As the summer break looms nigh, I’ve been spending quite some time checking out what those poor Europeans in the northern winter have got planned for the next months. I’m certainly not shedding a tear for the fine folk of London (and its visitors) – the Royal Institute of British Architects has a ZAP! POW! BAM! programme of exhibitions and lectures lined up to welcome the architecture and design cognoscenti in from the cold. First, there’s their annual exhibition titled, simply enough, Emerging Architecture. Now in its 14th year, the show highlights stellar work from architects and designers under 45 and receives more than 500 entries from around the world and the immense diversity of award-winning projects covers buildings, interiors, product design, engineering structures, urbanism and landscape design. Then there’s the Chromazone exhibition, in partnership with the Victoria and Albert Museum which explores the use of colour in contemporary architecture. This one is clearly intended to – quite literally – brighten up those short northern days that begin and end in the dark of night. The Polychrome Lens at the RIBA Institute explores the history of architectural photography from the late C19th to now. Fascinating. And then there’s the comprehensive Disegno program of architectural films.
One can only hope that someone at the Australian Institute of Architecture is being inspired, as we speak, by this kind of pro-active promotion of the finer side of architecture and design to the general public.