The London Festival of Architecture 2015 explores the ‘third place’ in week 2

Recent advances in technology, alongside other cultural and economic forces, have allowed work to seep out of the office, permeating the entire city, influencing its landscape and impacting on our experience of daily life. Workers are no longer restricted to a conventional office environment, which presents an exciting challenge for today’s architects. In the second week of the London Festival of Architecture participants look at the increasing use of unconventional workspaces, born out of necessity – the so-called third place – responding to the changing nature of work and the working environment.

A leading panel – including Munira Mirza, Deputy Mayor of London for Education and Culture and Will Alsop RA – will question ideas such as whether creativity can be planned for through policy and design, and will explore the notion of the third place as an outlet for creative working in Cultivating Creative Cities (8 June, 6.30-8pm, Royal Academy of Arts).

Embracing the concept that technology today enables you to work anywhere, a TREExOFFICE (1-30 June, Hoxton Square) has been built in the canopy of an urban tree, offering an alternative to the conventional working space. A collaborative project by architects Tate Harmer, artists Natalie Jeremijenko and Shuster + Moseley, and briefing architects Gensler, the TREExOFFICE will be open throughout the festival.

Also exploring third space working is the Not to Scale Collective, whose exhibition, Working in the Third Place (1-30 June), is based upon research that reveals how coffee shops are becoming workshops and labs of creativity. Their interventions will take place in various coffee shops across London, culminating in the launch of an online exhibition platform to coincide with the festival’s finale.

Further expanding the idea of the third place, and seeing how it sits alongside the home, or first space, festival sponsor The Berkeley Group will be offering unique access to one of its major redevelopment sites in its tour On Site at Woodberry Down (9 June, 6.30-8pm). This one-off opportunity will allow visitors unprecedented access to a building site, allowing them to see first hand how a community is being physically shaped.

HIGHLIGHTS OF WEEK 2, 8-14 June 2015

Talks & Debates

Cultivating Creative Cities

8 June, 6.30-8pm, Royal Academy of Arts

A debate on how creative places in the city can thrive. Can policy and design encourage this, or do they have their own ‘natural lifecycles’? Panel includes Will Alsop, Munira Mirza and Alison Wilding.

London’s First Skyscraper

9 June, 6.30-8pm, London Transport Museum

90 years ago the Underground needed a new head office. Architect Charles Holden came up with a striking design for a difficult site over St James’s Park station. When it opened in 1929 this was the tallest building in Westminster and won the prestigious RIBA London architecture medal. Join author Oliver Green as he explores the history of this unique building.

The Architectural Model: Then and Now

10 June, 6.30-9pm, Sir John Soane’s Museum

To celebrate the reopening of Soane’s famed Model Room for the first time in 160 years, this discussion with model-makers and architects will examine the role of architectural models; how they were used as an essential tool during Soane’s time and how they still perform a crucial role in the design process today. Speakers include Timothy Richards, Mandy Bakers, Christian Spencer-Davies and Mike Fairbrass, and the event will include access to the Model Room.

The Skyline Tour

11 June, 6.30-8pm, Design Council

Design Council is delighted to be bringing back its popular London skyline tour. At this early evening event, Thomas Bender, the Cabe team’s Lead Advisor for Design Review, will provide an introduction to the history of tall buildings around the world before taking a look at the case of London in particular.


On Site at Woodberry Down

9 June, 6.30-8pm, Berkeley Group

Berkeley Group will give a tour of Woodberry Down, one of the biggest estate regeneration programmes in Britain that will create 5,500 new homes over 20 years, including 41% affordable, alongside a complete mix of community facilities.

A Walk in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park: Function and Beauty in Landscape

11 June, 6.30-8.30pm, Landscape Institute

An opportunity to tour the new Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, looking at the way in which the site has been influenced by the River Lea, the River Lea navigation and the other canals.

New London Walking Tour: Olympic Park

13 June, 2-4pm, New London Architecture

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (QEOP) – a circular walk takes us past the 2012 icons to focus on the sustainable Olympic Legacy of the Park’s buildings and transport links.

International Focus Country: Ireland

Irish Architecture Walks + Talks London

9 June, 6.30-9pm, O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects

Irish architects and Royal Gold Medal recipients, Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey, will deliver special tours of their award-winning Saw Swee Hock Student Centre at the LSE, followed by a public conversation with Professor Kester Rattenbury.

Exhibitions & Installations


1-30 June, Hoxton Square

TREExOFFICE is a project by Australian American artist Natalie Jeremijenko in collaboration with artists Shuster + Moseley, architects Tate Harmer and briefing architects Gensler. In the canopy of an urban tree, TREExOFFICE offers an alternative to the conventional working space and economy. Acting as its own landlord, the tree offers sanctuary, a power supply, and free wifi amongst the bustle of East London.

Summer Exhibition 2015

8 June – 16 August, 10am-6pm, Royal Academy of Arts

The Royal Academy’s annual Summer Exhibition is the world’s largest open submission show of contemporary art and architecture. Now in its 247th year, this exhibition continues the tradition of showcasing work by both emerging and established artists in all media, including painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, film and architecture. This year’s Architecture Room is being organised by Ian Ritchie RA.

The Brutalist Playground

10 June – 14 August, 10am-5pm, RIBA

Part sculpture, part architectural installation, all play. The Brutalist Playground is a new commission by Assemble Architects and artist Simon Terrill exploring post-war design for play. Occupying the entire Architecture Gallery at RIBA, it will encourage visitors to look at the materiality and visual language of now lost Brutalist landscapes in new ways through an immersive and conceptual landscape.

Where London Works

13 June-20 June, Cass Cities

London is a city of high streets, industrial yards and retail parks; here there is a vast economic life. CASS Cities is trying to reveal and quantify this (sometimes overlooked) side of London’s economy.