Will Alsop Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts Show, British Building News

Royal Academy of Arts Exhibition, London : Will Alsop

Will Alsop Royal Academy of Arts Exhibition : Information

11 Jan 2011

Will Alsop Royal Academy of Arts Exhibition

Will Alsop challenges ‘identikit’ design of city parks with pioneering transatlantic exhibition at Royal Academy of Arts

Will Alsop painting:
Will Alsop painting
picture from Will Alsop @ RMJM

Professor Will Alsop OBE is challenging the ‘identikit’ design of city parks in a pioneering transatlantic exhibition that explores how urban public space should best be used for the benefit of local people. En Route: Public Behaviour in the Park, which opens this week at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, features paintings created by Prof Alsop and seven students from the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCADU) as part of a transatlantic dialogue on the use of public parks.

Will Alsop portrait by Jason Alden:
Will Alsop portrait

The bold canvasses use Grange Park, a modest-sized open space close to the OCADU, as an inspiration to explore the theme and suggest innovative approaches to designing city parks. Unlike many urban public spaces, the former private garden has not been developed and has become a vibrant venue for a wide range of recreational and social activities.

The exhibition, which is part of the Royal Academy of Arts’ architecture programme, comprises two large canvasses measuring 8m by 4m. The first is a re-painting by Prof Alsop of a work created by the Canadian students, which is being exhibited at OCADU. The second is an original work by the world-renowned architect and respected artist. Prof Alsop, International Principal of Will Alsop at RMJM, said the exhibition was designed to challenge the homogenisation of urban public space.

He said: “There has been considerable interest in public space over the past 5-10 years, to the point that it has become somewhat institutionalised. It has become a design code made up of bits of slate, railway sleepers and silver birch trees. This style is designed chiefly to encourage latte drinking.

“We are saying this is wrong and that we should be thinking about what people do in parks and what they need. We are looking at elements that support all kinds of activities in these important spaces. The exhibition is a warning shot across the bows reminding us that we should guard against the standardisation of public space.”

Will Alsop workshop:
Will Alsop workshop
picture from Will Alsop @ RMJM

As a member of the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada and the designer of the Sharp Centre at OCADU, Prof Alsop is a regular visitor to Toronto and was keen to collaborate with students at the university.

He said: “When I visited Grange Park I saw elderly ladies knitting in the porch of the disused lavatories, children’s play objects being used by adults and ad hoc hockey players mingling with the weekend water-colourists. This place is well-used and yet not designed. It seems to me that its vibrancy is due to the fact that it exudes an ambience of accessibility and local ownership. The unexpected behaviour is an inspiration.”

Prof Alsop believes that art and architecture are inseparable disciplines and he actively promotes artistic contribution to the built environment. He is guided by the principle that architecture is both a vehicle and symbol of social change and renewal.

Prof Alsop said: “I am very interested in abdicating responsibility for the starting points of a painting. I believe the same is true of architecture and landscape. In the case of urban public spaces, ‘behaviour’ is the guiding principle.”

En Route: Behaviour in the Park opens on January 13 at the Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J OBD and runs until March 13. Admission is free.

Will Alsop Painting Exhibition images / information from RMJM


8 Dec 2009

Will Alsop Exhibition

Will Alsop brings colour to London hospital with rare exhibition of paintings

Paintings by Will Alsop OBE, one of Britain’s most prominent architects and a prolific painter, go on show in a central London hospital. It is the architect’s first exhibition of his paintings in the capital for over seven years.

Painting by Will Alsop:
Will Alsop Painting
picture from Will Alsop @ RMJM

Will Alsop Painting Exhibition

Will Alsop, who recently set up a much publicised architecture studio in Battersea with international architecture firm RMJM, has been vocal about his desire to spend more time on his painting, which often leads to inspiration for his building designs.

Famed for his bold and colourful approach to design, Alsop has worked extensively across the UK and internationally with major projects in Toronto, Marseille, Hamburg and New York. Recent projects in the UK include the affectionately nicknamed ‘Chips’ building in Manchester and The Public in West Bromwich. Alsop joined forces with international practice RMJM earlier this year to create a new design studio – ‘Will Alsop at RMJM’.

Will Alsop Painting Exhibition images / information from RMJM

Location: Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK

Selected Projects by Will Alsop

The Public, West Bromwich, England
The Public Art Centre
picture from architects
The Public Art Centre

Almere Entertainment Centre – three buildings incl. Pop Zaal
Alsop & Störmer
Almere Entertainment Centre
photo © Adrian Welch
Almere Entertainment Centre

Fawood Children’s Centre, Brent, northwest London
Fawood Children's Centre
photograph © Nick Weall
Fawood Children’s Centre

Will Alsop @ RMJM

London Architectural News

Will Alsop

About Professor Will Alsop OBE

Will Alsop is one of the UK’s most prominent architects and a winner of the Stirling Prize who has applied his bold and colourful approach to award-winning projects internationally across all sectors. Widely regarded as one of the leading lights in the profession, Prof Alsop created Will Alsop at RMJM in 2009 and works globally. He has won many awards internationally, including the coveted Stirling Prize in 2000 for the Peckham Library in London and the Royal Fine Art Commission Building of the Year Special Award for Fawood Children’s Centre in London, which was shortlisted for the Stirling Prize in 2005.

His paintings and sketches have been exhibited at Sir John Soane’s Museum, Milton Keynes Gallery, Cube Gallery, Manchester and the British Pavilion at Venice Biennale. Prof Alsop has held many academic posts around the world. He is currently a professor at the Technical University of Vienna. He is a Royal Academician and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is also a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects. His works have been exhibited by the Canadian Centre for Architecture and the Royal College of Art along with many other prestigious institutions.

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