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New Perspectives: A Celebration at Balfron

New Perspectives: A Celebration at Balfron  Balfron Tower, Rowlett Street, Poplar, London. 1965. © RIBA Library Photographs Collection

Balfron Tower, Rowlett Street, Poplar, London. 1965. © RIBA Library Photographs Collection

6 June 2014
by Niamh Tuft

Saturday 21 June
12 noon - 7pm

Balfron Tower, St Leonards Road, London E14 0QT and other sites in Poplar

Download the full programme.

Join us at Ernö Goldfinger’s iconic Balfron Tower for a vertical carnival of events, workshops, tours and more to celebrate the culmination of the International Architecture Showcase in collaboration with Bow Arts Trust as part of their Balfron Season.

Exploring the fresh perspectives émigré architects bring to London as an international Capital, the International Architecture Showcase has paired ten UK practices with ten architects from around the world to collaborate on new ideas for Poplar in East London for the London Festival of Architecture 2014

Hear the results of this exchange whilst learning more about the architectural stories of Balfron Tower and Poplar. 

All activities are free and open to the public but please note that any activity that involves entering the Balfron Tower is pre-registration only. Many events are now sold
out but please visit the registration desk at the foot of the Tower to see if there is a chance to be included on the day.

Inside Balfron Tower


Vertical Carnival Tours
2pm, 2.30pm, 3pm and 4.30pm. Meeting Point: Foot of the Balfron Tower. Pre-Registration Required. *FULLY BOOKED*

Royal College of Art interior design students have created a collection of immersive tactile installations in response to the architecture of the Balfron Tower. Tours will follow a non-linear narrative that winds its way through and around the tower visiting each of the installations along the way.  Dance group H2, beatboxer Reeps One and musician/poet Huw Olseker will respond to the installations with performances during each tour.


Artist Tour of Balfron Tower with Simon Terrill and Dr Chantal Faust
3.30pm and 4pm Meeting Point: Foot of the Balfron Tower. Pre-Registration Required. *FULLY BOOKED*

Join artists and Balfron residents Simon Terrill and Dr Chantal Faust for a tour of the Balfron Tower organised by the National Trust London.



International Capital: The Role of the  Émigré in London
5pm – 6pm. Roof of the Balfron Tower. Meeting Point: Foot of the Balfron Tower. Pre-Registration Required. *FULLY BOOKED*

Hear Manick Govinda (artsadmin), Christopher Pierce (Architecture Association), Jonas Lencer (dRMM), Paula Velasco (MoVe Architects, Chile) and Vicky Richardson (British Council) speak about the role that émigré
architects have had on the Capital and the importance of new perspectives and international voices to London.



The Multiple Possible Urban Futures of Bromley-by-Bow
2.30pm – 3.30pm. Flat 131, Balfron Tower. Meeting Point: Foot of the Balfron Tower. Pre-Registration Required.

Join The Decorators and ISSSresearch&architecture to explore the possible urban futures of Bromley-by-Bow.  Develop Ideas – Find Resources – Reclaim Spaces – Negotiate Money – Use Time.  Don’t wait till things happen you, be part of the game now!


Outside Balfron Tower


View from the Ground Lansbury Walking Tour
11am-12.30 pm and 3pm – 4.30pm. 
Meeting Point: Foot of the Balfron Tower. Pre-Registration required. *11am tour FULLY BOOKED*

Starting from the foot of Balfron Tower, this tour led by Ralph War and Michael Owens of London Urban Visits, will explore planned and organic change since Abercrombie.  Supported by Bow Arts Trust.


Ten Ideas for Poplar
12.00 – 2.30pm. Brownfield Community Cabin. Drop in.

Hear the ideas that the International Architecture Showcase resident architects have been working up for Poplar.  Focused around five themes, Nature, Town Centres, Culture, Housing and Transition and four sites these ideas are the culmination of their collaborative work over seven days.

Up Projects Vertical Living Panel Discussion
7pm – 9pm. Brownfield Community Cabin. Pre-Registration Required. *FULLY BOOKED*

At a time when the Capital is experiencing vast regenerative changes, our panel will discuss international perspectives on regeneration, current changes evolving in East London and Balfron Tower itself. The panel will look at the role of the artist/architect in enabling social change and how communities develop in response.



Offcuts by Assembly
12 – 2pm and 4pm – 6pm. Community Garden. Drop in.

Offcuts is a creative game concerned with the topic of waste in the creative and production industries. Led by Assembly, this workshop is a hands-on exploration of architectural forms through different shapes and materials.

 East London Radio
12.00 – 3pm. Community Garden. Drop in.

East London Radio will be joining us to record people’s reaction to the changing face of Poplar and the new ideas generated through the International Architecture Showcase.

Balfron Bug Walk
2.30 – 4.30pm. Pick up a map from front desk. Self led.

