The Royal Academy of Arts, London
25 January – 6 April 2014
Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD
+44 20 7300 8000

Seven architectural practices from around the world have transformed the galleries of the Royal Academy in this monumental exhibition. The RA has commissioned the architects to create site-specific installations; the shared brief is to explore the essential elements of architecture. Instead of representations of buildings in the form of models, plans or photographs, the RA is re-defining the traditional architectural exhibition to immerse visitors in a multi-sensory experience. Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined considers architecture from the angle of the human encounter: how vision, touch, sound and memory play a role in our perceptions of space, proportion, materials and light.

The architects include well-known and emerging practices and hail from diverse geographical and cultural backgrounds. Collaborating across the globe on this project are: Grafton Architects (Ireland); Diébédo Francis Kéré (Germany/Burkina Faso); Kengo Kuma (Japan); Li Xiaodong (China); Pezo von Ellrichshausen (Chile); Eduardo Souto de Moura and Álvaro Siza (Portugal).

The interventions within the Academy’s Grade II listed galleries engage visitors with
structures, textures, sounds, spaces and even scents. A monumental structure by Pezo von
Ellrichshausen, occupying the largest of the galleries, challenges our sense of perspective; inspired by a Ko-Do, the Japanese smell ceremony, Kuma highlights the importance of scent; Kéré’s tunnel invites visitors to physically interact with the structure’s fabric; a labyrinth by Li Xiaodong creates a sense of containment and compression in contrast to Grafton’s exploration of light. Siza and Souto de Moura’s subtle installations encourage visitors to consider the architectural history of the building.