LONDON FESTIVAL OF ARCHITECTURE

Date: 2003 – 2007
Location: Clerkenwell, King’s Cross and Southwark, London

London Architecture Biennale Sheep Drive with Renzo Piano (far left) and Richard Rogers (fourth from the right), June 2006, Millennium Bridge

From 2003 to 2007, Lacuna’s director, Stella Ioannou, was Founding Deputy Director of the London Festival of Architecture (LFA). Stella was instrumental in launching the first London Festival of Architecture in 2004, then titled the Clerkenwell Architecture Biennale, and delivering the second edition of the festival in 2006.

LFA champions London as a world leader in pioneering architecture practices and celebrates the rich architectural history of this global city through a wide programme of events; these include talks, performances, installations, workshops and tours. It went on to become the world’s largest annual architecture festival, and for the 2019 edition attracted over 800,000 people across its 566-event programme and an even bigger global audience of 138 million people. Most of the events are free and are programmed by the core LFA team as well as architecture and design practices, academic and cultural institutions and individual artists and designers.

Based on the historic Venice Architecture Biennale, the first Clerkenwell Architecture Biennale sought to promote and demystify architecture. Through a series of exhibitions, talks, tours, parties, debates and more, Londoners were encouraged to explore their city’s compelling historic and cultural value. In turn, local businesses were invited to host or sponsor events. The original challenge of implementing a small project of around 15 events turned into a 75-event programme over ten days, all delivered within a very short period of eight months.

The main focus of the Biennale was demonstrating how the past determines the future. The programme included talks by key figures such as Zaha Hadid, Peter Ackroyd and Deyan Sudjic and seminars on pressing topics such as ‘Gentrification vs Regeneration’ and ‘Who Makes London?’ The festival even included a cattle drive down St Johns Street to Smithfield Market, which simulated the historical market route, and brought thousands of people to the City.

Following a great response to the first edition, the festival grew significantly for the second in 2006, entitled the London Architecture Biennale. The theme this time was ‘Change’, celebrating “the change and consistencies of London Life, the meeting of rural and urban, of architecture and agriculture…” (Zoe Williams, The Guardian). The geographical scope expanded beyond Clerkenwell to cover a route from King’s Cross to Southwark.

Once again, the project overdelivered with 225 events over a 10-day programme. This included talks by acclaimed architect Renzo Piano; a sculptural installation designed by London architect Laurie Chetwood, London Oasis, which responded to the changing conditions of its environment and was powered using renewable energy technology; and a photography exhibition by Alan Williams of subterranean London. However, this edition will always be best remembered for the sheep drive of 60 sheep led by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers over the Millennium Bridge, attracting over 15,000 Londoners.

 Stella brings to her variety of roles a wide knowledge of the cultural environment as well as brilliant organisational skills and an unrivalled ability to cajole, command and flatter in order to achieve successful outcomes.

Peter Murray, Founding Director London Festival of Architecture

I have enjoyed working with Stella in various guises, including her stint as Deputy Director of the London Festival of Architecture, back in its infancy. Stella offers a wonderful blend of creative vision and practical delivery, underpinned by her tenacity and charm.

Patricia Brown, Director of Central