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Charles Holland and Di Mainstone chosen for RIBA HQ ‘Power’ installation

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The RIBA has selected Charles Holland Architects and artist Di Mainstone to design a £25,000 temporary installation at its central London gallery

The Architecture Open commission sought innovative proposals responding to this year’s London Festival of Architecture theme of ‘Power’.

According to the institute, the winning scheme is ‘part architecture, part experience’ and will combine an installation with a multi-sensory performative element. ‘Through theatrical devices, playful soundscapes and sculptural objects, it considers the power relations unspoken within the architectural plan.

‘The arrangement of space – the architectural plan – informs how we move through buildings, what rooms we are allowed into and what we do in them. Transforming the layout of the gallery space, visitors are invited to explore how forms of power are expressed and performed in architecture.’

The practice and Mainstone will receive a £4,000 fee to deliver their proposal inside the RIBA’s 66 Portland Place headquarters in time for the festival opening in late May. The installation will remain on site until September.

RIBA head of exhibitions and interpretation Marie Bak Mortensen said: ‘The curatorial panel was overwhelmed with the ambition and breadth of the submissions to this year’s Architecture Open and it was far from an easy task to narrow down 67 entries to one.

‘Combining the skills of an architect with those of a multidisciplinary artist will bring new tactile experiences to the RIBA Architecture Gallery, while highlighting the intangible power of one of the fundamentals of architecture: the plan. We look forward to revealing this experiential installation in summer 2020 and inviting visitors to explore how architectural drawings prescribe and define our spaces.’

The RIBA opened the £900,000 architecture gallery – designed by Carmody Groarke with Julian Harrap – inside its 1934 London headquarters six years ago. Landmark exhibitions have included the Brutalist Playground by Assemble and the Periscopic Pavilion by Max Dewdney Architects.

The winners of last year’s Architecture Open were Luke Caspar Pearson and Sandra Youkhana of You+Pea. Their Playing the Picturesque scheme involved a series of scaled folly structures and digital projections, creating a virtual game environment which responded to visitors.

Schemes for the latest commission were judged on their response to the theme and use of sustainable materials and methods.  The competition was open to RIBA members, chartered practices and architecture students. Judges included Bak Mortensen, the artist Catherine Yass, Luke Casper Pearson of You+Pea, and writer and critic Owen Hatherley.

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