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Revisiting the exhibition: Sensing Spaces

Published 10 June 2020

In 2014, an architecture exhibition took over the Royal Academy that invited audiences not just to step inside it, but to touch it, smell it and feel it. With a curator’s introduction, a documentary from the show and interviews with the architects, we take a trip back to the monumental exhibition, ‘Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined’.

  • In 2014, the Royal Academy staged an ambitious exhibition in our Main Galleries which featured seven architectural practices from across the globe. We tasked them with reawakening our visitors’ sensibilities to the spaces around them, inviting an appreciation of the emotional power of architecture. From a ‘smell cave’ incorporating traditional Japanese aromas, to a monumental structure made of Chilean pine, collectively the installations brought to the fore the experiential and sensorial qualities of architecture.

    As part of the exhibition, filmmaker Candida Richardson travelled across four continents to meet the architects and hear about their practices. Alongside an introduction from the curator, Kate Goodwin, the following films document how their architectural ideologies were implemented within the walls of the RA.

  • Long before my exhibition, ‘Sensing Spaces’ was a really important precursor to the idea that, wow, we can use the entire volumes of these gallery spaces, not just the walls or the light.

    Antony Gormley

  • Watch an introduction from the exhibition’s curator

    Kate Goodwin

    Our curator introduces the Royal Academy exhibition, ‘Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined’.

  • Watch the documentary that screened in the exhibition

    Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined

    Candida Richardson was commissioned to make films about the participating architects in their home countries. This 16-minute film was shown in the final gallery as an immersive screening.

  • Meet the seven architects

    Diébédo Francis Kéré

    Learn more about architect Diébédo Francis Kéré, whose work appears in the exhibition.

  • Grafton Architects

    Learn more about Grafton Architects, whose work appears in the exhibition.

  • Pezo von Ellrichshausen

    Learn more about Pezo von Ellrichshausen, whose work appears in the exhibition.

  • Timelapse

    Watch a timelapse of the installation of Pezo von Ellrichshausen’s work in the Royal Academy galleries.

  • Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura

    Learn more about architects Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura, whose work appears in the exhibition.

  • Li Xiaodong

    Learn more about architect Li Xiaodong, whose work appears in the exhibition.

  • Kengo Kuma

    Learn more about architect Kengo Kuma, whose work appears in the exhibition.

  • Support the RA

    An independent charity, we receive no revenue funding from the government. At this difficult time, we're reliant on the support of our Friends, visitors and online audiences. Thank you.

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