2022 London Festival of Architecture: what to see and do if you’re visiting

London buildings with red phone box in the foreground

In London this June, an exciting celebration is happening within the city’s bustling streets…

The 2022 London Festival of Architecture is underway! It’s the world’s biggest annual celebration of architecture, design and city-making, with a packed schedule of installations, exhibitions, guided tours, talks and debates, film screenings and family activities.

We’ve rounded up eight things to see and do if you’re interested in London’s built environment and are visiting the city this month:

1. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park: 10 Years On

Created initially to host the 2012 Games, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is now a world-leading destination for sports, culture, education, entertainment and enterprise. This exhibition covers the venue’s story so far – its 2012 sporting legacy, the physical transformation of the area, and how the project has turned into an innovative London metropolitan centre that attracts investments, improves local lives and drives economic growth.

When: 1–30 June, 9:00 to 18:00.

Where: Lee Valley VeloPark, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Abercrombie Road, London E20 3AB.

2. The Mobile Arboretum in Cheapside

Inspired by the collective history of the London markets, and the idea of an urban forest, the Mobile Arboretum features a series of market carts and barrows filled with tree saplings. This is where they’ll stay over the summer until they’re moved into school and community gardens to create a legacy of a real urban forest.

When: 1 June – 31 August, open 24 hours.

Where: Bow Churchyard, London EC4M 9DQ.

3. Time Tunnel – the History and Future of Seven Dials

Today, Seven Dials is home to shops, theatres and restaurants – a unique destination in London’s West End. But in 1974, the area was in a state of dereliction after the Covent Garden market moved to Nine Elms. This alfresco exhibition looks at how the Seven Dials’ streets and spaces have changed over 300 years – and what they could look like in the future.

When: 1–30 June, 10:00.

Where: Neal’s Yard, in the walkway between 31 Monmouth Street and 3 Neal’s Yard, London WC2H 9DD.

4. Zaha Hadid: Reimagining London

The late Zaha Hadid was one of the most influential and successful architects of our time. Despite the incredible range and scale of the building projects that her company brought to fruition globally over the last few decades, her architecture in London – the place she adopted as home – has been relatively underrepresented. This exhibition presents an exciting opportunity to view Hadid’s rare and unseen works (plus personal sketches) of her radical reinventions of London.

When: 8 June – 2 July, 11:00 to 17:30.

Where: Zaha Hadid Foundation, 10 Bowling Green Lane, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 0BQ.

5. Uncivic Space: An Uncomfortable Exhibition Exploring Hostile Architecture

This interesting and thought-provoking display investigates urban pieces of design in public spaces that act to exclude and are purposefully unwelcoming and uncomfortable.

When: 11–26 June, 10:00 to 16:00.

Where: 3 Tyers Gate, off Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3HX.

6. Saving Aleppo’s Heritage – Stories from Local Graduate Architects

This is a talk and debate session where local graduate architects with practices in Aleppo, Syria, will discuss the importance of protecting cultural heritage. You’ll learn about the architecture in ancient Aleppo city (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) that has survived 11 years of conflict, plus the challenges around preserving and restoring it.

When: 22 June, 12:30 to 14:00.

Where: The Hochhauser Auditorium, Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL.

7. The Making of UCL’s New Campus

One of London’s most ambitious developments is UCL East, a new campus set in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. One Pool Street opens this autumn with Marshgate opening in autumn 2023. During a guided tour, you’ll get a preview of these new, innovative buildings designed to break down disciplinary silos and promote cross-disciplinary learning, research and thinking.

When: 23 June, 17:30 to 19:00.

Where: The Last Drop Cafe, 5 Thornton Street, London E20 2AD.

8. Reviving Bishopsgate: a Building Tour by Fletcher Priest Architects

During a guided tour, you’ll discover the refurbishment work that recently went into the 300-metre-long Bishopsgate complex built in the 80s over the easternmost platforms of Liverpool Street Railway Station.

When: 25 June, 11:00 to 12:15 and 14:00 to 15:15.

Where: 135 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3AJ.


For the complete programme, visit the London Festival of Architecture website, where you’ll also find festival news, views and the official podcast, ‘Building Sounds’.

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