04/06/2024

Appreciating Architecture through the London Festival of Architecture

Written by Nadine Richards
Nadine is an Office Manager at BoonBrown with a passion for creativity and engineering. She has a keen interest in applying design thinking and problem-solving skills to create innovative solutions for various challenges and opportunities. She is motivated by learning new things, collaborating with others, and making a positive impact.

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The London Festival of Architecture (LFA) turning 20 is an incredible milestone, marking two decades of transformative impact on the architectural landscape of London. My journey with the LFA began in 2022, a mere nine months into my career at an architecture firm. Discovering that this festival had been fostering architectural discussions and pushing the boundaries of creativity across London for 18 years prior left me in awe.

In 2022, the LFA’s theme, ‘ACT,’ prompted reflection on navigating a post-pandemic world. During this period, I participated in a workshop hosted by EPR Architects at the RSBC Life Without Limits Centre. Titled ‘Build an Animated City – Sensory Clay Workshop,’ it was an eye-opening experience. Imagining the tactile sensation of clay in my hands with closed eyes allowed me to appreciate the importance of inclusive design and sensory perception profoundly.

Fast forward to 2023, when Brixton was selected as one of the festival’s destinations. With one of our offices newly established in Brixton, our involvement was inevitable. The theme, ‘IN COMMON,’ provided fertile ground for our imaginations to run wild. Delving into Brixton’s common land, we discovered its significant reduction over time, prompting us to imagine what it might have looked like had those commons remained intact.

While some of us, along with students from a local school, focused on illustrating Brixton’s common land history and envisaging a new Brixton designed for people in harmony with nature, others explored what makes Brixton unique today.

Inspired by its music, culture, and diverse community, we sought to capture Brixton’s vibrancy by incorporating its bold colours onto our building.

Using Tunstall Hall as a canvas to re-imagine and extend Brixton’s colourful identity to our road, we employed perspex to represent our findings, attaching it to the bars of our studio’s façade.

Additionally, we made use of Brixton’s amazing mural network by organising a self-guided mural tour. We put together a map our guests could take away, highlighting some of the most poignant murals which capture moments in time spanning at least 40 years, commemorate important heroes and reflect rich culture.

The opening night of our exhibition was on the 20th of June 2023, and it was nerve-wracking yet exhilarating. Countless man-hours were poured into preparations, from crafting kiosks to attaching perspex to our studio’s facade until the very morning of the event! As industry professionals, local residents, and community leaders gathered to explore our installations and engage in discussions, it became evident that our exhibition had succeeded in bridging diverse perspectives and igniting conversations about the future of our city.

Now, in 2024, as the LFA embarks on its 20th-anniversary celebrations, the theme of ‘REIMAGINE’ beckoning us, we’re focusing on a recent opportunity that arose from last year’s event. The Tunstall Road residents’ group enlisted our help to redesign their street, which, much like ours, has faced numerous challenges in recent years. Through surveys and community collaboration, we aim to address their concerns and envision a more vibrant and inclusive streetscape.

In addition to the Tunstall Road project, our exhibition for 2024 features a collaborative map of artwork reflecting London through our eyes. It’s been a rewarding experience, showcasing everyone’s creative abilities even though as architects sometimes we go weeks without hand drawing!

Furthermore, we’re collaborating with the charity New Initiatives to commemorate heroes who have made a difference through accurate portrayals by young people.

As we eagerly anticipate the upcoming exhibition, I am filled with gratitude for the opportunities the LFA has provided me to engage with my community, push the boundaries of architectural practice, and contribute to positive change.

Join us once again as we celebrate two decades of creativity, collaboration, and community at the London Festival of Architecture—a testament to the enduring power of architecture to shape lives and inspire generations.

The exhibition will be up for viewing at our London studio in Brixton between the 17th and 28th of June, so make sure to book your free ticket!

Location:

Tunstall Hall, Bernay’s Grove

London  SW9 8DF

Time:

10am – 4pm

Tickets are available here:

https://www.londonfestivalofarchitecture.org/event/re-imagining-brixton-exhibition/