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CRITIC'S CHOICE

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REVIEW

Up to now, the temporary exhibitions in the corridor-like space beside the V&A's permanent architecture gallery have been historical. Staged jointly by RIBA and the V&A, they've drawn on the archive material both institutions hold in depth.

But the latest show, On the Threshold: The Changing Face of Housing, does something different. Focusing on the exterior of housing schemes (their public face, threshold spaces, etc), it includes a substantial number of current projects both in the UK and abroad, using historic images to give some sense of context but otherwise determined to be topical.

Given the restrictions that the show's curators haveto work with, it comes off well. Admittedly, there's little information on many of the schemes, just a single quite small picture, and it's pitched more at the average visitor than the professional. This being the case, it's a shame that the show isn't signposted at the entrance to the museum - you only find it when you've reached the architecture gallery, and it's likely that a potential audience for it will never arrive. Still, they have until 11 February to find it ( www. architecture. com).

One archive image in the show is of a Denys Lasdun housing block in Bethnal Green. On Tuesday 21 November, 18.30, Lasdun is the latest architect to feature in Docomomo's 'Masters of Concrete' series, with a lecture in London by the critic William J R Curtis, whose well-received monograph on Lasdun is still in print ( www. docomomo-uk. co. uk).

From one building material with image problems to another: corrugated iron. Pentagram has just published a booklet called Tin Tabernacles and Other Buildings, with photographs by Alasdair Ogilvie. Included are barns, a cricket pavilion, a house and a number of churches (see picture) - rudimentary perhaps, but surviving well beyond their expected lifespan. As an English Heritage officer says in Common Ground's splendid encyclopedia of all things vernacular, England in Particular: 'Corrugated iron is one of the most valuable conservation materials ever invented; it has probably saved more historic buildings than anything else.'

Pentagram produces these booklets for people on its mailing list, but copies may be available (email@pentagram. co. uk).

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