Architectureis a tricky thing to convey in museums, because it’s usually resigned to photos,blueprints, and weird little models. Which can be about asinteresting as watching paint dry. So London’s Victoria & Albert asked architects to throw upstructures in the museum itself. The result: 1:1 – Architects Build Small Spacesdisplays seven real, live mini-buildings that, as the press materialstell us, “push the boundaries and possibilities of creative practice.”
The theme is refuges. That’s obvious enough in Sou Fujimoto Architects’s acrylic cube (top), an abstraction of a tree that looks like a giant princess-cut diamond, and one of Terunobu Fujimori‘s whimsical teahouses (an old example below, and then video of the new project being built).
Helen& Hard Architects axed ash trees from a forestin their native Norway to make this exuberant pavilion, whichreferences both Norse folklore and British garden folly from the 18thcentury (back in those quaint, pre-InterWeb times when putting odd crap in your backyard counted as high entertainment).
Noteverything’s a refuge in the strict sense of the word, this beingarchitecture about “pushing boundaries and possibilities.” Consider the contribution from Studio Mumbai Architects. It’s the cast of a sliver of a hovelthat’s tucked into a narrow corridor behind the firm’s offices andpeopled by a family of eight. Sounds more like a domestic war zone than asanctuary, but according to the project description, unauthorized dwellingsof this sort “offer intelligent design solutions” in a place, wherescarce land and skyrocketing real estate prices conspire against thecity’s poorest residents. “As well as shelter, they provide spacesfor refuge, contemplation and worship,” we’re told.
RepresentingTeam America is Rural Studio, the Auburn U architectureprogram that lets schlubby college students cobble together buildings inthe backwoods of Alabama. Here, they built a woodshed that would onlylook like a refuge in, well, the backwoods of Alabama.
Whatever, there’s a cool idea at play. Theshed’s made of thinnings, the smallest, weakest trees in a forest,razed to let stronger trees thrive. They’re a key, ifnon-intuitive, hallmark of sustainable forestry management, and they havesome promising applications in architecture. This pavilion will hostimprov jazz sessions. So you can watch woodshedding in the woodshed.Get it?
We’re refreshedto see actual buildings in an exhibit about buildings (even though it isn’t the first to do so). For diehard architecturenerds, it’s a refuge own right.
1:1 – Architects Build Small Spacesopens tomorrow.