In January 2014, the Royal Academy will transform the RA Main Galleries with participatory installations designed to challenge perceptions of space, created by seven architectural practices from around the world. Grafton Architects – Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell (Ireland), Diébédo Francis Kéré (Burkina Faso + Germany), Kengo Kuma (Japan), Eduardo Souto de Moura (Portugal), Álvaro Siza (Portugal), Pezo von Ellrichshausen (Chile), Li Xiaodong (China). The spectator is invited to touch, climb, walk, talk, sit, contemplate and to respond to different structures, textures, lighting, scents and colours to consider the nature of architecture: How do spaces make us feel? What does architecture do for our lives? What power does it have over us?
Grafton Architects were founded in Dublin in 1978 by Shelley McNamara (b.1952, Ireland) and Yvonne Farrell (b.1951, Ireland). They have designed domestic homes, as well as major public buildings, becoming renowned for education buildings such as the University Luigi Bocconiin Milan, Italy (2008) and this year’s Stirling Prize nominated University of Limerick (2012).
Diébédo Francis Kéré (b.1965, Gando, Burkina Faso) studied in Germany starting his Berlin based practice, Kéré Architecture, in 2005. He has built a number of schools and community buildings in Burkina Faso and across Western Africa receiving the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2004 for his Primary School in Gando (1999).
Kengo Kuma (b.1954, Kanagawa, Japan) leads a large practice with a worldwide profile. Recent buildings include the Asakusa Tourist Information Centre (2012),Sake No Hana restaurant interior, St. James’s, London (2007) and the upcoming V&A Dundee (on-going).
Eduardo Souto de Moura (b.1952, Porto, Portugal) worked for Álvaro Siza as a student before setting up his own practice upon graduation. Timeless buildings like the Paula Rêgo Museum, Cascais, Portugal (2009) and the Braga Stadium, Portugal (2004) have won great acclaim for the architect. He received the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2011.
Álvaro Siza (b.1933, Matosinho, Portugal) has worked internationally but is best known for his buildings in Portugal including the Boa Nova Teahouse (1963), theSAAL Bouça Housing estate (1977) and the Church of Macro de Canaveses (1996). He received the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1992, considered the highest distinction in architecture.
Pezo von Ellrichshausen was founded in 2002 by Mauricio Pezo (b.1973) and Sofia von Ellrichshausen (b.1976) in Concepción, Chile. Their work lies at the crossroads between art and architecture with a portfolio that includes installations and houses in Chile, USA, Portugal and Spain. Their best known works are the Poli house in Coliumo, Chile (2005) and their home and studio the Cien house in Concepción, Chile (2011).
Li Xiaodong (b.1963, China) is Professor of History and Theory at the Tsinghua University School of Architecture and also runs his own small atelier. His work includes the Bridge School, Xiashi, China (2009) which won an Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2010 and the Liyuan Library, China (2011).
Sensing Spaces – Soapbox Talks
Jonathan Glancey , Friday 31 January – Tom Stuart-Smith , Friday 7 February – Pezo von Ellrichshausen, Friday 14 March – Iain Sinclair, Friday 28 March 2014. All talks – 7-7.30pm. Free with an exhibition ticket, no booking required
Talks by speakers from the worlds of art, architecture, design and literature, explore the idea of how our experience of spaces informs the way we think about and relate to architecture and cities.
Speed Conversations – Monday 10 February 2014
Taking place within the exhibition Speed Conversations are brief but intense one-to-one conversations with the people behind the exhibition ‘Sensing Spaces’ providing insights into the exhibition.
Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined – 25 January – 6 April 2014
Adult: £14. Student £9 + Concessions / Saturday -Thursday 10am-6pm / Friday 10am-10pm
Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD