The City Architecture Forum is a cross-discipline group of professionals with a common interest in the quality of architecture and public space in the City of London. Formed in 1991 when there was a clear difference of view in the City about the appropriate architecture for the present, the Forum has since heard from the leading designers, developers and planners, visited many landmark buildings and debated the virtues of the wave of development since that date. It is not a campaigning society but hopes to influence policy makers and participants by spreading understanding of issues and approaches amongst its members.
Membership is balanced across disciplines to promote rounded discussion. Typically members are drawn from amongst Architects, Engineers, Surveyors, Planners, Constructors, Developers, Building, Financiers, Conservationists and Media.
Who could have ever even contemplated the events of the first part of 2020….
In a year when the noise of BREXIT negotiations has genuinely been overwhelmed by all that is COVID-19 and where we have all been either enjoying or enduring the process of WFH the dynamics of our Forum have also had to change and change significantly.
Having started our events programme for the year with a compelling ‘behind the scenes' visit to the West Smithfield Market site of the proposed new Museum of London -now consented- with Sharon Ament director of the Museum and Paul Williams from Stanton Williams, sadly lockdown ensued thereafter.
With great efforts from the CAF Committee we, like many others have adapted to the new ways of working and we are now mid-way through our summer online lecture series which has been a huge success. To date we have held four events featuring virtual building tours/introductions from; John Robertson with Golden Lane House; Eric Parry with 50 Fenchurch Street; and Dan Burr from Sheppard Robson with Citicape House on Holborn Viaduct.
On 14th July we then had Bruce McVean, Assistant Director City Transportation for the City of London Corporation, share with us the vision for transportation in the City. Not just in the COVID-19 period of limited commuting into the City, but also in the longer terms as street closures and building servicing regimes evolve and a more pedestrian friendly and simultaneously sustainable overall environment is created. The discussion was chaired for us by CAF member Roy McGowan of Momentum Transport Consultancy.
Looking forward to the rest of the year I’m pleased to say that we have a further series of on-line events including; 81 Newgate Street - the KPF reworking of the BT headquarters by St Paul’s’ (July 28th). 20 Ropemaker Street - the MAKE designed new 27 storey block overlooking the HAC grounds which has seen the City’s largest pre-let this year and which will be the new home of Linklaters (August 11th). 100 Leadenhall Street - a new SOM designed tower proposed for the Eastern Cluster (September 1st).
Further details and booking below for the Newgate and Ropemaker Street events.
For the past few months we have been fortunate enough to be able to provide a free programme of events. However please note that in order to keep the Forum running over the next few months your Committee has taken the unprecedented decision to make a token charge towards the lecture series with effect from September 1st. Events will now be a modest £5 per member and £10 for non-members. Hopefully when we can return to a degree of real life with people back in their offices and real live events and visits we can review this arrangement.
Finally and with much regret I confirm that in view of the ongoing uncertainties relating to COVID, social distancing etc, your Committee has taken the decision to cancel this years Annual Dinner. I’m sure you share my disappointment at the cancellation of what has become the social focal point of the Forum’s year, but it is a necessary consequence of these extraordinary times.
Our guest speaker was to be Sadie Morgan OBE, an architect and partner of dRMM, design champion and of much fame throughout the UK built environment with her many advisory appointments including Homes England and the National Infrastructure Commission. We are hoping that Sadie will join us for the 2021 Annual Dinner.
Talking of 2021, this leads me to my concluding comments when I will remind you that 2021 will be the 30th Anniversary of the founding of the Forum. Your committee has plans for a suitable event to celebrate this occasion and I will hope to reveal more later in the year.
Stay safe and well, and I hope to see you all face to face at a physical event before too long.
Andrew Reynolds, Chairman