The capital's month-long architecture festival is so jam-packed with events it's positively daunting...
Journalists are finding it hard to write about the London Festival of Architecture. Not because there’s too little going on. No, this is about the largest festival celebrating the built form since records began. There are over 500 events going on across the capital across five "hubs".
Director Peter Murray seems to have taken every idea London’s architects have to offer and thrown it over the capital like a washerwoman emptying her bowl. Everywhere you look there are events going on and structures shooting up, be they giant flower-shaped pavilions, sustainable toilets, or portable swimming pools.
You can breakfast with Janet Street-Porter, lunch with Will Alsop and dine on architectural jelly with Nick Grimshaw. Everyone who ever picked up a scale rule within the capital’s borders is doing something at this festival.
Which is precisely the problem. You see, when there’s a signature event it makes our job a lot easier – and last time around, Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano’s sheep-herding stunt across the Millennium Bridge was about as deep-carved a signature as you could wish for. There’s no single headline-grabbing "happening" this year that allows us hacks to grab a hold of the festival. We have to let the mass of it wash over us and see what sticks.
You can breakfast with Janet Street-Porter, lunch with Will Alsop and dine on architectural jelly with Nick Grimshaw
But just because it won’t make our lives easy doesn’t mean it won’t be a great festival.
Peter Bishop, director of chief sponsor Design for London, has called this a "village fete" but it’s far, far bigger than that. If anything it reminds me of the Edinburgh Fringe, a wild sprawl of theatre and performance that has outgrown itself and mutated into something its organisers can barely control.
If Murray and the LFA team can capture some of the thrilling randomness of that festival, then we’re in for an exciting month. Building will be doing its best to distill some of the highlights of each week on its Friday newsletter, and we’ll have pictures and reports on some of the choice events – if we don’t find them too hard to write about it, that is.