Birmingham Architecture Festival

PAST EVENT - 24-27 May

The independent Birmingham Architecture Festival will debut this spring with a series of exciting and innovative events to inspire the public, creative communities, construction professionals and architects alike to engage with our ‘Second City’ in fun, inventive and thought-provoking ways.


The theme for the festival is 'Take A Second Look'. No matter how long we have been inhabitants of a certain place, there is always something new to discover. The city of Birmingham is a vibrant, dynamic and ever-changing place and the festival aims to celebrate the quirks that make up this wonderful multi-cultural melting pot.

BAF2013 will host a range of events such as tours, lectures, exhibitions, screenings and workshops, all with the aim of celebrating the city, its architecture, its spaces and its inhabitants and hopefully encouraging all of us to take a second look.


The programme


Architectura Victoriana – Delivered by Laira Piccinato, Director of the Birmingham Architecture Festival and Ben Waddington, Director of the Still Walking Festival
The joint forces of Still Walking, Ikon gallery and Birmingham Architecture Festival invite you to come on a parallel guided walk of Architectura Victoriana.

Using John Henry Chamberlain’s masterworks as the lens with which to view the Victorian era, two tours will run side by side. The first, an emotional journey delving into the heart of the master’s portfolio, exploring the artistic notes his buildings left on the city. The second celebrating technical achievement, stripping down the façade of his work, metaphorically exposing the bricks and mortar and what may lie beneath. Which will you choose?

Wild Walls – Delivered by Ellen Pisolkar, Local Ecologist
Ever stopped to have a look at how many different plants and creatures actually live on the Architecture of our city? Join our local ecologist, with magnifying glass in hand, on a fascinating tour to investigate the secret lives of the wild walls of Birmingham.

Material World – Delivered by Ben Waddington, Director of Still Walking Festival
Every inch of the town and city around us has been designed, shaped and has a job to do. Material World examines the urban fabric of Birmingham to tell the story of the city, its natural resources and changing building methods, and provides a fascinating insight into the movement of valuable material around the world.

Jewellery Quarter Photoschool & Digbeth Photoschool Walks – Delivered by Matt and Pete’s Photoschool
In the words of Matt and Pete’s Photoschool: “we run a number of guided Photo Walks through the streets of Birmingham. A bucket of local history, hidden knowledge and unsubstantiated myth combine with tips and techniques to improve your photography. On a photo walk we Slow Down and Look Closer. Averaging a walking speed of 0.5mph you are encouraged to pay attention to your surroundings and dwell on parts of the city usually rushed through. These walks can be interesting even if you’re not into photography. By following our pace and guidelines you can see your city with fresh eyes, an approach which will stay with you.”

Derelict Buildings Tour – Delivered by Laira Piccinato, Director of the Birmingham Architecture Festival
The Director of the Birmingham Architecture Festival will be taking you on a tour of the Jewellery Quarter showing you around some of the most interesting derelict sites in the city. Birmingham has a large portfolio of derelict buildings within the city boundary. This tour will explore why so many buildings have become dilapidated, what their history/ use was before dereliction and ask the question: What can we do to save our buildings?



Pinhole camera Workshop – Delivered by Matt and Pete’s Photoschool, Laira Piccinato, Director of the Birmingham Architecture Festival and Jenny Duffin Festival Coordinator, Photographer and Artist
The day will start with 2 short talks: the first on the Architecture of Colmore Business District and the second on the origins and principles of pinhole photography. You will then be taught how a pinhole camera works and have the exciting task of building your very own camera. Once built, you will be free to take up to 10 photographs of the Architecture of the area, which we will then aid you in developing within the dark room.

Green Infrastructure for Ecosystem Services in the built environment – Delivered by RESET Development
This workshop will explore issues facing Birmingham of surface water management, urban heat island, and the quality of air, water and biodiversity. Led by experts in urban green infrastructure design, policy and implementation, this event will explore the local potential to adapt our towns and cities to climate change by working with the grain of nature.


Film Screenings

Series of Shorts – Delivered by Kino 10
Join us for an evening of short films curated by Kino 10. Highlights will include ‘Up there’ a short documentary about the life of billboard artists, ‘The Madman and the Cathedral’ the story of a man following his dream to build his own cathedral and ‘Pixels’ :when a series of 8 bit icons attack and engulf new york, one ‘block’ at a time.

Chico & Rita – Delivered by Kino 10
Join us for the beautifully animated Chico & Rita and be lured into a world of love, Jazz, betrayal and gorgeously drawn buildings. You will be transported from Cuba to New York to experience the exquisite delights of architectural drawing like no other.

You’ve Been Trumped – Delivered by Kino 10
Join us for this exclusive screening of one of the best documentaries of the last decade. Set in the Menie estate near Aberdeen, the film tells the story of how Donald Trump, American Tycoon, manages to overturn Scottish planning laws in order to build a golf course in one of Europe’s most environmentally sensitive stretches of coast, described by one leading scientist as Scotland’s Amazon rain forest. Funny, inspiring and heart-breaking, the film brings to light the appalling way Trump abused the residents of the estate, destroyed an ecosystem and broke promises he never intended to keep.



Sara Preisler
Sara Preisler will be producing a collection of contemporary jewellery inspired by the Architecture of Birmingham especially for the Birmingham Architecture Festival. Originally a sculptor, she has since built a reputation for originality of design and quality within the contemporary jewellery arena. In developing and promoting her collections of sculptural jewellery, she now stocks her work in a large variety of selected stores and galleries in the UK and the EU. During her time in business she has been selected to design and make jewellery for many prestigious clients including The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Birmingham Royal Ballet, Selfridges, London and The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Centre for Alternative Technology, Professional Diploma Exhibition
The Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales provides the UK’s leading courses in sustainable design within the context of the built environment. They will be exhibiting 3 of the finest Professional Diploma projects showcasing some of the UK’s leading talents in this arena.

Photography Exhibitions
We are delighted to announce that all of the participants of the photography events during the course of the festival will have the opportunity to exhibit their work to be admired by the general public.

Lecture series:
In the run up to the festival weekend there will be a lecture series delivered by MADE.



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