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Indepth Arts News:

"New Architectural Gallery Opened Yesterday"
2004-11-18 until 2005-12-31
Victoria and Albert Museum
London, , UK

Buildings are all around us, yet most of us are unfamiliar with the history of architecture and the principles that guide the design of buildings. The Architecture gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum will introduce visitors to ways of looking at buildings that can make their experience of architecture more interesting and rewarding. It will include a rich mix of models, drawings and designs, and samples of materials as well as photographs, fragments from buildings and even audio commentaries.

The gallery will be organised around five themes, each of which are ways to begin thinking about and looking at buildings. The Art of Architecture explores how different styles have developed by looking at their consistent parts. It will also reveal that meanings are encoded into the style of buildings. For example the exposed structures and engineered components of High-Tech buildings suggest efficiency.

Most buildings are built with specific purposes in mind that will significantly affect their appearance. In The Function of Buildings several different building types are explored. Visitors will discover why it is their homes look like they do, and how they differ from houses elsewhere. The architecture of familiar places like schools, offices and even shopping malls will also be explored.

Basic principles of physics govern how buildings stand up. In Structures visitors will discover how different ways of building up and spanning between walls effect how buildings look. Buildings are not the products of a single person and architects work with many other specialists, as well as their clients, to create them. Architects and Architecture explores the design process, from first conception through development and presentation of schemes, to detailed instructions for builders. In this section visitors will find some of the most important drawings in the RIBA and V&A collections, including original works by Palladio, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe and Norman Foster. Lastly, buildings seldom stand in isolation and the characters of our towns and cities are created by groups of buildings seen together. In Buildings in Context the development of Trafalgar Square is explored as a case study.

Alongside Architecture will be the Exhibition gallery for changing exhibitions of light sensitive material, drawn from the extensive collections of the V&A and the RIBA.

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