1:1 Architects Build Small Spaces

For the Small Spaces exhibition, the V&A Museum has invited 19 architects to use the venerable London institution as a test site. While all 19 proposals, themed around refuge and retreat can be viewed in the Architecture gallery, 7 have been constructed full-scale and are currently dotted around the V&A. The recurring difficulty with architecture shows is finding a way to make drawings, photos and models an engaging experience for the audience. The 7 structures on show at the V&A actively encourage participation. Climb, sit, relax, wander and contemplate. These bespoke structures use their small stature to shift the focus on to material, texture and form. Terunobu Fujimori’s “Beetle’s House” in the new Medieval & Renaissance Room is a wonderfully idiosyncratic work, a floating tree house, a space for discussion. Fujimori insists his buildings should look like nothing built since The Bronze Age. The timber frame is charred to instantly give it an aged look, while also strengthening the timbers. The interior is arranged to allow a group to sit and talk around a small stove.
The other Japanese-designed structure by Sou Fujimoto guards the entrance to the Architecture gallery and couldn’t be more different to Fujimori’s calm tree house. A starburst in perspex and cable ties, Fujimoto’s “Inside/Outside Tree” in based on the idea of a void left by a tree, the ultimate shelter. As the project progressed through the 3D modelling stage, the form became more abstract and asks the question how can a void, a negative become a positive space?
Norwegian architects Rintala Eggertsson, have created a tower of books within a stairwell to connect the new V&A bookshop with the National Art Library which sits above it. 6,000 books sit with their spines facing inwards to create a clean facade and a bibliophiles fantasy on the inside. Cosy reading platforms at regular intervals create an intimate environment for reflection.
Studio Mumbai Architects have cast of a “guerilla home” from the streets of Mumbai, while Helen & Hard Architects have transported Norwegian ash trees from Stavanger, via a 3D modelling suite to create a playful climbing frame and of course there are others, but rather than spoil the fun, we recommend you check it out for yourself. As an added bonus, you can lose yourself in the V&A’s enormous collection while you track down all 7 structures. Open daily until 30th August.

Richard HealyComment