“One thing we will really miss about the architecture residency is the Friday afternoon tea and cakes…”
The beginning of the end of our V&A architecture residency started at Paddington railway station with a V&A film team trailing our 30-minute train ride to Langley Grammar School.
We were travelling west to see how our school group had finished their stage set models. When we arrived, each group took it in turns to present their schemes for redesigning the school cafeteria. In a surreal twist, one group presented their entire scheme using voices from the TV show ‘fonejacker’. The gleeful pupil fronting the group was quick to inform us that we were the first people to notice his unusual presentation technique. And even stranger still, he said that he uses the same voice to speak to all of his teachers!
On Tuesday morning, we continued to document our six-month residency for the benefit of the nation by giving an interview about our time at the V&A. The wander down memory lane gave us a chance to reflect on our experiences at the museum, though a gentle stroll soon turned into a dash along Oxford Street as we had to race back to Selfridges to finish the final day of our week-long residency in the shop window. In a week already loaded with goodbyes, we applied the finishing touches to the ‘Welcome to Your City’ installation and brought to a close the first residency co-op between aberrant architecture and the House of Jonn.
Whilst the experiment might have started off with the inauspicious Sarah Brown, the ex-Prime Minister’s wife, trying her best to ignore us as she walked past the wonder room windows, the general public really took to our project and it was good that the collaboration got to go out on a high point with the enlarged team stood on the elevated stage of our temporary studio inside Selfridges looking down on the comedian Jimmy Carr shopping for sunglasses. Now that’s what I call progress!
We went along to the opening night of London Met’s end-of-year show like proud parents smiling at little Johnny’s graduation ceremony. It was great to see our students exhibiting after what has been a challenging but rewarding year for both our students as well as ourselves and the evening was a fitting way to conclude our freshman year as unit leaders at the university.
A special mention should be given to one of our students, Malaz, who was awarded the prize for best portfolio. Incidentally, if you’re reading this Malaz, we’re both looking forward to that Sudanese meal that you promised us.
One thing we will really miss about the architecture residency is the Friday afternoon tea and cakes with various members of the V&A and RIBA teams. Without getting bleary eyed we would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone at both institutions for all of your help and support…sniff…sniff…we have had a fantastic six months…sniff, sniff, sniff…and we have thoroughly enjoyed every moment we’ve spent together.
But to avoid going out on a whimper, on Friday evening we raged against the dying of the light with a wrap party inside of our studio. For the unofficial residency closing ceremony we put together an exhibition of our projects that told the story of how aberrant architecture’s ideas have taken shape over the past 12 months. Our shenanigans formed part of the wider ‘Friday Late’ event at the V&A organized by the architecture foundation.
Besides meeting the V&A’s outgoing – and most successful – inaugural architecture residents of all time, male visitors were also treated to one-off access to the museum’s recently renovated ladies lavatories, designed by architects Glowacka Rennie with artist Felice Varini, which was fortunate, given the summer cocktails being served all evening.
Like travelers of Romany origin, we need to find fresh pastures to feed our new designs. To avoid complacency and stagnation and to leave behind the usual fairground debris for the next temporary residents, we have moved the aberrant architecture circus to our new digs at the brand-new Ravensbourne building next to the millennium dome.
Although we have had a lot of fun during our six months in the west, the time has come to retreat to the east side, regroup and get on with designing our Shoreditch bar, which will be reopening in the autumn.
Fans and followers of aberrant architecture and/or drinking should watch out for the opening night invitation, which will appear on the aberrant architecture website alongside our new look blog. So until then…