As part of London Festival of Architecture 2013 Ramboll engineers conceived the Fitzrovia Chalkboard for the Great Titchfield Street Festival. One of a number of events planned for the month long festival, the inaugural street project aimed to promote positive change in the area, transforming Great Titchfield Street – from Mortimer Street up to Langham and Foley Street – into a pedestrianised haven for the day. The street festival commenced at 12.00pm and ran until 6.00pm, as part of the Fitzrovia Trail – a day co-ordinated by RIBA London with local architects, designers and engineers.
Fitzrovia Chalkboard was a temporary installation that created a single point of display for collective messages in the local community – a structure that in of itself was a massive writing surface for all to contribute. Inspired by how local, independent businesses rely on the traditional chalkboard as a means to advertise and mark their place on the street, in a time when technology offers many alternatives, Fitzrovia Chalkboard was designed using such recent advances and the public were invited inside the structure to view its innovative construction. It was greatly enjoyed by all ages with the boards quickly covered in chalk and much admired both in use and for its design.
Inspired by Ramboll’s recent Trada Pavilion, the structure comprised of 47 birch plywood panels joined together by steel hinges. It was designed using methods developed by Ramboll Computational Design to produce exact cutting patterns for digital fabrication. All panels are numbered sequentially and this approach ensures that all panels fit together to create the form in a quick assembly process.
Local restaurants and cafes made the most of the traffic-free street, to create a true street party atmosphere providing outdoor seating areas and entertainment. In addition, there was free ice cream and face painting for children and visitors enjoyed live music from the swing band ‘Valentino’ and cabaret singer Kai Hoffman.
The street festival, conceived by Morrow + Lorraine Architects, was made possible by the collaborative efforts of the local community, including the main sponsor Fitzroy Place and the contributions of Exemplar, developer of Fitzroy Place, Savills, Gleeds and Sir Robert McAlpine.
Find out more about the Great Titchfield Street Festival by visiting www.londonfestivalofarchitecture.org.