A handful of exhibitions and performances during the month-long design festival radically interrogate gender and space.
After a dizzying month of activities, the London Festival of Architecture (LFA) came to a close June 30. This, the 10th edition of the festival, followed the example of its predecessors by hosting a broader set of events than ever before.
London was thus bursting with an array of lectures, panels, pavilions, open studios, exhibitions, and a bake-off, all supposedly centered around the theme of “Identity.” Unlike biennials such as Venice or Chicago, LFA isn’t so much curated as directed and the huge range of events means identifying consistent threads is a fruitless task. What’s more, any vaguely architectural events taking place in June were shoehorned into the festival and, by extension, the theme. DSDHA’s renaming of the Economist Plaza to the Smithson Plaza as an interpretation of “Identity” was a particularly contrived maneuver.
On the occasions where the notion of “Identity” was properly interrogated, however, participants delivered in unexpected and even radical ways. Feminist approaches to architectural history, practice, and theory played a particularly strong part in the roster of events. This is, of course, unsurprising in the context of #MeToo or the Elephant Campaign—launched by LFA director Tamsie Thomson to demand that the British architectural industry address its issues with discrimination against women—although through these events, differences in gendered identity are celebrated and centered through work in the built environment.
Interpreted Identities, for instance, organized by the Bankside Open Spaces Trust, involved a series of 10 specially-commissioned follies in a public park just south of London Bridge. Each structure was designed by a small London firm to interpret the work of women who have made a significant contribution to the built environment or women’s rights in the city. Many such women have been written out of London’s—indeed, architecture’s—orthodox histories.
For example, the pavilion by One Works, a cube of timber sticks that ripples out to a point in one corner, was dedicated to Annie Besant, a social activist who led the London matchgirls’ strike of 1888 in which 1,400 women and girls demanded better pay and improved environmental conditions.
Read the full story HERE >>>> Source: Metropolis Magazine At the 2018 London Festival of Architecture, It’s a Girl’s World