Building Centre architectural models exhibition, Shaping Space V&A London Design Show

Building Centre architectural models exhibition, UK

20 Sep 2021

‘Shaping Space – Architectural Models Revealed’

One of the largest ever collections of architectural models to go on show at the Building Centre

Shaping Space – Bompas Parr – St Pauls as a Jelly:
Shaping Space - Bompas Parr - St Pauls as a Jelly
image © Greta Ilieva BuildingCentre / V&A

Building Centre architectural models exhibition

Exhibition includes historical and contemporary works by over 60 contributors, including Le Corbusier, Zaha Hadid and ScanLAB Projects.

A project developed in collaboration with the V&A, generously funded by the AHRC.

Part of the Building Centre’s autumn programme celebrating its 90th anniversary.

A new exhibition of arch models produced by the Builing Centre and the V&A opens at the Building Centre in Bloomsbury this week. The Building Centre announced details of a new free architectural models exhibition opening at the Building Centre in Bloomsbury this week.

‘Shaping Space – Architectural Models Revealed’ features one of the largest and most diverse collection of models ever exhibited in the UK.

The show spotlights the role that models play in shaping the spaces we live in, examining how they are used as a test-bed for experimentation to bring this essential part of the design process to life.

Shaping Space – Aberant Architecture – Public House:
Shaping Space - Aberant Architecture - Public House London
image © Simon Kennedy, BuildingCentre / V&A

Featuring historical examples as well as works by international contemporary architects, the exhibition demonstrates the dual role of physical and digital model-making in the design process. From super-sized to miniature, visitors will be able to experience the spectacle of built environments at different scales.

The oldest piece in the collection is a paper model of Empress Josephine’s bedroom from 1804, created so Napoleon could approve interior design proposals whilst on the battlefield. In contrast is a 3D printed model by artist Dalia Matsuura Frontini, designed and built in real-time using VR and paint extrusion technology.

Other exhibits include original models by revered architects, such as an unbuilt tower designed by Louis Kahn, a materials study by Le Corbusier and a geometry study for the Sydney Opera House by Jørn Utzon. There is also a Dieter Cöllen cork model of the now-destroyed ancient temple of Bel in Palmyra; a model of St Paul’s Cathedral moulded in jelly by experiential designers Bompas & Parr, and set designs by the acclaimed stop-animation puppet and model maker Andy Gent, taken from the acclaimed Save Ralph film released earlier this year by Humane Society International.

Shaping Space – Dieter Cöllen – Cork Model, Temple Of Bel, Palmyra:
Dieter Cöllen - Cork Model, Temple Of Bel, Palmyra
image © DieterCollen, BuildingCentre / V&A

Visitors will be invited to engage with the exhibition through a number of interactive pieces, including models created to communicate designs to the visually impaired using Braille and a bespoke tactile symbol system. Families will also be able to bring their own design ideas to life with Arckit’s hands-on models, or using AUAR Lab’s digital ‘toy-kit’, which can be saved and shared for future play.

Other contributors include eminent architects such as David Adjaye, Zaha Hadid and Charles Holland; Livio de Luca, digital model researcher, architect and scientific coordinator of the digital construction site of the new Notre Dame, as well as students from various architectural schools.

Stories behind model-making are explored through three questions: How are models made? Who are models made for? Why do you make models? The exhibition highlights the renaissance of craft and values of making in the digital age, whilst exploring the rise of new technologies in changing the way models are made. Themes relevant to current architectural practice, including sustainability, are also studied.

HawkinsBrown – Victoria Road and Old Oak Lane Framework:
HawkinsBrown - Victoria Road and Old Oak Lane Framework:
image © DieterCollen, BuildingCentre / V&A

The free exhibition will be hosted at the Building Centre in Bloomsbury from 24 September 2021 to 28 January 2022. An associated educational program also includes free workshops for school pupils and families.

The show has been generously supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through Follow on Funding for Impact and Engagement (Principal investigator Dr. Simona Valeriani, co-investigator Dr. Marta Ajmar from the V&A Research Institute). It is also supported by the Built Environment Trust and the V&A.

