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.
DISPLAY: Part of the Brits Who Built the Modern World season. This display is the first part of a major exhibition organised by the Royal Institute of British Architects. Through drawings, watercolours, photographs and models it examines where, why and how British architects built internationally, both inside and outside the Empire.