The UK's largest celebration of buildings and the city, the London Festival of Architecture (LFA), will return from 23 June 8 July 2012. The event, held since 2004, will reinforce London's reputation as an international creative hub, as a varied program of exciting events take place all over the capital.
As potential medal winners limber up for their Olympic and Paralympic moment, the theme of the London Festival of Architecture in 2012 will be the 'Playful City', proposing ways in which both Londoners and visitors can use the city and its buildings in a more creative, interactive and healthy way. From reinterpreting familiar places through new installations and animations and redesigning public spaces to encourage physical fitness, to testing new ways of planning future urban development, Festival participants will be encouraged to play in, and play with the city around them.
Organized by four leading architectural and cultural institutions, The Architecture Foundation, the British Council, New London Architecture and RIBA London, and sponsored by Land Securities, the city-wide Festival will focus on three London areas over three weekends: City and Southwark (23-24 June), Fitzrovia and Bloomsbury (30 June-1 July), and King's Cross and Hoxton (7-8 July). Throughout the Festival the Royal Docks in East London will also be transformed into 'London's Pleasure Gardens', next to the Olympic venue at ExCel, with other events such as architects' open studios and special exhibitions taking place across the city.
Peter Murray, Chairman of NLA and Festival Founding Director commented: "All eyes will be on London in 2012 and there is no better time to celebrate the city's rich historical and contemporary architectural culture. This year's 'Playful City' theme will seek to encourage thousands of people to develop a better appreciation of architectural design through a series of interactive and entertaining events all over the capital. Whether you're a Londoner who has lived in the city for 50 years, or a visitor coming to the capital for the first time, this year's Festival promises an abundance of fun for all."
Colette O'Shea, Development Director, Land Securities London commented: "London is one of the world's leading creative hubs and nowhere is this more in evidence than in the Capital's architecture. London's streets never stand still, and the city will evolve again this year as the Olympics transform the East End. The West End is undergoing its own revolution, at Victoria, as we deliver The West End's buildings of the future. This dynamism has excited visitors to our City for centuries; we take great pride in contributing to London's success and show casing our developments to the world during this year's festival."
The four organizing institutions are each involved with delivering a series of landmark events during the Festival:
RIBA London is working with event producers Strong & Co to create 15 structures for the Royal Docks in East London. The 60,000 m² 'London Pleasure Gardens' site will function as a Festival space, with the structures including follies, performance pavilions, gardens, an Oyster Bar, café and covered marketplace. RIBA London is running a design competition for students and recent graduates in London, to deliver 50 benches as seating for visitors across the site. RIBA London will also be working with the London Borough of Hackney, to temporarily transform Hoxton Square into a field accommodating a series of playful and more intimate spaces that will be open to the public throughout the day and into the late evening.
The NLA is producing a landmark public exhibition which will examine how the City's buildings, streets and public spaces have defined it over the centuries and responded to the changing patterns of business. The exhibition will include visionary images of the City of London as it might be, with teams of architects and developers putting forward proposals showing the Square Mile in 2050.They will also be extending its ongoing Walks program, led by Blue Badge guides, ove