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On the Threshold: The Changing Face of Housing


October 11, 2006
by Canadian Architect

This exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Architecture Gallery runs from November 2, 2006-February 11, 2007. Looking at the outside shell of houses, from the legacies of iconic schemes to experimental contemporary designs and future ideas, the exhibition explores how the exteriors of the houses in which we live influences and defines our sense of “home.” The face to the world that a dwelling presents and the private or shared spaces that surround it such as front gardens, courtyards, porches, decks and balconies all contribute to a sense of belonging.

This exhibition aims to show, in a time of high demand for new housing, how good external design which makes up 80% of the built environment can foster a sense of community by helping create good neighbourhoods. Work by architects FAT, Wilkinson Eyre, Brendeland and Kristoffersen and MVRDV is featured, amongst many others.

The exhibition will look at different aspects of how we see our homes and the impression given by their exteriors. The show is divided into sections, each highlighting different aspects of exterior design. “Home Skin” looks at the diversity of new materials and rediscovery of old techniques that are making housing faades more visually arresting from the practical to the visionary: iridescent coloured houses, housing with a rusted exterior, a ceramic block of flats in Leeds even a scheme for a house with a roof covered in bunny-tail flowers.

“Common Ground” highlights different examples of communal spaces from the iconic Lawn Road Flats of the 1930s, right up to modern day examples of schemes with shared courtyards and gardens by architects including Wilkinson Eyre and Herzog and de Meuron. “Neighbourhood Watch” looks at designs enabling a safe interplay between houses and the outside world, including ideas such as a “mashrabiya” Islamic screen used as a wall in a house in Cairo in 1842 and contemporary examples like the crystalline buildings being designed in Copenhagen by Erick van Egeraat Architects. Other sections cover all aspects of the exteriors of our houses and homes, including the design and integration of gardens and balconies, backyards and loggias in contemporary housing.

The show is curated by Rob Wilson and Justine Sambrook of the RIBA Trust and Abraham Thomas of the V&A.



Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada's only monthly design publication, Canadian Architect has been in continuous publication since 1955.
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