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1:1 Architects Build Small Spaces (pt. II)

Seven small structures scattered around the V&A complex form the exhibition 1:1 – Architects Build Small Spaces. Instead of using drawings and models to explain architecture, this exhibition allows the visitor to experience the architecture itself.

Most architectural exhibitions do not exhibit real architecture. Drawings, photographs and models, however skilfully rendered, cannot fully communicate what it really feels like to stand in a particular space, to touch the walls and even to smell the very materials from which it has been made.

In response to this, the V&A has commissioned seven small buildings with the intention of construction them at full-scale somewhere within the museum. Hunting within the magnificent yet sprawling V&A complex in search of architecture is an irony that is cleverly exploited to reveal the museum building and its collection in ways previously unconsidered. Soon - the ‘small spaces’ themselves begin to act as intermediary and interpreter of the grand collection.

Each architectural fragment was designed for a particular space both within the collection and the museum building. It is perhaps the most intriguing of all architectural contexts. Fabulous juxtapositions occur. A plaster-cast of an informal Indian alley dwelling has a picture window overlooking Michelangelo’s David. A tower of pulp fiction rises up towards the V&A’s National Art Library, and a Japanese teahouse on stilts overlooks a magnificent medieval timber staircase. There is a strong sense of the Disneyesque - albeit with impeccable cultural taste.

The use of tactile materials such as charred forest thinnings, lazer-cut acrylic sheet, and CNC routed birch trees reveal the curatorial desire to explore the role of contemporary craft, technology and narrative in architecture. The exhibition itself reveals a surprisingly contemporary edge to the V&A.

Victoria and Albert Museum, London
15 June – 30 August 2010

1:1 - Architects Build Small Spaces is part of the London Festival of Architecture
which takes places from 19 June – 4 July 2010.
Admission is free.
Open daily 10.00 – 17.45 and until 22.00 every Friday.

Ratatosk by Helen & Hard Architects (Norway)
Beetle’s House by Terunobu Fujimori (Japan)
Inside/Outside Tree by Sou Fujimoto (Japan)
Ark by Ringtala Eggertsson (Norway)
Woodshed by Rural Studio (USA)
In-between Architecture by Studio Mumbai (India)
Spiral Booths by Vazio S/A (Brazil)

Exhibition curator:
Abraham Thomas, Curator of Designs at the V&A and lead curator for architecture

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