Every month architects and industry insiders share their recommendations for the best exhibitions and events to visit in London.

August 2017
Vanessa Quirk
Editorial Manager, Sidewalk Labs

I couldn’t be more thrilled to pen this column—not just for the honor itself, but also for the perfect timing. This month, I begin as Editorial Manager for Sidewalk Labs, which means I’m about to dive headlong into the worlds of urban planning and technology. Excitingly for me (and hopefully for you!), there are some fantastic August events that explore the myriad ways these realms are coming together to create richer, livelier, more equitable cities.  


My first recommendation is to attend Vishaan Chakrabarti’s talk, “On Opportunity,” on Thursday August 3rd at 7pm, hosted by Open House New York. Chakrabarti—founder of Practice for Architecture and Urbanism, is one of the most engaging experts on the urban realm and is sure to raise some interesting—and potentially provocative—ideas.


After that healthy dose of optimism, a more cynical view of the city may do you good. Allow Hansel & Gretel, an immersive installation by artist/activist Ai Weiwei and Pritzker Prize-winning architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, to scratch that itch. The installation (at the Park Avenue Armory until August 6) explores the dark side of ubiquitous technology in our urban realm; it transforms the Armory’s massive Drill Hall into a “21st century public place in which the environment is disconcerting, the entrance is unexpected, and every movement is tracked and surveyed by drones.”


On August 5th, join me as I explore America’s largest real estate project: Hudson Yards. Organized by the Municipal Art Society of New York, this tour will show us Manhattan’s newest, fast-transforming neighborhood, with buildings (and soon to-be buildings) by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Kohn Pederson and Fox, and Foster + Partners.


As a proud Queens resident, I’d be remiss not to recommend a few events in my borough—especially since they are the perfect antidotes to sweltering August days in Manhattan. Lumen, currently on display at MoMA PS1 is an outdoor pavilion designed by the winner of this year’s Young Architects Program, Jenny Sabin Studio. The knitted structure senses and responds to its environment, providing cooling mists during the day and a glowing light at night. To experience it best, check out a private tour, led by Jenny Sabin and MoMA’s Sean Anderson, on Tuesday August 8th.


Then head over to one of my favorite spots, the ever-quirky Socrates Sculpture Park, and check out this year's winner of Folly/Function, the annual competition organized by Socrates and The Architectural League. Come on a Saturday to see the winning structures (Circle Shade - 2πR4 by Eva Jensen Design), and stay for the food trucks, goat-themed sculptures, farmer’s market stalls, and general good vibes. A perfect way to end an eventful August.

Past Editors