ART, DESIGN AND CULTURAL REPORTAGE: NEW YORK — LONDON
4 July 2010

For the Architecture Festival in London the  V&A hosted seven buildings amongst  some of the most impressive collection rooms in the museum. Nineteen architects were originally invited to submit proposals for the project, curated by Abraham Thomas, to create spaces that examined refuge and retreat. All of the buildings are accessible to the surprise of visitors- The Fujimori Beetle House rocks every time one of the allocated six spaces is climbed into. The buildings are both secretive and bold in presence. Studio Mumbai Architects built ‘In Between Architecture’ in the Casts Court, a space full of enormous figures and replicas. The building camouflages itself with a divoted plaster treatment, distinguished only stylistically yet remaining unobstrusive and affectionate towards the looming study replicas of David and company.

Studio Mumbai Architects in the Cast Courts

Cast Courts with SMA

David

From the inside

Interior with plaster cast tree

SMA Cast Courts

Terunobu Fujimori’s Beetle House was hosted in the Medieval & Rennaissance Room. The structure, in keeping with Fujimori’s style, possesses many dreamlike and spiritual sensitivities. This one in particular is a close replica of another Beetle House that he created in Japan, spanning two tree’s in the forrest. He built the structure from pine trees, and the exterior was charred onsite in the museum. The interior is grained with smaller bits of the charred wood, adorned with sparse belongings, a small bicycle to represent transport to the home, and a teaset designed by the Danish artist Malene Hartmann Rasmussen. Fujimori, since the opening, has hosted several tea ceremonies ( for six) in the miniscule structure. The whimsical nature of the structure is further enhanced by the wooden medieval spiral-staircase-to-nowhere, and the menacing  grid of clay heads mounted onto the nearby brick wall.

Terunobu Fujimori's Beetle's House

Beetle's House in the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries

Descent

Malene Hartmann Rasmussen with her teaset designed for the Beetle House

Charred Walls

Foot Traffic

In the John Madejski Garden lived a literal treehouse designed by Helen & Hard Architects from Stavanger, Norway. The house, titled ‘Ratatosk’ was built from splayed trees, becoming more basket-like and woven as the structure developed in height.

Ratatosk in the John Madejski Garden

Ratatosk

Ratatosk Proposal Model

At the bottom of the National Art Library stairs lived the “Ark” built by Rintala Eggertsson Architects from Oslo and Bodo, Norway. The building allowed three people in at a time to browse books at leisure. The books themselves acted as the interior walls, spine-in, and also as the exterior shell of the building, striating the structure with faded pages.

Ark designed by Helen & Hard

Reader

Ark Detail

Interior

From the entrance to the National Art Library

Top Floor

The gooooorgeous National Art Library

On the second floor entering the main architecture galleries lived the Inside/ Outside Tree designed by Sou Fujimoto Architects from Tokyo. This was a large faceted structure of plexi-glass which created a semi-enclosed looking glass for one viewer.

Inside Outside Tree

Inside/ Outside

Sou Fujimoto Architects