To the visitor, it must be a little strange; we are so used to museums artefacts being strong, secure and safe, but here lightweight paper structures float high above you, on top of cases containing the more historic and permanent models. You can almost feel that if someone sneezed or if there was a great burst of air, the whole lot would float up and come down in a crashing mass of architectural paper.
As part of this month’s London Festival of Architecture, fifteen architectural practices, including OMMX, Hayatsu Architects, Office S&M, Madelon Vriesendorp, Interrobang, RESOLVE, Mobile Studio, WUH architecture, Shahed Saleem, Zaha Hadid Architects, PUP architects, Sarah Wigglesworth, Prince + Selasi and Office Sianere were asked to create paper castles in the sky – paper models to sit on top of, and respond to, models in cases in the Architecture Gallery of the V&A Museum, translating the history of the models, some of which are not that old, into the architecture of the future. There are fascinating links between the old models and the new paper castles for the future. What is worrying to us oldies is that we can bridge the two!
The great thing about this display, like the Gingerbread City earlier in the year is that architects are connecting with the stunning and historic RIBA/V&A Collections, with visitors, and hopefully with young people who may well be inspired to be the architects of the future. We need more exhibitions like this, though in some ways the V&A is a celebrating of historic architecture – so many of the items on display would have been incorporated in buildings…..