London welcomes the world: the final weeks of the London Festival of Architecture 2015

London opens its doors to a host of international architectural delights this week as part of the capital’s month-long, city-wide festival, the London Festival of Architecture (LFA). Speakers from Ireland to Eindhoven, New York to Singapore and even as far afield as Antarctica are all confirmed to participate in what is now a truly global showcase of architectural talent, city making, design and discourse.

Leading the global activity is the World Architecture Festival, with its newly created satellite exhibition and events programme, WAF London (24-27 June), whose partnership with the festival not only provides the first opportunity for the public to preview the world’s best buildings and foremost architectural practices shortlisted for the WAF awards in Singapore in November – over 400 – but also serves as a new platform upon which the profession and general public can participate in the ‘big conversations’ affecting international design in their exciting four day programme of talks and events.

Heralding WAF London’s international presence, architect Angeline Chan, deputy CEO DP Architects, the Singaporean architectural practice that has evolved in tandem with Singapore’s nationhood, will be speaking on Singapore’s 50 years of independence exploring the history and architectural DNA that has been embedded over the last 50 years enabling the rise of a regenerated city status and nation. Other global representatives include; Sydney architect Michael Heenan who will be reviewing the city’s master planning ambitions, Turkish architect Emre Arolat who will be discussing the differences between London and Istanbul – the subject of an exhibition currently at the Royal Institute of British Architects as well David Ponzini, professor of urban planning at the Politecnico di Mialno and Michele Nastasi, managing editor of Lotus International, who will be speaking on the effect of ‘starchitecture’ on global architecture.

From Singapore to Antarctica, Working in a Cold Climate (18 June) at the Institution of Structural Engineers takes us all the way to Halley VI Research Station in Antarctica and the location of the world’s first fully re-locatable research station. Built on the floating Brunt Ice Shelf, it is one of the most remote and isolated locations in the world, where temperatures can plummet to -55°C.

Pushing the boundaries of design in a life critical environment, Halley VI is a beacon for sustainable living in Polar Regions, providing a home from home for the research teams who are responsible for some of the most significant science conducted on our planet.

This panel discussion brings together the design and construction team: Hugh Broughton, Hugh Broughton Architects; Peter Ayres, Aecom; John Hammerton, Galiford Try and the Director of British Antarctic Survey, Jane Francis, who will reflect on the implications of its pioneering design on world science.

The pièce de résistance is a live phone-in to the Station in Antarctica, comprising of a 5 minute interview with the Station Leader at Halley VI, Tom Welsh, half way through the talk whereby guests will have the opportunity to question him live.

Moving from Antarctica, New York and Eindhoven will join London at the Purcell Room, Southbank Centre for The Working City: Eindhoven, London, New York (18 June) looking at the changing face of cities and the nature of work. The debate will explore three examples of adaptive reduce of work space, and tease out how we balance competing needs for housing land against space for employment and industry and the infrastructure needed for a healthy, functioning city and economy.

Speaking for Eindhoven, Thom Aussems of Trudo, a not-for-profit enterprise in the Netherlands, will outline the reinvention of Eindhoven’s former Philips’ factories as mixed-use neighbourhoods, blending a wide range of cultural and commercial uses with mixed income homes, leisure and open space.

Industry City’s Andrew Kimball will talk of his work in New York, revitalising 6 million square feet of 19th century workspace, carefully balancing existing manufacturing tenants with those centred on the creative and innovation economy.

Gavin Poole, CEO, Here East, and David Bickle, principal of architecture practice Hawkins\Brown, will outline London’s Here East, 1.2 million square feet of commercial space for the innovative business and maker community, being fashioned out of 2012 Olympic Press and Broadcast Centre.

Speaking of the tripartite city discussion David Bickle, principal of Hawkins\Brown said:

“This is the perfect opportunity to garner innovative learning from other cities. Hawkins\Brown are currently helping to re-invent and re-construct the former Olympic Press and Broadcast Centre to create Here East – London’s home for making – a place where creative thinking, innovative research and disruptive digital work practices will change the future of business and education.”