On Saturday 25 February, the NLA galleries were awash with over 600 visitors gaining free advice and insight from home extensions experts. The packed day of events included 160+ one-to-one consultation sessions, two hour-long talks, and tours and drawing workshops to entertain and engage children in London’s built environment.
Featuring free advice from some 25 practices across engineering, surveying, architecture, and landscape and interior architecture – including five of this year’s winning architects – the 25-minute one-to-one sessions allowed practitioners to respond to a myriad of different projects and questions.
Providing further inspiration and practical advice, the two lunchtime talks highlighted the importance of high-quality design and multi-functional spaces in London homes, where space often has to work twice as hard to deliver everyday needs in a condensed footprint. The experts gave key tips for progressing with projects, from creating a design mood board, getting through planning, and the importance of picking an architect and builder that you like – whilst also respecting their opinions and time. Heralding the impact of a limited palette of carefully-chosen, striking materials, the speakers presented a range of ideas – from feature staircases in 1960s modular houses, to interventions in small flats and Edwardian ground-floor extensions.
Extending the home-improvements ‘bug’, a full day of drop-in workshops encouraged children to act as the architect of their own home by designing their dream bedrooms, whilst two walking tours explored the neighbourhood revealing secret sunken gardens and Egyptian mummies via nearby architectural icons including Senate House and the British Museum. Visitors were also privy to a number of offers in nearby shops and restaurants, with stores including Lombok, BoConcept, Heal’s and Busaba Eathai welcoming visitors with 20% off to celebrate Fitzrovia’s role as London’s premier hub of design-led homeware shops.
With all events fully booked at Saturday’s open day, NLA is extending the opportunity with three further Design Surgeries taking place on 20 May, 5 August and 30 September, giving homeowners another chance to get free advice from the practices featured in this year’s Don’t Move, Improve! competition.
Jenine Hudson, New London Architecture
For more information about the Don't Move, Improve! 2017 exhibition click here