Last Monday our studio visited the Rachel Whiteread exhibition at Tate Britain: a retrospective of her work investigating the ‘negative’ space of everyday objects using casts of various materials. Some of her larger works, including a cast room and staircase at 1:1 scale, are also on show. The objects have a tactile quality and encourage you to reach out and touch them (this sent alarm bells ringing). A swift departure into the afternoon autumn light allowed us to take in some architecture.
We started with Lynch Architects’ Zig Zag Building in Victoria, which uses an interesting modular approach to the fenestration with proportions morphing as they move up the building. Next, the White Cube in the St James’s area by Rundell Associates sits framed within the rear space of the surrounding buildings, like a piece of art in its own right, although the quality of finish lets it down. A jaunt through the 19th century Burlington Arcade brought the rich history of the area back into focus, highlighting the hierarchy of streets and passageways.
Finally, the Economist Buildings brought all of these things together and was the gem of the day; a charged void created by the family of buildings gifts the city a public route through the heart of the site. A comparatively simple module is used slightly differently from building to building to give each a different character. All of this before we moved on to the contrasting pomposity of Brasserie Zédel. It was an excellent day!