Have you ever watched a movie in a Tauranga laneway, worn a virtual reality headset to bring drawings to life or designed a city using lego?

If not, these are some of the experiences on offer at this year's Festival of Architecture where a range of events are running until September 22.

The nationwide festival is in Tauranga for the second time after a successful turn out last year.

Architect and festival organiser, Shara Paulo, said the event was about bringing architecture to life.

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"It's easy to talk about architecture, but we want to build on last year's momentum and do something different," she said.

Highlights for this year's festival include the Virtual Reality in Architecture Workshop where people have the opportunity to test drive technology that allowed them to change the design of buildings as they walk through; Love our Laneways Pop-up where a city laneway would be transformed into an outdoor area; and CBD Treasures Family Challenge where people could download an app and complete challenges around the city.

Paulo said the idea to create Love our Laneways, alongside Groundswell and Creative Bay of Plenty, was about testing what was possible for Tauranga.

The outdoor area would create a vibrant space for interactive art displays, music, games and food trucks.

Paulo said Tauranga had "good bones" for the CBD's laneways to be used and she saw potential similar to how Melbourne had turned their laneways into iconic city attractions.

"It's not just about the buildings themselves but the spaces between them where we can create vibrant, intimate outdoor spaces," she said.

Paulo said the Laneway Cinema Night, on September 15, would be a favourite among visitors where people had the chance to watch Citizen Jane: Battle for the City in the Laneway.

The events were all free and open to everyone in the community, Paulo said.

She said the festival attracted a range of different people including children, family and those directly in the architect industry.

"Anybody is welcome, and NZIA [New Zealand Institute of Architects Incorporated] is hoping to inspire the next generation of architects."

Sample of Festival of Architecture events

For a full list of events visit www.nzia.co.nz/festival-of-architecture/tauranga-hamilton-events

Laneway Cinema Night
Date: Saturday, September 15
Time: 6pm-8pm
Film: Citizen Jane: Battle for the City
Venue: Laneway off Grey St
Participation: Free by registration
Sponsor: Modern Office

NZIA Festival of Architecture
Opening: An Urban Renewal Story
Key Participants: Brian White, Grant
Edwards
Opening Speaker: Cr. Larry Baldock
Date: Thursday 13 September
Time: 5.30pm–7.30pm
Venue: Tauranga Art Gallery
Participation: Free by registration
Sponsors: Formans, Mico, Studco

CBD Treasures Family Challenge
Date: Friday, 14-Sunday 23, September
Time: Refer to challenge
Venue: Various locations in Tauranga to
be advised following registration
Participation: Free by registration
Sponsors: Hafele & Sport Bay of Plenty

Guided Tours of The Elms with
Devonshire Tea
Tour Guide: Gerry Hodgson
Date: Sunday, 16 September
Time: 11am–12.30pm
Venue: Tour will commence at The Elms
Participation: Free by registration
Sponsor: DHT Architects