Hopkins Architects, 'Velodrome Study for the 2012 London Olympics' Photo: John Bodkin/DawkinsColour This display benefits immensely from the decision to move the architects to a bigger space this year. David Chipperfield, who arranged the gallery, explains, ‘I was happy to get a larger room because we felt too restricted. As architects, our problem is that we’re not meant to be making exhibits, so what do we show in galleries?’ His answer is to explore the origins of architectural work. ‘I wanted to focus on concepts rather than final representations of buildings. This is much more speculative and interesting. I wanted to show the plurality and diversity of what architects see.’
Chipperfield admits that ‘architects don’t like to show their rough stuff, so you have to winkle things out of them’. But he has succeeded in curating a so called ‘arty’ section with works by several practitioners, which seems to be exploding with sculptural forms. Drawings also give valuable insights into how architects think, even though computer literate young architects ‘don’t draw any more – they sketch on the mouse’. The President of the RA, Nicholas Grimshaw, is showing his proposal for a high-speed railway station outside Naples, beside Vesuvius. ‘I wanted to keep the building cool,’ he says, ‘so we have endeavoured to root this twenty-first-century intervention within its ancient territory.’ Plenty of other architects are dealing with similar challenges in historic locations. Eric Parry Architects show an impressive rear extension for the Holburne Museum of Art in Bath, while Foster and Partners are displaying four spectacular versions of their proposal for a tall white India Tower in Mumbai.
Shigeru Ban’s newly opened Centre Pompidou in Metz is also represented here, cheek by jowl with Hopkins Architects’ Velodrome Study Model for the 2012 London Olympics and Renzo Piano’s Expansion Façade with Roof Model for the Art Institute of Chicago.