Architecture Week

EMMA LEE Architecture Week is an annual celebration of the best in contemporary and historic building design. And this year’s event, from June 15-24, has a green theme. EMMA LEE has a look at what’s happening in Norfolk.


From ancient buildings such as Wymondham Abbey and Norwich Cathedral, to modern additions to the skyline, such as the Forum in Norwich, Norfolk has many stunning examples of architecture at its best.

But as we go about our busy daily lives, they can become just part of the furniture.

Architecture Week, which starts on June 15, aims to encourage the public to find out more about the buildings around them and take a greater interest in their environment.

It's hoped that this year's theme, how green is our space?, will make people question how they use their surroundings, how they travel, what they consume and what the consequences are.

Buildings contribute around 50pc of the UK's carbon emissions, with houses making up 25pc of that, which is a very good reason to draw attention to our buildings and consider their spatial, social and environmental impact.

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Architecture Week, now in its 11th year, is organised by Arts Council England, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Architecture Centre Network, and runs until June 24.

A diverse programme of national and regional public events will celebrate the best in contemporary and historic architecture - and across Norfolk there will be tours of landmark buildings, debates and exhibitions.

Louise Todd, Regional Director of RIBA East, says: “Wherever you live and whatever aspect of architecture, the arts or the built environment you're most interested in, we hope these events, exhibitions, talks and tours will give you the chance to celebrate the beautiful, ingenious, innovative, contemporary and historic buildings in our region.”

For information about Architecture Week visit and a printed guide is available from tourist information centres and libraries.


t Make Your Eco-pledge at the EcoHouse. June 15, 9am-5pm. Want to do your bit to help save the planet? Add your eco-pledge to the EcoHouse promise tree at The Forum, Millennium Plain, Norwich. The most original pledge on the day will win a prize donated by Norwich City Council. EcoHouse is a unique interactive exhibition offering practical tips and advice on saving energy in and making improvements to the home to help the environment.

t Visit Cley Marshes Visitor Centre - setting the standard for sustainable design. June 15-24, 10am-5pm. This new visitor centre, located on a site of special scientific interest in an area of outstanding natural beauty, has been designed by LSI Architects and incorporates a wealth of sustainable features & materials to minimise the environmental impact of the building on its surroundings. There will be tours on June 19 from 12.30pm-4.30pm. Admission to the centre is free, but there is a £3.75 fee for non-members to access the reserve. Phone 01603 625540.

t Swiss Modernism - An Exhibition by Peter Zumthor. June 15-16 and 18-23, noon-6pm, Atelier Bill Collaborative Architects, Piano Nobile, Prince of Wales Road, Norwich. Peter Zumthor's work explores the sensory qualities of space and materiality with a delicate minimalist and robust modernist approach to architecture, developed through a deep understanding. Admission is free. Phone 01603 461171.

t Visit Wymondham Abbey as it celebrates its 900th anniversary. June 15-16 and 18-23, 10am-5pm. June 17 and 24 2pm-5pm. Wymondham Abbey is one of the finest and most interesting historic churches in East Anglia, with its two tall towers dominating the countryside for miles around. It was founded in 1107, became an Abbey in its own right in 1448 and, since 1538, has served as the Parish Church of Wymondham. Admission is free - donations are welcome. Phone 01953 607062.

t Take a tour of Norwich Cathedral - downloadable pod-tour or guided tour. June 15-24, 8am-7pm. Norwich Cathedral is a superlative work of pure Norman architecture. Its robust, plain style is complimented by the later Gothic clerestory and vaults, making this one of the highest and lightest of English cathedrals. Download the pod-tour or take a guided tour - available Monday to Saturday at 10.45, 12.30 and 2.15 ( Admission is free. Phone 01603 218300.

t Visit Castle Acre Priory. June 15-24, 10am-6pm. Founded in 1090, Castle Acre Priory, Swaffham, is one of England's largest and best preserved monastic sites. The ruins include a 12th century church, Prior's Lodging, nearby buildings and recreated herb garden. The exhibition features a new display of artefacts, a computer fly-through of the Prior's Lodging and audio tour. Admission costs £4.70 for adults and £2.40 for children. Phone 01760 755394.

t Art Architecture Ltd, NewMu, King Street, Norwich - open studios. June 15 and 18-22, 9am-4pm. This innovative cluster of buildings establishes inspiring workspaces for businesses while creating connectivity between them thanks to enhanced communal areas. Crafted on existing historical fabric, the buildings are designed for internal and external fine art installations and exhibitions. There will be contemporary drawing and art on show in the Café/ Gallery Bar from June 18-20 and June 21-23 from 8.30am-11pm. Admission is free. Phone 01603 768558 for details.

t Behind the scenes tours of Norwich Playhouse, St George's Street, Norwich. June 16, 10am-noon. Ever wondered what it is like to be backstage in a theatre? Interested in exploring a building whose function and use today is dramatically different to its original purpose? Don't miss this rare opportunity to have a tour around Norwich Playhouse. Four half-hour tours are available. Admission is free, but booking is required as numbers are limited. Phone 01603 612 580.

t Concert by the South Norfolk Operatic Society at Wymondham Abbey. June 16, 7.30pm-9.30pm. A chance to hear a concert of summer songs performed in the beautiful surroundings of Wymondham Abbey. Admission costs £7, £6 concessions. Booking is advised. Phone 01953 604881.

t Holkham Hall: Bygones Museum and History of Farming Exhibition. June 17-21 and 24, noon-5pm. Tour the magnificent 18th Century Palladian Hall to witness the grandeur of the Marble Hall, state rooms and old kitchen. Take a cruise round the lake & discover the scenic Parkland. The Bygones Museum & History of Farming Exhibition include a large display of domestic & agricultural memorabilia. Hall only - adult £7, child (5-16) £3.50. Bygones Museum only - adult £5, child £2.50. Hall and museum - adult £10, child £5. Phone 01328 713103.

t Artist in Residence - Rachael Long at Wymondham Abbey. June 18-22, 10am-5pm. Rachael Long will be at work in the Abbey on projects inspired by the angels in the abbey roof timbers. Admission is free - donations are welcome. Phone 01953 607062 / 601939.

t Designing for the Sainsbury Centre. June 20, 6pm-7.30pm. Get a unique insight into design from international designer, George Sexton. George Sexton designed the original exhibitions and lighting at the Sainsbury Centre on the UEA campus in 1978, working alongside architect Norman Foster. George Sexton Associates continues to work with the centre today. Admission costs £4, £2.50 concessions. Advance booking is required. Phone 01603 593199.

t The Easton Perspective. June 25-30, 9pm-6pm. An exhibition, at the Forum, Millennium Plain, Norwich, celebrating two years dynamic work - designs, concepts and developmental installations of the completing HND, HNC 3D & Interior Design course students, including the First Year exhibition of Foundation Degree 3D Design & Enterprise students in association with LSI Architects. Admission is free. Phone 01603 731224.