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Review: Drawn to the Future

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For a show about communication, Drawn to the Future lacks a narrative, says James McLachlan

Last night marked the official opening of Drawn to the Future, an exhibition which explores various methods of communicating architecture.

Held at the Building Centre in Store Street, it is a hodge-podge of augmented reality, virtual worlds, films, models and drawings demonstrating how technology has changed the way architects, engineers and developers can communicate their ideas.

However, there is still a place for hand drawing in among the software driven installations. For example at the heart of the exhibition is Jason Lamb’s Frackpool – a hand drawn imagining of how the shale gas industry and Chinese capital will transform Blackpool into the Lancashire Rivera.

Transport infrastructure features strongly with Arup’s visualisations of High Speed Two’s Birmingham-London route, which is on public display for the first time to Amalgam’s diminutive, complex model of Miami Metro for Weston Williamson.

There is a lot to see in a small space, which means some of the exhibits lack space to sing. A case in point is the animated Minecraft Map of Great Britain based on the Ordnance Survey map could do with the big screen treatment.

Conversely, the largest exhibit Soluis Interact’s Immersive reality dome, which allowed you to explore virtual environments such as St Peters Seminary via a playstation-style controller is duller than it sounds.

The crowd pleaser is undoubtedly the Bartlett’s virtual reality rollercoaster, which gives a whole new meaning to a building fly-through. Ironically, for a show about communication Drawn to the Future lacks an underlining narrative pulling all these techniques together.

However, the upcoming three-part talks programme, which begins this evening with From Mapping to Making, should flesh out the some of the undoubtedly interesting ideas on display.

Drawn to the Future runs from 23 July – 3 October at The Building Centre, 26 Store St, London WC1E 7BT

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