Introduction to the V&A/RIBA Architecture Gallery
Hello my name is Abraham Thomas and I am Curator of Designs here at the Victoria and Albert Museum and I' m here today to tell you a little bit about our Architecture gallery, which is the UK' s only permanent Architecture gallery and is the product of a major partnership with the Royal Institute of British Architects. So the gallery is divided on three principle' s, the first is where we explore this idea of designing and creating. So we look at those very early stages of design, moments of conception where the designer is playing around with various ideas. A wonderful model here for example by Jørn Utzon for the Sydney Opera House where he' s playing around with ideas of…form and structure and he' s essentially creating the segments for the Opera House from a single hemispherical shape.
I' m going to now take you onto the second part of the gallery which is this main run of models that goes through the centre of the gallery and this is I guess the most prominent feature of the gallery when you first walk in from the grand entrance. This second section of the gallery explores the idea of function within building and how we how we use these buildings and how peoples habits and requirements can inform aspects of design. We look at exhibition spaces, here we have a model of Basil Spencer' s ' Sea and Ships' pavilion from the iconic Festival of Britain 1951.
Now we are going to move on to the third and final section of the gallery where we look at this idea of style with in architecture, and aesthetics. So what we have done is take some key periods and styles and explored them with models, drawings and architectural fragments. This is where we can draw upon our own Asian collections at the V& A, so we look at South East Asian architecture…and we look at Islamic Spain. We have some original fragments here from the Alhambra Palace in Grenada and we have got some key architectural fragments and examples of wood-work and ceramics.
We are now going to leave the main architecture gallery and move into this space which is a very important aspect of what we do here with the partnership of the RIBA and the V& A. This is our temporary exhibition space and we put on two exhibitions a year and this is an important opportunity to respond perhaps to contemporary issues. But to also bring out those objects in the collection that don' t normally get seen in the permanent architecture gallery and we can borrow objects from contemporary practices and from other institutions so it allows us to refresh what the gallery is doing and allows us to create new angles and lenses on aspects of the permanent architecture gallery. So we have a wall case where we can include original architectural drawings and large architecture models, photographs…We also have some bookcases as well, which allows us to draw upon the library collection of the V& A and the RIBA to open up those aspects of architecture and tell a wider story.
So in conclusion I hope this has given you a better idea of what we have here in the architecture gallery and has given you a little taste of how diverse and rich the collections are at both the V& A and the RIBA and I hope you will come and visit us one day soon here at the UK' s only permanent Architecture gallery.
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Trafalgar Square is London's greatest public space, where the nation gathers to celebrate, to demonstrate, to mark great events. It is a place which symbolises London.
A Virtual Tour of the Phaeno Science Center
This fly-through shows the new Phaeno Science Center in Wolfsburg, Germany an innovative concrete structure completed in 2005.
These are not artist's impressions but images generated from the architects computer model. Fly-throughs are used to present designs to clients and test how the building will eventually look. This fly-through was used to examine the colour scheme and how different spaces connect.
The Adam Interior
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Robert Adam was one of the most celebrated architects of his day
In 1768, he was commissioned to refurbish part of Saltram House in Devon
Adam created a suite of rooms in the Neo-classical style to update the house
He controlled all aspects of the design of the room
The ceiling was always a key feature of Adam's decorative schemes
He chose pastel shades rather than white for the background
This makes the plasterwork relief stand out
Many of Adam's ceilings incorporated paintings by fashionable artists
The ceiling roundels are by Antonio Zucchi
Adam designed the carpet to compliment the ceiling
It echoes the ceiling without quite matching it
This is a visual device often used by Adam
He frequently repeated motifs as variations on a theme
Adam collaborated on the furnishings with many other artists and designers
Most of the furniture was supplied by the firm of Thomas Chippendale
It was all designed by Adam, even this picture frame
The motifs reflect those used elsewhere in the room
The large mirrors reflected candlelight into the room
Manufacturer Matthew Boulton made the Candelabra to Adam's design
The saloon at Saltram is one of the finest surviving examples of Adam's work
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The Construction of the Crystal Palace
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A short walk from the V& A is Hyde Park
The original site of the Crystal Palace
The Crystal Palace was 563 metres long, 139 metres wide and over 30 metres high
Pre-fabricated parts meant the building went up in only 22 weeks
Work started in August 1850. First, the whole site was enclosed with hoardings
Trenches were dug
Then the concrete foundation was laid
Underground iron pipes formed the base for the columns
By the end of October workmen were raising 200 columns a week
At the same time, girders were added to support the galleries and roof
The most difficult part of the job was hoisting the main ribs for the transept roof
All 16 were fixed in one week
The height of the roof was designed to leave the trees undisturbed
The roof for the main part of the building was added
Glazing wagons ran in grooves in the gutters
In one week 80 men put in over 18,000 panes of glass
The boards from the hoardings were used to make the floor
The interior was painted red, yellow and blue
The Great Exhibition opened in the Crystal Palace on 1 May 1851
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