson.

‘We also want designers to come up with ideas for exhibitions, talks and other events to take place either in their studios or at other venues,’ she adds.

She promises that the RIBA will give help and support ‘where we can’ and is inviting designers to a workshop in November about organising events. Thomson is encouraging designers to co-ordinate with architectural studios to plan openings and events in clusters.

Announcing the first details of the festival last Friday, New London Architecture chairman Peter Murray said, ‘It is really important that architects engage much more with local communities rather than being upset when people respond to their work.’

The theme for this year’s festival is ‘The Welcoming City’, inspired by London’s hosting of the Olympics in 2012. ‘So much of the activity at next year’s festival will feed into the 2012 festival and the Olympics,’ said Murray.

So far, the only confirmed installation for the festival will be a mechanical lift at the Duke of York Steps, intended to make the route from Lower Regent Street to St James’s Park more accessible. Matthew Lloyd Architects and the Royal Engineers are collaborating on the project, which will be water-powered and ‘won’t interfere with the architectural fabric of the steps,’ says Thomson.

Shops along the so-called Nash route, which connects St James’s and Regent’s Parks via Regent Street, will be encouraged to join in with special window displays.

Designers interested in becoming part of the festival should upload their profiles to the new website www.lfa2010.org, designed by Manha.
LFA takes place from 19 June to 4 July 2010.

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