Every month architects and industry insiders share their recommendations for the best exhibitions and events to visit in London.
For many Londoners, summer is a time to get out of the city in search of slightly more reliable weather and open skies. The exodus isn’t as pronounced as it is in cities like New York and Paris, but it does mean that the trains, tubes and buses are less packed (the Overground even has air con making it the ideal place to read a book in a heatwave), and the exhibitions are less crowded.
After the frantic activity of June, with its festivals and pavilions, July is the ideal time to play catch up on things you might have missed and spend some time exploring.
There’s the chaotic display of the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition, which has already been open for a month and should have quietened down enough for visitors to actually see the work properly. On 13 July the RA’s Annual Architecture Lecture will be given by Bjarke Ingels – the youngest architect ever to deliver the talk in its 25 year history. This month, visitors will also be able clamber on a new public installation at Burlington House made from ceramic tiles by Istanbul-based SO? Architects.
Close by at the Grimaldi Gavin gallery is a small but disquieting exhibition of images by Japanese photographer Tomoko Yoneda. Featuring interiors and landscapes that all have something darker beneath the surface, the Beyond Memory exhibition includes work from Yoneda’s 2010 Japanese House series, concentrating on homes built in Taiwan between 1895 and 1945 during Japanese occupation.
There’s a last chance to explore the empty rooms and passageways of the old BBC Television Centre’s Drama Block, where hundreds of staff used to make costumes and props for the BBC's best and worst shows. The 1960s building is being demolished soon, but has been opened up one more time by Artangel to host an exhibition of films by artist Ben Rivers, but it’s the structure and the ghost of its former use that are the real attraction.
Fans of Brutalist architecture will either love or be appalled by the imposed fun of the summer programme at the Southbank Centre, which includes a tiny patch of sand optimistically described as an urban beach. This year, a range of indoor and outdoor installations and pavilions have been peppered through the site for its Festival of Love. The latter will play host to live performances ranging from the cringe-inducing to the revelatory.
There’s also still time to see the Carsten Holler: Decision exhibition at the Hayward Gallery – the artist’s largest show to date in the UK. The exhibition offers an immersive journey through a familiar building that has been made unfamiliar again with a landscape of metal ducts, slides, “flying machines” and more.
Over at the Architectural Association, Format – the school’s “live” magazine – returns for its fifth edition, which focuses on careers of architects, designers, writers and artists. The magazine will take the form of a series of talks delivered by pairs of speakers, over four days and the highlight of this edition will probably be designer Martino Gamper and architect Sam Jacob on 10 July. The duo will discuss the careers of furniture maker George Nakashima, publisher/designer/distiller Christoph Keller, punk performer Johnny Rotten and Archigram co-founder David Greene.