As the winners of this year's RIBA Awards London are announced, Emma Flanagan salutes a diverse city astir with talent that will react positively and with ingenuity to the unfolding political and social climate
I am lucky enough to be part of the varied, lively and ever evolving landscape that is London. ‘Our London’… That is, until I am pushed out by rising rents and lack of ‘affordable’ housing. Until then I make the most of our sleepless city and everything it has to offer as a forward thinking global centre.
The unfolding social and political climate we find ourselves in requires us to react positively. Regardless of differing stances we need to move forward to address overarching issues within our city. Designing in difficult circumstances encourages ingenuity and invention to thrive; economical, smart, adaptable and robust solutions are born.
The thing I admire the most about London is the diversity, opportunity and creativity spawned from these constraints. Every problem invites a solution.
Our city is astir with talent which we must harness to inform and shape future policies.
I am continually impressed by the scale and ambition of development – preserving, repairing and reinventing. We have always proved resilient in difficult times and I trust that our developing climate will give rise to designs that transcend operational, physical and metaphorical barriers.
It’s exciting to see emerging ideas for high density housing in the city advance; buildings that help ease the pressure on the housing market but drive the agenda for shared space. Such designs create places that push social interaction and inspire communities to form. They can support an ‘over the fence’ effect where buildings direct neighbours to engage rather than fostering privacy and obstruction.
A powerful experience of architecture invites us to turn our attention outside its materiality. The most successful buildings in London are not based purely on existential form but on their implied and invisible content, on the images and sentiments they evoke through a careful curation of moments and the way we are invited to populate and engage within these environments.
Emma Flanagan is an associate at PH+ Architects, London E1
RIBA London Awards 2017 – The full list
To make the 50 award-winning buildings more navigable we have split them into typologies. Click on the images to find out more.
See our special RIBA Awards 2017 section for all this year’s winners.