responding to the 2018 venice architecture biennale’s theme of ‘freespace’, alison brooks architects creates a large-scale, highly experiential installation. called ‘recasting’, the work addresses the subject of housing and urban dwelling, specifically with a focus on the practice’s related work. the space, which also comprises an amphitheater, is divided into four inhabitable ‘totems’: threshold, inhabited edge, passage, and roofspace. each one offers a particular spatial, emotional and sensory experience, revealing housing architecture’s meaningful civic role. this is through forms of mirrored surfaces, organic geometries and forced perspectives that harness the corderie arsenale’s specific qualities of light and volume.


image © luke hayes (also main image)

 

 

alison brooks architects’ site specific installation invites visitors to explore a choreography of form, experience and landscape in support of civic life. the ‘totems’ unify in that sense, but each one offers a unique illusion. the threshold totem is a huge arch representing one of 87 brick arches that defines the practice’s emerging high density urban block in london’s king cross. the distinctive bezier-curve arches act as a structure, destination, shelter and landscape frame in reality. however, for the biennale, one has been dematerialized to radiate light between thin sheets of plywood.


image © luke hayes

 

 

the inhabited edge totem explores the potential to enrich the experience of housing architecture with occupiable places between the interior and exterior. these critical spaces – a notable exploration of the architecture practice’s work – shelter between the public realm and domestic life. the angled facades of their brass building at accordia, cambridge, has been recast with perpendicular mirrors to multiply these effects.


image © luke hayes

 

 

in the aim of highlighting every corridor’s potential to offer an experientially rich journey, the passage totem references the practice’s exeter college cohen quad at oxford university. arched, glazed cloisters transform passage ways into memorable places there, whilst the convex elliptical space has been simulated in the installation. at the same time, the corridor is bathed with natural light within the corderie.


image © luke hayes

 

 

finally, the roofspace explores the spatial and expressive potential of roof forms in urban housing. using alison brooks architects’ language of faceted geometries, an adaptable and light-filled roof space is created as a place of retreat. small window seats, which are washed with zenitha light and subtly angled mirrors, are carved into the structure and form an infinite curve.


image © luke hayes


image © luke hayes


image © luke hayes


image © luke hayes


image © luke hayes


image © luke hayes


image © luke hayes


image © luke hayes

 

video courtesy of la biennale

 

 

venice architecture biennale golden lion

designboom’s coverage of the 2018 venice architecture biennale is in partnership with leading energy company edison. edison is taking part in the 16th international architecture exhibition of la biennale di venezia by initiating a path towards sustainability and the efficient use of resources. the collaboration between edison and la biennale is based on awareness that energy is one of the fundamental elements of architecture and of the places, spaces and cities of contemporary life.

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