Richard Rogers + Architects
And damn, we're glad we did. It's a fantastic show.
Normally architecture exhibitions leave us a bit cold: you're just looking at little models of the buildings, rather than experiencing them for yourself. But this show takes place in one of Rogers' most famous creations, and it makes the whole thing come alive. Here's a bit from the exhibition guide:
Thanks to the three glass facades of the Galerie Sud, the exhibition is open to the city and visible from the street, respecting in this the basic principle of the builiding that Rogers designed with Renzo Piano. On the fourth side the only solid wall offers a comprehensive chronological presentation of 40 years of professional activity, taking in hundreds of projects and completed buildings. The 50 or so projects selected for the exhibition itself are presented on tables, abundant natural light being supplemented by that from the fittings designed by Rogers' practice.
The exhibits are grouped into key architectural themes, and there are a huge number of incredibly detailed models; including Lloyds of London, the Bordeaux Law Courts, the Leadenhall Building and Terminal 4 at Madrid Barajas airport. One in particular stopped us in our tracks - a fantastic model of the (unrealised) masterplan for the development of the Lu Jia Zui district of Shanghai, which lit up to show huge amounts of information. That's a terrible description. Here's a picture instead:
In the middle of the exhibition there's a large (and very pink) soft seating area, where you can lounge about and read a selection of books about Rogers' work.
We left with a much better understanding of his buildings, and a real sense of respect for the practice as a whole.
If you get the chance, do make the trip. You won't be disappointed.