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

November 2019
Sophie Thompson
LDA Design

November is shaping up as an eclectic month with urban aquaponics, neuroscience and gin no less. This selection is mixed with a botanical infusion to nudge you from your desk or off the sofa.


November wouldn’t be complete without fireworks. This kind of tradition, where we come together and enjoy public space, helps to build a sense of belonging. So, to kick things off, head out to Wembley Park for the free Light Up the Night and celebrate the best of Diwali and Bonfire night. While there, check out progress on one of London’s largest regeneration projects – these days Wembley is becoming known for much more than football.


Against the backdrop of climate crisis marches, an awakening to biodiversity loss and the new Environment Bill, the Risk and Resilience conference at The Science Museum is timely to explore what it means on the ground to design and plan resilient places. In keeping with the theme of change, NLA’s Future Streets will provide new research and the chance to discuss new ways of moving around London and what these mean for the capital’s streets and spaces.


Pitzhanger, Sir John Soane’s country home in Ealing, hosts an intriguing and ambitious 18-metre-wide sculpture by Es Devlin OBE, a vast chronological landscape mapping pivotal shifts in human thinking over 75 millennia, and a personal cartography invoking collective memory of time and place.


As someone with an equal passion for making things and growing food, Green Lab in Bermondsey offers the chance to design and build your own urban aquaponics system. You’ll learn how to grow leafy greens using recycled materials, fish waste and a water recirculating system.


A trip to MIPIM in Cannes last year drove home the startling gender imbalance that still exists within the built environment profession. In fact, women still only represent 12 per cent of construction professionals. Anyone, of any gender, who is passionate about seeing change, should be part of the conversation Women in Construction at London Build 2019.

Smithfield comes to life after dark, as the meat market gets underway while the pubs and clubs party on. It is also on the cusp of major change with the relocation of the Museum of London. The Culture Mile Nights programme promises to be fascinating, as you explore the area’s layered history of trials and executions, riotous summer fairs, buried rivers, lost neighbourhoods and slaughterhouses. London’s history is connected intimately to the Thames River, so for a different kind of foraging head to the Thames shoreline for In the Footsteps of Mudlarks at Millennium Bridge, and beachcomb for fragments of London’s past from clay pipe stems to pottery.


It’s easy to get lost in certain places, but why? Renowned neuroscientist Kate Jeffrey will explore the kinds of environments that confuse us, and why landmarks matter so much in the Kevin Lynch Memorial Lecture: What neuroscience can tell us about our sense of place and sense of direction. For designers, it will offer the chance to back up hunches with science, and enjoy UCL’s beautiful Grade I Listed Wilkins Building.


Finally, darkening evenings need to feel sociable too so embrace Gin on the River, a three-hour tour of the rapidly changing area around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Hackney Wick and the East London Canal Network. Sit back, relax and enjoy East London’s rich industrial past and greener future!

Past Editors