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OUR COLUMNIST MIKE IS SKEPTICAL ABOUT THE NEED TO SHOWCASE PHENOMENOLOGIES OF SPACE AT ‘SENSING SPACE’ AT THE ROYAL ACADEMY. IN HIS OWN WORDS:

‘In our age of Starcitects, I don’t find this exhibition at all surprising.

The uber-wealthy art collectors/investors need a unique space to display their conspicuous acquisitions, so this seems like a good showcase for the participating architects to pick up some clients looking for the unique interior and/or building.

The statements attached to this show seem fairly obvious but perhaps I am not sophisticated enough to follow the deeper meanings of: ‘the opportunity to engage with architecture directly and to experience it through their bodies and senses”. I thought this is what architecture was intended to do.

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I know an architect in the UK who works for a firm that is renovating schools with the intention of addressing the spaces to enhance the educational experience as well as address issues of socialization and instill a sense of community, which are all highly relevant issues in the UK at the moment. Yet, I don’t see the RA shining the light on such efforts. It’s a shame, as the budget for one of the celebrity buildings such as the Gherkin are greater than the combined budget given to revitalize schools with the intent of addressing pressing social issues.

Perhaps if they were attempting to create a sense of phenomenological presence that students could experience with their bodies by moving through physical experiential exigencies to encapsulate our here and now, they might open other sources of funding.
One would think that one of the UK’s premier institutions of learning would support such an initiative as the renovation of schools, but perhaps that is not celebrity enough, or just simply too mundane to attract the notice of the public.

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Still, the works here appear to be more visually interesting than most installation works offered, but then again, that’s not really such a high bar these days’