Mary Duggan – Euphemia:
Mary Duggan Euphemia
image © Mary Duggan, BuildingCentre / V&A

Colin Tweedy LVO OBE, Chief Executive of the Building Centre and Built Environment Trust said:
“This exhibition celebrates the vital role of architectural models within the design process, showcasing the skills of model makers from various disciplines with new audiences.

“‘Shaping Space – Architectural Models Revealed’ exemplifies the Building Centre’s mission to make the built environment accessible and appealing to the general public, as well as be a hub for knowledge sharing and collaboration for industry professionals. As we celebrate our 90th anniversary, we look forward to welcoming people back into our Store Street galleries to enjoy the various exhibitions we will be hosting later this year and next.”

Sam Jacob – The Most Photographed Barn In The World:
Sam Jacob - The Most Photographed Barn In The World
image © BuildingCentre / V&A

Simona Valeriani (V& Research Institute), Curator of Shaping Space said:
“‘Shaping Space – Architectural Models Revealed’ considers ways in which architectural models can engage audiences with architectural and design issues; and explores how digital technologies can be used in the creation and interpretation of models.

“This special exhibition explores the power of craft in representing design ideas. An associated public programme will explore the idea that models can become key tools for multimodal learning, learning through visual, auditory, and kinaesthetic approaches to deepen our understanding of space and scale.
“The development of innovative methodologies for collections-based research linked with interventions in multimodal learning, embodied learning and learning-through-making aimed at school children and adults, are areas of research that the V&A Research Institute (VARI) has been exploring extensively. The exhibition and public program will provide a space to share this work with wider audiences.”

Dr Kristine Zaidi, Associate Director of Programmes at the Arts and Humanities Research Council added:
“The Arts and Humanities Research Council is delighted to support Shaping Space – Architectural Models Revealed.

This exhibition, with its associated events series, workshops and an education programme, will connect a wide range of audiences to architectural models, physical, digital and blended, highlighting the vital role of architectural models in understanding and shaping the world around us.”

Shaping Space – Aberant Architecture – Public House:
Shaping Space - Aberant Architecture - Public House
image © Simon Kennedy, BuildingCentre / V&A

Curated by the Building Centre in partnership with Simona Valeriani of the V&A Research Institute (VARI), the collaborative exhibition is designed by Roz Barr Architects. The show is generously supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through Follow on Funding for Impact and Engagement (Principal investigator Dr. Simona Valeriani, co-investigator Dr. Marta Ajmar). It is also supported by the Built Environment Trust and the V&A.

The exhibition builds on research carried out by the AHRC-funded Architectural Models Network (2017-2019), an initiative set up to examine the role of architectural models as part of the creative process in historical and contemporary architectural practice. The core partners in the original network include the V&A, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Architectural Association (AA), Sir John Soane’s Museum, the Architekturmuseum (Technische Universität Munich), the MAP Laboratory (CNRS) and the Sorbonne.

To accompany the show a publication resulting from the work of the Network will also be launched: Olivia Horsfall Turner, Simona Valeriani, Matthew Wells and Teresa Fankhänel (eds): An Alphabet of Architectural Models, Merrell: London, 2021.

Shaping Space – Architectural Models Revealed London images / information received 200921

Building Centre Events News

WikiHouse4.0 at London Design Festival 2014
Design: Arup / 00 design
WikiHouse London Building Centre
photo Margaux Carron for The Building Centre, all rights reserved
WikiHouse London Building Centre

Building Centre London Talk
Building Centre London Exhibition
photo : Agnese Sanvito
The Building Centre, Store Street – talk

Address: The Building Centre, 26 Store St, London WC1E 7BT
Phone: 020 7692 4000

Location: London, England, UK

London Architectural Designs

London Architecture Designs – chronological list

London Architect – design practice listing on e-architect

London Architecture Designs – architectural selection below:

15 Clerkenwell Close, Clerkenwell
Design: Groupwork + Amin Taha Architects
15 Clerkenwell Close London apartments
photo : Tim Soar
15 Clerkenwell Close

Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Programme
Palace of Westminster building viewed across the River Thames
photograph © UK Parliament
Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal

NoMad London, 4 Bow St, Covent Garden
Design: Roman and Williams
NoMad London Hotel Covent Garden
photograph : Simon Upton
NoMad London Hotel, Covent Garden

Comments / photos for the Building Centre architectural models exhibition page welcome