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Building conversations

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Our 7 July memorial was designed with an artist and the bereaved, say Andy Groarke and Kevin Carmody

Since establishing our architecture studio, we have been contracted on a number of occasions to realise an artist’s idea.

These collaborative projects – such as The Double Club with German artist Carsten Höller in London, and last year’s Blind Light with sculptor Antony Gormley, also in London – have given us insight into artists’ ideas about architectural space.

In accepting these invitations to collaborate, our job has been to ensure that the architectural disappears, that our work is made subordinate to each artist’s intent. Although the projects may seem very unusual on paper, we were reacting to a very conventional series of client requirements.

Conversely, as part of our commission for the 7 July memorial (see page 22), we appointed an artistic advisor to our architectural proposal. These ways of working have brought into focus marked differences between the way that we as architects approach a contract, and the approach of an artist to theirs. Valuable lessons to learn.

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