Things that were, things that weren’t, things that are and things that may be

31 01 2010

Hidden away from the crowds up on Level 4 of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London is the wonderful Architecture Gallery full of drawings, models, photographs and architectural fragments from around the world. Here are a few of the fragments that especially appealed.

Things that were
Model citizens
One of the models is of the Sea and Ships Pavilion from the 1951 Festival of Britain at the South Bank, London designed by Sir Basil Spence.

Things that weren’t
Cathedral try-out
Continuing the Basil Spence theme is this model for a design from Alison and Peter Smithson entered into the 1951 competition to design the new Coventry Cathedral, which was won by Sir Basil. Our earlier post has more about Coventry Cathedral.

Things that are
Front view
A building that did get built, which I think still exists, is represented by this model of Villa Stein-de Monzie, Garches, France completed in 1928 and designed by Le Corbusier.

Things that may be
Electric city scape in a drowned world
Away from the Architecture Gallery, in the central courtyard, is what appears to be an elaborate interactive model of a future cityscape.

The installation is called Mirror, Mirror by Jason Burges which, according to the creator :

“explores the concept of narcissism and the individual’s relationship with space and others. The playful nature of the work encourages you to explore the interactivity and consider the interconnected relationships.

The white dot matrix digital panels seem to float on the pond, awakening as visitors come into view. Cameras mounted within the LED dot matrices capture activity in the garden and simultaneously reflect this back to the viewer; the animated images are then mirrored once again in the surface of the water, creating multiple reflections”

It is, like Shibboleth by Doris Salcedo, an installation that only works with the active involvement of the observer

still heart

— words by Paul
— pictures by Paul and Elizabeth




2 responses

31 01 2010

Good photos, intersting post. I’ve never been to the Architecture Gallery at the V&A – obviously, I’ve missed something worth seeing. I find architectural models fascinating – the interplay between the highly idealised prototype buildings and the very real materials of their construction. I hope this skill is never totally lost to CGI and ‘fly through’s.

31 01 2010
Inversion Layer

Thanks Sue, and good point about the risk from CGI. The launch of the VTP200 in Birmingham had a model as well as a fly-through but the model was very utilitarian compared to the ones above.

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