You might have noticed this oddball cantilevered tower overshadowing Stratford.
It's called Manhattan Loft Gardens. It's not in Manhattan, I don't suppose it has a loft, and I can't see any gardens.
But you can. London Festival of Architecture is offering tours of this 42-storey behemoth, designed by SOM Architects. The tower manages to conceal THREE sky gardens within its bulk, and offers no-doubt impressive views. The free tours run on all five Saturdays in June, and can be booked here.
The skyscraper tours are just a tiny part of this year's London Festival of Architecture. The full programme runs to some 400 events, including walks, tours and talks. Here are a few highlights that are free to visit:
1. Seek out these City Parklets
The London Festival of Architecture has always played a hand in reshaping the streets of London, with pop-up sculptures and pavilions. This year's festival will include a number of 'City Parklets' — miniature green spaces, like the one shown above. 1-30 June throughout the City.
2. Get a new perception of the Thames
Liminal is an art work by the enviably named Wolfgang Buttress, which promises to 'alter our experience and perception of the river'. It's a bit hard to fathom how the 4.5-metre tall sculpture will work, from the description and image, but it apparently uses mirrors and aluminium panels to 'blur boundaries between 2D, 3D and 4D'. Take that last D with a pinch of salt. 1-30 June between Blackfriars and Southwark Bridges (north bank).
3. Explore the Royal Docks
Ever taken a look around the Royal Docks, other than a trip to ExCel, or a brief, unfulfilling nosey around the cable car station? It's a hugely historic area, including what was once the world's largest enclosed dock. This self-guided walk offers a three mile route around the docks, taking in the area's past and its quickly unfolding future. Pick up a guide from RAW Labs or Lockside Kitchen at Royal Albert Wharf (times here). While you're in the area, pop into this exhibition about migration, regeneration and community in the Royal Docks. 1-30 June.
4. Visit a lofty pavilion
No LFA would be complete without a spectacular pavilion. This year, we can look forward to 'The Wooden Parliament' designed by Spanish architects Cristina Díaz Moreno and Efrén Ga Grinda. As you can see, the pavilion will appear beside Coal Drops Yard in King's Cross. Have a wander inside, or look out for one of the special events taking place within. 3-30 June.
5. Tour the Ram Brewery
Actually, you can't. The historic Wandsworth home of Young's closed down a few years ago, for conversion to posh flats, a new brewery and a heritage centre. But the Grade II* brewery complex has been left largely intact. The festival offers free tours of what is now called the Ram Quarter, including access to some usually off-limits locations. 22 June.
We've hardly scratched the facade here, so do check out the festival's website for hundreds of further tours, walks, talks and interventions.
London Festival of Architecture, 1-30 June 2019.