Concept image of environment by Kengo Kuma, commissioned by the Royal Academy of Arts, London. © Kengo Kuma
In January 2014, the Royal Academy will open its doors to architectural practices from around the world. Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined, is an attempt to ‘explore the essential elements of architecture’. Endeavouring to explain how architecture interacts with people, how the senses interact with people’s perception of space, proportion, materials and light.
The architectural practices that have been chosen, often juxtapose each other as well as complimenting each other, all in an attempt to respond to how people and place co-exist. These global firms are, Grafton Architects (Ireland); Diébédo Francis Kéré (German/Burkina Faso); Kengo Kuma (Japan); Li Xiaodong (China); Pezo von Ellrichshausen (Chile); Eduardo Souto de Moura and Álvaro Siza (Portugal), all chosen as they understand the sensorial capacity of architecture and its materiality.
Helping the public to view architecture in a thus unconsidered way, as structures, textures, sounds, spaces and even scents are used to engage the audience. Pezo von Ellrichshausen, uses the space to alter people’s sense of perspective, Kuma uses a Ko-Do, the Japanese to smell ceremony, to impress upon us how scent can be included. Contrasting Grafton’s investigation into light and space, Xiaodong creates a sense of containment and compression.
Furthermore, visitors will be given an insight into the architects, as a specially made film, examines previous works by each of the architects, including interviews with each of the architects, discussing their motivations and inspirations behind their work.
The RA hopes to impress upon the visitors the importance that architecture has upon us all that we do not even realise we are experiencing.