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Eric Parry unveils architecture room at RA summer exhibition

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The architecture room at the Royal Academy (RA), part of the annual summer show, has been unveiled

Eric Parry, principal of Eric Parry Architects curated the installation this year, selecting more than 140 works for the architecture room, with works by starchitects Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid and David Chipperfield alongside submissions by smaller practices and students.

Royal Academician Parry said: ‘The architecture room is rich in its propositions for buildings and places. Nowhere else will you find the international juxtaposition of the work of students alongside great practitioners, and it makes a fascinating survey.’

This year there are far fewer models and more drawings in the show, which takes place every year in the RA’s Piccadilly home. Parry said he wanted to show off the process of design.

‘I have been to the Royal Academy many times before, and it’s usually a floor full of models,’ said Parry. ‘We wanted to encourage work that explored the evolution of design rather than the finished product.’

Works on display include sketches by Norman Foster of his Maggie’s Centre in Manchester, which is currently in planning, a bike by Ron Arad which has wheels made of hooped stainless steel ribbons, and a sketch of O’Donnell + Tuomey’s  Saw Swee Hock Student Centre at the London School of Economics, accompanied by a model of the project.

Heatherwick Studio was represented by a model of the Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery in the architecture room, while a model of the studio’s proposed Garden Bridge over London – the first time the model has gone on display in public – was placed in the Octagon Room adjoining the architecture room to mark Thomas Heatherwick’s position as a newly-elected Royal Academician.

Other practices with work on display include Wilkinson Eyre, Ian Ritchie Architects, John McAslan + Partners, Witherford Watson Mann and Duggan Morris Architects.

Parry’s desire to show more about the process of design led him to install four monitors on one of the walls of the architecture room to show video projections. These include a film by Pollard Thomas Edwards on the consultation process and another showing Ron Arad demonstrating how to ride his exhibition bicycle.

Describing his keenness to include film projections in the show, Parry said: ‘Film is to do with aspects of architecture you don’t see… and is a brilliant way of recording something of the heroics of the process. That’s the tantalising thing, as an architect.’

However, Parry confessed he hadn’t yet seen one of the films submitted by Foster + Partners on the practice’s proposed 3D-printed moonbase. When asked if he had taken a risk by including it in the exhibition, in case it was just a promotional video, he said: ‘If it is a piece of PR, I will be very disappointed.’

The Summer Exhibition opens on 9 June and runs until 17 August 2014



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