Bad news from the east. The Pleasure Gardens in the Royal Docks, which were going to host the Festival opening party and then a special preview of the installations by architects organised by RIBA London, isn’t ready. The terrible rain has slowed down building works, the site has turned into mush and become dangerous.
The organisers of this meanwhile space usually do stuff at Glastonbury - so you would have thought they knew all about rain! But talking to people on site the big difference between Glastonbury and the Newham project is that the latter is expected to be up for the next three years instead of three weeks, so instead of being a simple tent, it becomes architecture and requires a whole new level of detailing. Luckily the Architecture Foundation has come up trumps and offered to hold the opening party on Saturday at their Gibbons Rent site in Southwark which Aussie architect Andrew Burns and architect, Sarah Eberle, are transforming into a permanent shared green space.
I went to Hackney House yesterday, a gritty pop up space where Tech City will be hosting Olympic VIPs and international press. It’s designed by Pearson Lloyd and Beatrice Galilee has curated a nice display of locally-designed products from folding bikes to giant light bulbs. The NLA is planning to do a joint event there during the Olympics. I’ve got a feeling it’s to be a hot location come the Games.
In the evening the yard of the Guildhall was packed for a concert to launch the Celebrate the City weekend which is being organised by the very capable Stella Ioannou who used to do the same sort of the job for the Festival of Architecture, so I’m sure it’s going to be a huge success. Old hands in the City said there had never been so many people in the space - if events like this encourage people to use cities more actively - more playfully - then they’ve done their job.
The three architectural teams who are showing their ideas for the City of London in 2050 in the Developing City exhibition presented their schemes to a packed audience this morning followed by comments by current City Planner Peter Rees and DeCabe chairman Paul Finch. Today saw the first of a series of curator-led lunch time tours of the exhibition I shall be giving each Tuesday and Friday for the next couple of months. You can book up here
Tomorrow’s a busy day with the laying of the foundations of Studio Weave’s Aldgate installation by Alderman Sir Michael Bear, aided by the Master of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects, on the site of the ancient gate (10.30am). I’ll then go to the Cheapside Fayre which was an event we prototyped during the Festival in 2008 and was so popular the City Corporation are going to run it as an annual event. Now that’s what I call legacy.
In the afternoon I’ll pedal over to Hammersmith to see the great work the west London architects are doing at their Lyric Square workshop to involve the local community in their ideas to bury the A4 roadway and stitch the area above ground together again. Over to Tooley Street atfer that for the Architecture Foundation Festival Party and then up to King’s Cross for the WORK Gallery show on the Viennese Haus-Rucker-Co. Haus Rucker are an experimental group who use performance and pneumatics to create powerful images that question our understanding of space and form. Architectural Design magazine, where I worked before taking over the editorship of BD in the 1970s, was the first magazine to publish Haus Rucker in the UK so I’m looking forward to a nostalgic evening.