British Council announces International
Architecture and Design Showcase 2012

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Dezeen Wire:
the British Council has announced the International Architecture and Design Showcase 2012, a season of exhibitions, installations, lectures and films at 50 international embassies and British cultural institutions across London to coincide with the London 2012 Olympics.

It will begin with the London Festival of Architecture on 23 June and end with the London Design Festival on 23 September.

Dezeen and writer/curator Beatrice Galilee will host Designed in Hackney Day on 1 August featuring Hackney design-themed talks, walks and workshops at Hackney House in Shoreditch. Read more about the day here and see our showcase of design and architecture from the borough here.

See all our stories about London 2012 »

The details below are from the British Council:


The International Architecture and Design Showcase 2012

A global gathering of architecture and design from around the world

For three months beginning on 21 June, over 50 international embassies and national cultural institutes across London will open their doors and display the work of emerging and innovative designers and architects from their countries.

Part of the British Council 2012 programme and the London 2012 Festival, the International Showcase is a unique opportunity to exchange ideas about the importance of architecture and design in a fast-changing world.

The Showcase will open with the London Festival of Architecture and conclude with London Design Festival. A range of events including exhibitions, installations, lectures, and films will lead a global debate about architecture and design exploring the relationship between the built environment and cultural, technological and environmental change.

Vicky Richardson, Director of Architecture, Design and Fashion at the British Council says: ‘This is the first time in London that so many countries have come together to discuss architecture and design. As one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, London is in a good position to host the Showcase, which we hope will bring us closer to less familiar cultures and international design ideas.’

International Exhibitions

One of the first projects to open is Urban Sports Pockets at the Austrian Cultural Forum, an exhibition examining the impromptu recreation spaces that have sprung up in London and Vienna. Concurrently the Embassy of the Netherlands will present Nolympics, a pop up display of un-realised Dutch Olympic architecture including work by practices BDP, KCAP and MVRDV. Home, curated by the Museum of Architecture, will examine the Middle East and North Africa with work by contemporary Arab and international architects from countries including Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Yemen, Bahrain and Qatar shown in a group exhibition at the Mosaic Rooms in Kensington.

Also in June the Italian Cultural Institute will host Pininfarina in London, an exhibition devoted to the leading industrial designers, while the Romanian Cultural Institute and architect Vlad Tenu open the installation of Minimal Complexities, in the atrium at Central Saint Martins.

The Architectural Association of Kenya will open with the Olympics on 27 July, in an exhibition which explores new thinking about the urban environment as confidence grows about the nation’s future.

Talks and Debates

On 28 June Architecture of Change: Four Continents, Five Perspectives will open at Ambika P3, University of Westminster. A group of award-winning exhibitions from the Caribbean, Namibia, Serbia, South Africa and Taiwan will present exhibitions of architecture, cities, sustainable design solutions, structures and ideas that have undergone radical shifts around the world. Ambika P3 will also be home to a series of talks, debates and events jointly organised by the British Council and the University of Westminster on the theme of Design Diplomacy.

On 4 July the Wellcome Trust, the Danish Embassy and the British Council will play host to the keynote debate of the London Festival of Architecture: Architecture as Antidote: should cities make us fit? A panel of architects and health experts debate the role of architecture and cities in creating healthy lifestyles. Should architects be part of the growing campaign of ‘fit cities’, or does this represent the medicalization of architecture? The debate will be chaired by Claire Fox, Director of the Institute of Ideas and a panellist on BBC Radio 4’s The Moral Maze. Speakers include Mirko Zardini, Director of the Canadian Centre for Architecture and curator of the recent exhibition Imperfect Health the Medicalization of Architecture and Teva Hesse, Head of London Branch, C. F. MØller Architects.

Workshops and mentoring

September will see Tanzania’s Anza Magazine, the first of its kind in East Africa, launch their third issue and host a series of open workshops about the magazine, while Kingston University will exhibit The Materials Project, the results of their exchange with the basket weavers of Lupane Women’s Centre in Zimbabwe.

Open House

The British Council is partnering with the Open House Worldwide Conference 2012 which, under the theme ‘Global Issues, Local Solutions’, will bring together experts from cities across the world to discuss how the built environment is evolving through sustainability initiatives. Following this, the Junior Open House Festival 2012 will see a number of International architects leading workshops to engage with young people in London.

Other Countries presenting work throughout the International Showcase include Burkina Faso, Japan, Peru, Russia, and South Africa, as well as international talks, hosted by the RIBA, from Croatia, Switzerland and The Czech Republic.

Silver Pigeon Award

On July 5th, the Silver Pigeon Award, commissioned by the British Council and the 2010 award winners, the Embassy of Japan, will be designed by Tomoko Azumi, and awarded to the best national contribution during the London Festival of Architecture. The award is London’s answer to the Golden Lion of Venice and is judged by a prestigious panel of international architectural voices: Professor Richard Burdett Director, LSE Cities Programme, Gunter Klix Architect, Dar es Salaam/Zurich, Rowan Moore Architecture Critic, The Observer, Comfort Mosha Publishing Director, ANZA Magazine, Vicky Richardson Director, Architecture, Fashion, Design, British Council, Catherine Slessor Editor of the Architectural Review, Victoria Thornton OBE Founder and Director, Open-City, Eckhard Thiemann Producer, Cultural, Olympiad and London 2012 Festival, Tamsie Thomson Director, RIBA London and Mirko Zardini Director, Canadian Centre for Architecture.