The base of the Balfron Tower contains a rich ecology where rain captured on its concrete face is channelled into a fine line dividing civilization from wild natures. Take a walk, devised by Friend & Company and Jonathan Nsbuga, around the tower and make a map of sightings and observations of natures, both to artificial and natural. These maps will contribute to a ‘heat map’ of the same walk by others, building up patterns of habitation.

Right of Reply
3pm – 6pm, Community Garden. Drop in.

Contribute to the live editing process of a newspaper by Joe Pochodzaj & Kathryn Evans-Prosser that documents the residencies. Have your say on the future of Poplar, and directly contribute to a live record of the day.

The Limehouse Cut Parade
3pm – 6pm. Foot of the Balfron Tower. Drop in.

Delvendahl Martin and GAISS Architects invite visitors to create an exemplar float from 300 biodegradable latex balloons. The float created will fly as a symbol of the Limehouse Cut Parade and visitors can tie messages of their own to the balloons with reflections on the Limehouse Cut.  At 6pm, these balloons will be released as a final celebratory gesture, sharing the collected ideas with the rest of the city.

A City for All
3pm – 4.45pm. Brownfield Community Cabin. Drop in.

The making of a good city is about creating the opportunity for a mixed and varied neighbourhood, with individuality and a social life. This event is about contributing to the development of the new neighbourhood at Bromley-By-Bow.  Karakusevic Carson Architects and BCVA have created the framework - it is your job to fill it in. Make your contribution to the physical model, and let it become a part of ‘a city for all’.

Negotiating Transition
3pm – 3.45pm. Brownfield Community Cabin. Drop in.

Join Natasha Reid and UrbanWorks Architecture and Urbanism in re-imagining an industrial East London site through the perspective of emerging world insights. In reaction to the radical redevelopment of the area, an interactive model will allow you to hand-make your own piece of Poplar from the scale of the individual.

London Megacity 2030
3pm – 5pm. Meet at front desk, Balfron Tower. Drop in.

Studio TILT and MOE+ will explore the size and scale of the megacity through an open invitation codesign workshop. They will compare London with Lagos as a way to understand how a self-organising urban framework can be an exciting way to design a London for the future. Please come along and take part!

Completing the mural
3pm – 4.30pm. Concrete Playspace. Drop in.

Help Duggan Morris and ZAV architects produce a large-scale continuous mural providing a propositional commentary on their site at Bromley-by-Bow.  Make visible the qualities and values which make the place what it is today and celebrate what it may become in the future.

Visual Evolution
4.15 – 5pm. Brownfield Community Cabin. Drop in.

Hands-on paper workshop with Sarah Wigglesworth and Kane Yanagawa

Crisis Point: Planning a Housing Co-operative
4.30pm – 5.30pm. Concrete Playspace, Balfron Tower. Drop in.

DK-CM and Aet Ader are proposing a high-density housing co-operative for Bromley by Bow. Join us for a roundtable planning meeting where we will explore the realities of setting up such a housing model in the Lower Lea Valley, using ‘Radical Routes: How to Set Up a Housing Co-operative’ as a starting point.


Further Afield


Chrisp Street on Air: the Architecture Show
12-6pm, 11 Market Way, Chrisp Street Market, Drop in.

 A small exhibition will present photographs, film projections and audio about the Chrisp Street on Air project.  Between 4pm – 5pm a special live architecture show will be broadcasted with interviews and discussions about the Balfron Tower and the International Architecture Showcase.


Claiming Culture
3pm – 4pm. The Floating Cinema, Cotall Street, Entrance to Limehouse Cut towpath by Upper North Street Bridge, London. E14 6JX. Pre-Registration Required.

 Screening of a film made from a collage of images, cultural manifestations and new cultural proposals by Chilean architects. The video is a portrait of the preoccupation about creating ‘spaces for culture’ in Chile, and is an investigation some of the places and circumstances that allow things to happen. The video will be followed by an open conversation led by Liza Fior (muf) and Paula Velasco (MoVe).


UP Projects Vertical Living Screening and Panel Discussion

6pm – 7pm, The Floating Cinema, 
Cotall Street, Entrance to Limehouse Cut towpath by Upper North Street Bridge, London. E14 6JX,
Pre-Registration Required. *FULLY BOOKED*

At a time when the Capital is experiencing vast regenerative
changes, this screening followed by a panel discussion at Balfron will explore the changes evolving in East London and the challenges of vertical living.


*Music by The Awalas*
2.30pm ––– 4pm
Community Garden. 
Local music group The Awalas play some 
of their favourite tunes.


*Food and Drink*
Maureen’s Pie & Mash
Café Santiago
Wicked Whippy Ice Cream
Bar in The Brownfield Social Club (from 3pm)

Please be aware that food and drinks can only be purchased using cash. The nearest cash point is at Chrisp Street Market.