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Greener and taller London

20 June 2012

A major public exhibition opening this week – The Developing City – will display top architects’ visions of the City of London in 2050. The Square Mile will become greener with more parks and verdant riverside walkways while the buildings will have to become taller to accommodate continued growth, they say.

The exhibition explores the relationship between the architecture of the City of London and its success as a global mercantile centre, It takes place at The Walbrook Building – a Foster + Partners’-designed building on Cannon Street – between 21 June and 9 September. It shows the growth of the City since Roman times, the impact of the Great Fire and the Blitz and how the current financial turmoil will affect the sort of buildings that get built.

This headline event of the London Festival of Architecture 2012 has been organised by NLA – London’s Centre for the Built Environment with the support of City of London Corporation.

The exhibition will feature 40 scale models of recent and proposed schemes in the City. In addition, three teams of architects, supported by consultants and property professionals, are displaying their ‘Visions for 2050’ in response to a series of drivers of change, including governance, climate change and banking regulation. The teams are:

Gensler with Eric Parry Architects, Happold Consulting, Buro Happold, LSE, Royal College of Art, Siemens and RWDI; the team proposes a major park from Hampstead to the City on the route of the old River Fleet and along the banks of the Thames.
Woods Bagot with Brookfield and Hilson Moran, who call for the City to ‘grow up’ and build more tall buildings to the east so that it can provide better quality public space at ground level.
John Robertson Architects with British Land, Land Securities and Arup illustrate a de-carbonised City with pedestrianised streets, more green space and a new financial centre at Aldgate.

Peter Murray, curator of the exhibition and Chairman of NLA: London's Centre for the Built Environment said: "The exhibition looks at the way the places and buildings of the City have changed to suit the needs of the businesses that operate, and succeed, there. Over centuries the Square Mile has changed from a busy port to the financial capital of the world; it has been destroyed and rebuilt; redundant buildings have been replaced and new ways of working accommodated. It continually reinvents itself and will continue to do so. The exhibition shows what the City could look like in 2050: a greener City, a taller City - in the right places – a quieter, cleaner City, a City that places quality of life at the top of the agenda as one of the key ingredients that attracts high level workers to the Square Mile."

The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of breakfast talks, curator’s tours, walks, building visits and other special events.

The Developing City is accompanied by a programme of events, including breakfast talks, curator-led exhibition tours, evening debates and lectures, building visits and walks.

Most events are free and take place in, or start from, the exhibition space at The Walbrook Building. Please note that booking ahead recommended.

Breakfast talks
Early morning talks and debates on the history and future of development in the Square Mile.

Friday 22 June – Visions of the City in 2050
Three teams of architects, developers and property professionals present their visionary images of how the City might look in 2050 as it adapts to changes in governance, infrastructure, climate and work, with responses from leading City figures.

Friday 6 July – The Resilient City
The City’s ability to adapt and respond to major events, including pestilence, fires, the Blitz and IRA bombings, has ensured its place as centre of mercantile trade for the past 800 years. In this breakfast talk we examine how the City responded to major events throughout its history.

Friday 20 July – Conservation Today
What challenges does the City face to maintain and conserve the best of its heritage while meeting the needs of a competitive global city?

Friday 3 August – Buildability
Sir Stuart Lipton recently proposed a challenge to designers to reduce the cost of building in London, while maintaining exceptional quality and energy credentials. In this talk we look at how two developer/contractors and their design teams, with unrivalled expertise in the construction of tall buildings, address issues of buildability to deliver office space that is efficient both to build and to use.

Friday 17 August – What Lies Beneath
The Roman Temple of Mithras was discovered here along Walbrook in the 1950s during rebuilding work, and is currently being excavated on the building site just next door. Hear about the impact that key archaeological discoveries have had on our understanding of the development of this international financial capital.

Friday 31 August – The Edge Condition: Emerging areas of the City
As areas on the fringe of the Square Mile, such as Farringdon, Shoreditch, and Aldgate develop into new centres for creative, financial, media and technology industries, this event will examine how the City is growing and adapting to the needs of new industries, and debate the condition of edge spaces on the ‘red line’.

Curator's tours
Peter Murray, curator of The Developing City, leads guided tours of the exhibition, discussing the key themes, and answering your questions. Tours take place on alternate Tuesday and Friday lunchtimes, plus some Saturdays.

Twin walking tours, led by the Blue Badge Guides, covering both eastern and western areas of the City, will look at the interplay of new and old architecture, demonstrating the complexity of inserting new ideas and developments into the dense urban fabric of the City's medieval street-plan.

Building visits
An opportunity to see inside some of the City's best new buildings, led by the developers, architects and engineers involved, on Wednesday lunchtimes.

Late events
Evening talks, lectures and debates followed by drinks and networking, with some of the key figures involved in documenting or shaping the City.

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