Architecture in Focus: May 2014
By Kate Goodwin
Published 20 May 2014
From exhibitions, talks and events at Clerkenwell Design Week to the opening of the 9/11 Memorial Museum.
Clerkenwell Design Week
Clerkenwell Design Week is upon us - running until 22 May, and there is the usual plethora of exhibitions, talks and events. With four main exhibition venues, it is a great way to see what the established designers are up to and to spot new local and international talent. Key event highlights include a pavilion by Studio Weave, with accompanying craft workshops, talks by the likes of the Brazilian duo The Campana Brothers, Ben van Berkel of UN Studio, and Royal Academicians Sir Peter Cook and Ron Arad. It is also a chance to explore the Church, Crypt and Cloister garden of the Order of St. John which will house ‘Detail,’ a showcase luxury interior decoration.
The Towers Debate
The debate continues about tall buildings in London - as was covered in a recent Royal Academy blog. It has emerged that over 230 tall buildings are in the pipeline for London in the next decade. What does this mean for the skyline, but more importantly, for the social and urban infrastructure of the city not just in the sky but on the ground? In a public debate at the LSE on Monday 2 June, these issues will hopefully have a good airing by a heavyweight panel involving Nicholas Boys Smith (Create Streets), Paul Finch (World Architecture Festival), Piers Gough RA (Architect), Simon Jenkins (National Trust), Rowan Moore (Observer), Tony Travers (LSE) with a response from Nicky Gavron, chair of the Planning Committee at the London Assembly.
The National Gallery has just opened a fascinating exhibition Building the Picture which explores the role of architecture in Italian Renaissance painting of the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. It presents an insightful lens through which to look at the works of the likes of Duccio, Botticelli, and Crivelli, but also to think about architecture and streetscapes. If you don’t have a chance to get to the exhibition, you can watch the five short films where cultural figures including Swiss architect Peter Zumthor and art historian T J Clarke discuss their work, imagined architecture and the parallels they see with the ideas occupying these Italian Renaissance painters.
The 9/11 Memorial Museum
The 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York opens to the public on 21 May, after nearly 10 years in the planning and completes the memorial project. Sited at one corner of the Memorial Plaza with its great cavernous cube water fountains (opened in September 2011), the Museum has a distinctive pavilion designed by Norwegian architectural practice SNØHETTA, who gave the RA Annual Architecture Lecture in 2009. They have created an angular glass structure which forms an entranceway to the underworld below and houses a pair of rusted structural columns called ‘tridents’ rescued from the remains of the twin towers. According to Craig Dykers, “Our desire is to allow visitors to find a place that is a naturally occurring threshold between the everyday life of the city and the uniquely spiritual quality of the Memorial. It is important that people physically engage with the building and feel that it helps lead them on to other areas of the site and other thoughts about their experiences there.”
Kate Goodwin is the Drue Heinz curator for Architecture at the RA.