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Model line-up for Academy's summer sizzler

NEWS

The Summer Exhibition 2001 at the Royal Academy is the best for some time.After last year's decidedly lacklustre showing - due partly to cramped premises and partly to a particularly rigorous culling policy - the architecture room is back on top form.

Architecture gets a decent-sized room, and this year's RA hanging committee - Nicholas Grimshaw and Michael Manser - has made a generous and imaginative selection that includes little-known architects as well as the usual line-up of academicians.

All the usual suspects are there: highly polished presentations from Lords Foster and Rogers; perky cartoons by Louis Hellman;

oh-so-effortless etchings by Ian Ritchie; and something blobby and fun from Will Alsop.

Future Systems has two models on show: both are characteristically colourful and camp, although the model of the Musee Dequai Branley in Paris looks a little cliched when compared with the sculptural simplicity of the practice's enigmatic all-blue proposal for the South Bank.

It is gratifying to see so many models in an exhibition designed to appeal to a lay audience. Some of the most accessible and eyecatching are by first-time exhibitors, notably Guy Greenfield's model/picture of the Hammersmith surgery and Matthew Parkes' model of the Namibian Hydrological Centre of Excellence, executed with a poetic elegance that reflects the fact that the building is somewhat whimsically entitled 'Fog Catcher'.

All the works on show are eligible for the Bovis Lend Lease/AJ awards for architecture. Two awards will be given this year: a £5,000 prize for the best exhibit by a first-time exhibitor; and a £10,000 prize for the best exhibit overall.

The jury includes architect academicians Richard MacCormac, Michael Manser and last year's winner Colin St John Wilson. The other judges are John Spanswick, managing director of Bovis Lend Lease, services consultant Tim Battle of Rybka Battle, AJ editor Isabel Allen and AJ publishing director Paul Finch. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on 10 July and will be published in the following issue of the AJ.

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