The theme of this year’s London Festival of Architecture (LFA) was ‘Community’. Every day hundreds of people walk, run or cycle past our studio on the Regent's Canal – most oblivious to our presence. By opening our studio doors on Saturday 25th June, this gave us a fantastic opportunity to connect with those passers-by and give them an insight into what we do.
A queue quickly formed for those eager to try out the virtual reality (VR) headset. VR is a valuable new addition to the architect’s toolkit and is set to revolutionise how we work and collaborate with our clients. We are increasingly using VR technology to help us visualise the spaces we design, and to help our clients understand and engage in key design decisions of their future building.
Whilst waiting for their turn on the VR goggles, guests enjoyed home-baked cakes (made by Cullinan Studio members); an exhibition about how we are embracing new technologies such as VR, augmented reality, design gamification and off-site construction; watched a short documentary about our recent research project (IVIC); and examined working models of recent projects.
Meanwhile, upstairs, free ‘Ask An Architect’ sessions were taking place for people looking for architectural advice on projects they were considering, such as the refurbishment of an ex Council Estate flat or the rejuvenation of a farm complex in Latvia.
Another way we felt we could contribute to our community was by supporting a local charity. We gave the money raised from donations for the home-baked cakes to Islington Giving; an independent group of funders, businesses, residents and voluntary organisations working together to tackle poverty and inequality in Islington – and based just up the road from our studio. They focus on investing in young people, supporting families and reaching isolated people. It is reassuring to know - as all of Islington Giving’s running and administration costs are covered - that 100% our donation will go to support local projects.
And we look forward to welcoming people to our 2017 LFA Open Studio event.