The London Festival of Architecture 2019 has announced that ‘Boundaries’ will be its theme when the world’s largest annual architecture event returns to London on 1-30 June 2019. From Party Walls to London Wall; from the Boundary Estate to estate boundaries, architecture has a lot to say about the notion of boundaries.
Each year the London Festival of Architecture presents a different theme as the focus of its city-wide programme of public events. Last year edition inspired over 500 events across London in June, attracting 500,000 visitors and reaching a global audience of 122 million.
“Life in cities is all about physical and mental boundaries. We are constrained, ordered and defined by borders, fences and walls that in many ways make us comfortable. For architects, however, boundaries are more than a mundane fact of everyday life: they’re something to be challenged. London’s architects pay no heed to national boundaries as they build around the world, and their global leadership is largely thanks to a fearless attitude towards design or technical boundaries. Individually, architects are beginning to challenge the socio-economic boundaries that have held many back, allowing a more diverse profession to emerge that can serve our society better. Boundaries are fundamental to any discussion about London’s future. Should the city that long broke free of its Roman wall and engulfed ancient towns and villages remain constrained by the M25 and the Green Belt? What about personal boundaries at the other end of the scale? Whether that’s space standards or professional standards, architects need to act responsibly”
Tamsie Thomson, director of the London Festival of Architecture
Perhaps Brexit is a logical extension of that British desire to retreat within a national boundary – to find an imagined comfort zone and put the rest of the world in its place. But architecture in Britain – and London in particular – isn’t always so insular. As Tamsie Thomson said, London’s architects have long stepped outside national boundaries to build around the world – all the while pushing the boundaries of what a building should look like and what modern engineering can do.
London developed as a city of villages. But who really knows where Hoxton ends and Shoreditch begins? Perhaps boundaries are made to be blurred? In a city where postcode or social boundaries can be deadly, architecture should be used to shape a city that is safer and more at ease with its diversity. Consciously or unconsciously, maybe living in cities is really about breaking boundaries.
And what about personal boundaries? A hand here or an unwelcome comment there? What’s acceptable these days? Talking of personal boundaries, what’s happened to notions of personal space? Something to ponder when crammed on the Tube. Are there no boundaries anymore?
These are just some of the questions posed by London Festival of Architecture 2019 theme.
The London Festival of Architecture 2019 also unveiled next edition curatorial panel: a diverse and expert group of practitioners, curators and commentators who will work alongside the LFA programming team to shape the programme for LFA 2019.
The London Festival of Architecture 2019 curatorial panel is as follows:
• Robert Bevan – architecture critic for the London Evening Standard. He also works as an urban design and heritage consultant in London and has a long-standing academic interest in the architecture of segregation and borders. He is currently on the advisory panel of the Imperial War Museum’s upcoming exhibition about attacks on material culture during conflicts.
• Sarah Castle – a founding director of IF_DO, an award-winning architecture practice dedicated to creating projects with a positive impact on users, the environment and the surrounding community. Sarah passionately believes in the promotion of a diverse and equal profession, and is a chapter lead for Urbanistas, a network supporting women working in the built environment.
• Tom Guy – a partner at Guy Piper Architects who undertake residential and commercial projects primarily in London, Oxford and Brighton. In 2016 he founded the Architecture LGBT+ network and this year worked with the LFA on a competition to design a float for the 2018 Pride in London parade.
• Meneesha Kellay – public programmes curator at the Royal Institute of British Architects. Having studied architecture at the Manchester School of Architecture and applied cultural theory at Goldsmiths, she delivered the RIBA Regent Street Windows project in 2016, and was previously events and exhibitions curator at the Museum of Architecture and assistant director of the Architectural Association Night School.
• David Ogunmuyiwa – founder of ArchitectureDoingPlace. He is unique in the UK having worked as an estate officer for social landlords including Lambeth, Southwark, Tower Hamlets and Circle 33, before retraining as an architect. He teaches architecture at Portsmouth University and Central Saint Martins and is a Mayor’s Design Advocate.
• Sumitra Upham – curator of public programmes at the Design Museum. Previously, she was design curator at Oxo Tower Wharf, associate curator at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London and part of the exhibitions team at White Cube, London. She holds an MA in Curating Contemporary Design from Kingston University and the Design Museum.
The London Festival of Architecture call for entries will open in October.
Stay tuned because we are cooking something up!!!