Themed ‘The Playful City’, the London Festival of Architecture 2013 encouraged the architecture profession and Londoners at large to find new ways of engaging with the city and its buildings in a more creative and interactive manner. The event was organised by the Architecture Foundation, the British Council, New London Architecture and RIBA London, and focused on three London areas over three weekends.
During the festival, the Royal Academy of Arts held its own Architecture Day where we were invited to host a site-specific workshop to build a full-scale playhouse gallery using pre-fabricated, individually customised 3D picture frames.
In the morning session, family groups constructed these picture frames using pre-made standardised components, which were then bolted together using pre-cut holes much like a Meccano set. Once the 3D picture frame was constructed, each family group animated them by producing a drawing in response to a question we posed, which was then mounted within each 3D frame.
Following this, the afternoon session was spent combining the 3D frames, slotting them together in a Tetris-like manner to create a full-sized playhouse gallery that was large enough for participants to enter. The structure remained in place for the rest of the day, allowing participants and other visitors to explore, play and view all of the artworks created.
This workshop allowed us to develop emotive narratives behind spaces for play. Through the act of physically contributing to the structure, the exercise provided a sense of belonging and meaning to its participants – thus deepening their bond with the city of London.
London Festival of Architecture
Royal Academy of Arts, London