Idencity: Six designs from the LSA to challenge the identity of London

4th June – 11th August 2018
Admission free.


Roca London Gallery showcases radical architectural and urban design proposals for London by students from the London School of Architecture working alongside some of Britain’s leading architects.


Proposals to shake up Crossrail2, superdensify Rotherhithe and remove the Thames Barrier are just some of the radical ideas that are explored at the Roca London Gallery this Summer in Idencity: six designs from the LSA to challenge the identity of London, an exhibition of The London School of Architecture’s 2017-18 Design Think Tanks.

Responding to this year’s London Festival of Architecture ‘identity’ theme, Idencity shows how architects in London can and should address vital issues around urban identity such as governance, wellbeing, ecology, infrastructure, density and tall buildings.  Exhibits are made up of large-scale installations, working models and drawings that describe a series of practical ideas developed by architects and students working together in Design Think Tanks over this academic year.

The London School of Architecture (LSA) was established to link practice and profession at a fundamental level and to reshape the relationship between academia and the research that happens within London’s top practices, focusing students intensively on real design issues in the capital.  By engaging with the authorities that shape the city on live projects, student cohorts create proposals that can have real impact, guided by a teaching group of practising architects – the Practice Network.

The Design Think Tanks, whose topics tackle the city’s most pressing issues and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, are led by LSA Director of Inter-Practice, Deborah Saunt of DSDHA, who has made the vital links between practices, the GLA, London’s local authorities and the School to ensure that the research goes beyond academia. 

The 2017-18 Design Think Tanks tackle the following subjects:

Architectural Agency: led by aLL Design and Orms, has looked back to the Agora, the heart of political life in Ancient Greece where citizens could participate in and influence public debate, as a template for how architects today might strengthen the relationship between local government and the communities they serve.  The proposal is for a ‘civic laboratory’, a new spatial proposition that will open up the debating chamber to the public, as well as engaging people across a network of locations.  The specific focus for this Design Think Tank is on Haringey Council.

Adaptive Typologies: led by Allies & Morrison, Penoyre & Prasad and Maccreanor Lavington proposes a superdense housing model.  This Design Think Tank has analysed Old Kent Road Opportunity Area to consider how to design sustainable buildings and neighbourhoods that foster genuinely inclusive, integrated communities in an area that is home to such a diverse group of people, yet is about to change due to increased transport connectivity.

Metabolic City: led by Studio Egret West and Klassnik Corporation, looks at the subject of well-being in an area south of North Acton station.  The site was chosen for the group by the GLA as it an upgraded station, bridge, homes and public space are planned for the area.  The students have identified the three core demographics - ethnic minority women, the elderly and inactive and obese children – and devised solutions that are open to all and that, crucially, offer ‘preventative design medication’.  The aim is to reduce the reliance on traditional healthcare by creating an environment that fosters well-being.

Global Currents: led by Grimshaw Architects, IDOM, Jestico + Whiles and Wimshurst Pelleriti, has explored architectural alternatives to the current conflict between overpopulation and well-being in world capitals, analysing a specific site in Rotherhithe that is currently being masterplanned for increased density.  The group looked specifically at how best to integrate the edges of the masterplan with the existing communities, with a focus on young families.

Emerging Tools: In response to the GLA’s London Infrastructure Plan 2050 and the developing proposals for Crossrail 2, this Design Think Tank, led by Hawkins\Brown (who are the appointed architects on three Crossrail stations), PDP and OEB Architects questions the policy, technologies, procurement and forms that infrastructure-related development takes, using a propositional project for an infrastructure hub at one of the new Crossrail 2 sites as a testbed for alternative possibilities.

New Knowledge:  offering perhaps the most conceptual responses from this year’s research projects, this Design Think Tank, led by Assemble, looks at resolving the very real and pressing issues of sustainable urban living.  The outcome is a strategic proposition for a new community in Southwark that fundamentally questions traditional social relations, typologies and forms of construction and focuses on somewhat startling proposals such as removing the Thames Barrier to impose a more symbiotic relationship between humankind and nature.

Exhibition curated by the students and practices of The London School of Architecture.
Exhibition design by Mathias Clottu.

The event takes place at Roca London Gallery, Station Court, Townmead Road, London SW6 2PY. T: 020 7610 9503  @RocaLONGallery

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Event schedule

Exhibition Schedule 04/06/18 – 11/08/18