We Live in the Office: A Commission by Giles Round

The Architecture Gallery, RIBA
22 September 2016 to 5 February 2017

“Factories have been abandoned, offices have been emptied; schools and university campuses have been created in industrial areas; historic buildings have been transformed into banks and information technology centres; artisan sheds have become ateliers for design and fashion; industrial deposits have been recycled to create shopping malls; warehouses have become homes or theatres, offices have become art galleries or hotels; garages have become recording studios; basements have become research laboratories. One works at home and lives in the office.” – Andrea Branzi

In 2016 the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) presented a new commission by multi-disciplinary artist Giles Round.

Round was invited to explore the RIBA Collections, and through extensive research created an exhibition for the Architecture Gallery that focused our attention on one of the most familiar and unavoidable architectural features of the city: the façade.

Inspired by the work of a wide-range of architects represented in the RIBA’s world-class architectural collections, Round explored the increasing tension between the static exterior and changing interior of the architecture around us. He highlighted the aesthetic qualities of facades in their original conception, and the subsequent contemporary use and reuse of these buildings. Round also explored the ways in which we currently ‘collect’ and preserve facades, creating an archive of buildings in real space and time.

Original works of iconic façades by Berthold Lubetkin, Venturi Scott Brown and Jane Drew featured in the exhibition alongside representations and re-appropriations of façades from other architectural periods with unique graphic qualities – from Greek Revival and Art Nouveau, to Modern and postmodern architecture. A key component of the exhibition was the transformation of the gallery to a production studio. Here, façades from a ‘stylebook’ compiled from RIBA’s Collections were applied to architectural sculptures that mimicked the structure of buildings. Over the course of the exhibition period these formed an installation recognisable to visitors as an assembly of façades – a new city scape. The sculptures were available to purchase in the gallery during the exhibition period.

The commission was co-curated with Corinne Mynatt, Curatorial Programmes Coordinator at RIBA and Lotte Juul Petersen, Artists & Programmes Curator at Wysing Arts Centre.

You can view installation images on Giles Round’s website.