Sketching Skyscrapers at One New Change as Part of the Open City Archikids Festival

This weekend has seen the second outing of the popular Archikids festival.  First trialled last year as a compliment to the regular series of Open City events, the aim of the festival is to build an awareness of the  architecture of the city and open up some of the best places to see it.  I’ve long been a supporter of Open City and what they try to do and so whenever I get a chance I offer up my services as a volunteer.

Of course the name says it all, this is an architectural festival for Kids, Archikids, and this year amongst the spaces open for exploration and fun and games were the Gherkin, Leadenhall Market, Broadgate and One New Change, the upmarket shopping arcade overlooking St. Pauls Cathedral.

St. Pauls as seen from One New Change and as through the eyes of one of the Archikids

St. Pauls as seen from One New Change and as through the eyes of one of the Archikids

And it was at One New Change where I was based.  At the top, six floors up on a terrace it has surely the best view of the Cathedral in the city as well as an unrestricted view south, across the river.  On top of Ludgate Hill, it is here where the city of London was first conceived.  A gravel hill which would have led down to the Fleet in one direction and the Walbrook in the other.  It had the conditions ideal for settlement, just high enough to make a stab at things without having to worry too much about the swampy conditions all around.

So it’s a good spot to learn about the city and get a feel for the architecture that makes up it’s skyline.  The Palace of Westminster, Battersea Power Station, the Tate Modern, the Shard and Southwark Cathedral can all be spotted with a great view over to the mast at Crystal Palace too.  The activity was to sketch the city skyline on specially prepared acetate sheets attached to the glass panelling enclosing the roof terrace.  Each skyline would evolve as different children would add different buildings with the resultant pieces becoming a series of collaborations between all the kids who had taken part.  Normal entry up to the top of One New Change is free although many don’t realise and miss the chance to see the city from this unique angle.

The aim of the game was to sketch the skyline

The aim of the game was to sketch the skyline

Needless to say the kids, and in some cases, the adults had a great time as they used their imaginations to re-create the city.  The most popular structures being the Shard, St. Pauls and , randomly, cranes because of the sheer volume of them.  One things for sure, when you start looking at London from high up it becomes increasingly obvious just how much development is going on to such an extent that the same skyline will look completely different should the same activity be held at the 2015 Archikids festival.

So for this post I thought I’d show you some of the images of the day.  The aim was to get kids thinking about the city and the different type of architecture that makes it so special and to get young people talking about buildings as well as the space in which they inhabit and with that aim in mind I think it was largely successful.

Archikids is free and was hosted by Open City and took place in locations all over the City of London on Saturday 26 July and Sunday 27 July 2014.  It is part of a series of events aimed at increasing understanding of the space in which we live.

Archikids Gallery

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