London Festival of Architecture has announced that the theme of the 2017 festival will be ‘memory’. The theme of will be explored through a wide range of events and activities when the London Festival of Architecture – Europe’s biggest annual architecture festival – returns on 1-30 June 2017.
London is a city of myriad layers, each infused with memory: of people, buildings, places and experiences. London’s built environment, with memories bound up within it, is fundamental to how people experience the city, and the starting point from which architects, developers and communities can address change.
London’s built memories are never far from its present – living on in old place names, the City of London’s medieval street pattern, or London’s rich architectural heritage. Memory is fundamental to a sense of place: something that communities cherish in the face of change, and a tool for architects and developers as they achieve change and place further layers of activity and memory on top of all the others.
Recent and future development at King’s Cross, Nine Elms and Smithfield Market are reminders of how memory is inextricably linked to character and placemaking. They show how architects, planners and developers need to proceed with care: aware that carelessness can obliterate cherished memories of London’s places, and alert to opportunities to harness memory in positive ways.