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The Design Museum review – a magnificent achievement, but…

The Design Museum review – a magnificent achievement, but… | Architecture | Scoop.it
There’s the awkwardness of the adjoining luxury apartments, but the new Design Museum is the laudable result of a decade’s dogged effort
Burutapen's insight:
The Design Museum opened its doors in its new venue only a few days ago and as the curious architect with a passion for design I am, I could not resist the offer and join my husband and friends on a first visit. 

Having heard many comments about Pawson’s design choices for such an iconic building, I was mentally prepared to like/dislike what I saw. What I was not prepared for were the invisible barriers (physical and social) I encountered throughout a building. 

To say that the building is behind in terms of accessibility and inclusion is an understatement: Separate facilities and no access to the ground floor cafe for anyone on a wheelchair or pushing a pram as well as narrow displays within vast empty areas connected by retrofitted mini ramps are just a few of the things I noticed. 

Furthermore, although the Design Museum had expressed the desire to make Design more accessible to the general public by offering free access to part of its collection, the layout seems to have disregarded basic principles of human nature such as belonging. 

The arrival to the building, though an enormous foyer creates an invisible barrier which those of us who regularly visit museums often take for granted. It is difficult to see this but walking through it with a homeless person carrying his possessions around made me very aware of it. 

The sitting which faces the entrance, overlooking anyone who enters the building; the distance between the front door and the stairs and the positioning of the free exhibition at the top of the building rather than in the ground are all decisions which rather than welcoming newcomers pose questions on belonging and . They ask “are you sure you belong here? do you want to go any further?”

If you think I am exaggerating, you are probably as unaware as I was 18 years ago and to be fair, most people are for we don’t often “walk in other man’s shoes”. 

Wen I first came to the UK from San Sebastian, a town I soon became aware does not reflect the wider world for its inclusive approach to the arts and culture, I realised that the class/economic system governing the UK had created an invisible divide which stopped many people accessing its wide cultural offer. 

At first, I was told it was the proverbial “chip on shoulder”, but through training and practice as an architect, I soon realised that urbanism, architecture and design must be held accountable. 

I think that unless we take responsibility as designers and start thinking of others as we do of ourselves we will never achieve a truly egalitarian society where each one of us feels a sense of belonging and we will continue to experience the dissatisfaction we have experienced in the past year.
 
 
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Sensing Spaces

Sensing Spaces | Architecture | Scoop.it

ding this piece What would buildings look like if their creators didn't have to worry about annoying things like planning, budgets, climate and clients? Oliver Wainwright enters a world of Blade Runner cathedrals and waffle caves

Burutapen's insight:

In reading this pieces, focused mainly in describing the journey through exhibit one (Pezo von Ellrichshausen 's contribution to the exhibition) one may fall in the trap of believing that this is not an important exhibition. 

 

Very often, critics describe spaces without visiting them , or so I heard, ( this time, the level of detail would indicate otherwise) and in doing so, they make their minds up on two dimensional images that are essentially the subjective point of view of a photographer whose experience of the building is particular to themselves . As readers, we can also fall on the same trap and see the world though the eyes of someone else rather than our own.

 

I am glad to have visited this exhibition because for the first time in the UK (and as an architect I have visited a lot of exhibitions in the past 15 years) i saw an exhibition that did not require for the expectator to construct the experience in their head, but to be part of it.

 

In the UK, you do not need to be an architect to build buildings. All those years at school are taken for granted and the level of dissatisfaction of architects increases as they come to terms with this fact. It is fair to say that most people do not see the value that we bring to the table, however, I do believe that we have to take some responsibility .


We tend to think that people should speak our language, trust us and join our side of the table without realising that we should be moving across the table to sit side by side with those that employ us, as collaborators, use clear words and share the journey with them.

 

This piece at the Guardian misses this point. 

 

This exhibition is important because it allows people to experience the impossible spaces that are in fact possible rather than having to imagine them.

 

It is important because it highlights the elements we take for granted but which make the spaces (thresholds , golden decorations, light).

 

It is important because it allows visitors to take part in the shaping of the environments , not accept them (Diébédo Francis Kéré ).

 

And it is important because it shows the visitor how architectural decisions can make you see places you thought you knew (the Royal academy ) in a completely different light, without the use of words.

 

I don't think this is an exhibition for architects, necessarily, although architects can definitely  learn from it. 

 

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A week on

A week has gone by in the world since Zaha's departure and I know that many , me included, are still feeling disbelieve.
Burutapen's insight:
A week has gone by in the world since Zaha's departure and I know that many , me included, are still feeling disbelieve. As my husband so eloquently expressed it: Zaha lived like a true legend of architecture and her sudden passing will contribute to the legend. 

My favourite building of hers is the Vitra Fire station. Not only for its architectural wonderfulness, although I think the cluster of columns in the facade is simply genius, but also because of something you only learn when visiting the Vitra campus: The respect that it commands. 

Zaha's vision and tenacity earned her the respect from the great and good of the architectural community and this is a building where this can be most felt. Her first step from vision to reality so precious and full of promise that THE Alvaro Siza (one of Europe's best architects) shaped his own building to respectfully frame it. 

Despite having worked a few doors down her studio for over 8 years, I never met Zaha and now, I will never do. In the wider scheme of things, this is not important; as it is our work and the footprint we leave behind that are. 

Despite having worked a few doors down her studio for over 8 years, I never met Zaha and now I will never do. In the wider scheme of things, this is not important. Our work and the footprint we leave behind, however, are. 

Zaha's architectural legacy is impressive and as a visible female architect she will most certainly be missed. We are not that many and as big as her presence was, much larger it feels her absence.
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