Zaha Hadid CBE RA, Design for Proposed Museum in Vilnius, Lithuania. Computer-rendered image
Gordon Benson, responsible for this year’s architecture room, refers to ‘the impossibility of replicating the experiential reality of architecture in a gallery, no matter how sophisticated the IT or models.’ He continues, ‘The exhibits displayed are both beautiful in themselves, and carry significant information about the way they were generated: thoughts, feelings, place and poetics, which inform an individual work.’ Benson has also juxtaposed the exhibits in order to suggest ‘the continuity of these ideas across decades and the commercial/cultural divide’.
The work of three generations of architects can be seen here. To begin with there are those at the start of their careers, some already known, some not, who necessarily develop and illustrate their ideas through drawings, models, installations and small projects: Adrian Hawker and Mark Dorian, Prof. CJ Lim, Ricardo Flores, and Sutherland Hussey. Then there are the architects who came together at the Architectural Association in the 1970s, who challenged the orthodoxy and hegemony of their profession and are currently among the most influential architects in the world: Zaha Hadid, Peter Wilson and Julia Bolles, Will Alsop, David Chipperfield, Wolf Prix, Bernard Tschumi, Jenny Lowe, and Raoul Bunschoten. Finally, there are the household names: Renzo Piano, Lord Rogers of Riverside, Lord Foster of Thames Bank, Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, Sir Michael Hopkins and Sir Peter Cook.
‘The last word in the display’, says Gordon Benson, ‘is the church at Firminy – the poetic masterpiece designed by Le Corbusier in 1963 and completed last year. It is the perfect setting for the “sermon on the mount”, a Galilean hillside under a starlit sky. Hélène Binet’s photographs mirror the building’s soul.’