Love Architecture Festival 2012

RIBA’s Love Architecture Festival begins tomorrow. We picked out some of the best bits…

Paul Du Noyer wasn’t wrong when he described Liverpool as a wondrous place. From its pop-culture to its football clubs, this city is used to having stuff to shout about. Add to that cultural heritage the Three Graces of our waterfront, and it’s easy to see how, for a time, the city could be considered the centre of the world.

While people are quite rightly proud of the buildings which have helped make Liverpool famous, tomorrow sees the launch of the RIBA-led Love Architecture Festival 2012. It is a celebration not focused on the usual suspects, but one which instead asks us to look at the streets around us, the places we spend time in, call home, and for the most part take for granted.

The festival launches with exhibition, A Place to Call Home (guest-curated by Sarah Beeny), upping sticks from its London base for the first time, and temporarily making the move to Mann Island. The exhibition employs a mixture of photographs, plans, mock-ups and period ephemera to explore the results of urban planning, from the widespread building of the 18th century, via post-war modernist-inspired experimentation right up to the present day. Billed by RIBA as one of their most successful exhibition to date, it amounts to a nice social history document, while stopping short of being anything more substantive.

If we were being churlish, we’d mention that the only representation of Liverpool we could see was a picture of Brookside Close. It remains to be seen how successful the exhibition will prove here and elsewhere featuring as it does, little that is familiar. We did look for mention of Albert Square as a depiction of London, but none could be found. Much more interesting though are the various walking tours around the city, providing a nice opportunity to have a proper look at bits of Liverpool we may otherwise never take the time to fully appreciate. The Hope Street tour, starting at one cathedral and ending at the other, is our pick of the bunch.

A really nice addition to the programme is Architects in Pubs. Not only can you enjoy a nice pint of best in your choice of The Roscoe Head, The Globe, or The White Star, you get to do it in the company of the Liverpool Architectural Society and the Workers Education Association for conversation about the pub as social hub, pub interiors and maybe – who knows – architecture, too. And for a look at how artists experience of the city is translated into drawing, print and photography, look no further than The Liverpool Collective, in a gallery recently established above The Clove Hitch restaurant on Hope Street.

The festival, which runs until the 24th of this month has a varied and well thought out programme, and clearly much effort has been made at not including things merely for the sake of it. While the festival is a nationwide affair, the last word on Liverpool should come from one of its own. Maybe our pick of the lot is the screening of Terence Davies’ hymn to the streets where he grew up, Of Time and The City. Screening at FACT and introduced by Dominic Wilkinson, senior lecturer in architecture at JMU, the film plays like a shared, at times, brutally honest memory of the city some of us call home.

A Place to Call Home continues at Mann Island until 9th September

Posted on 14/06/2012 by thedoublenegative