Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined at the Royal Academy

I found myself between meetings today so decided to seize the opportunity to go see Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined at the Royal Academy. Seven architectural practices from six countries and four continents have taken over 23,000 square feet of the sumptuous neoclassical main galleries of Royal Academy in a monumental group show that seeks to make visitors ‘feel something’

In essence this exciting exhibition is all about the power of architecture to shape our emotions. Each architect has been given a room or a series of rooms and each has responded to their space in a different way. The highlights for me was the first installation by Chilean architects Pezo von Ellrichshausen, presenting a soaring, pine structure called Blue. The huge imposing cylinders contain stairs that allow you to ascend into the roof of the room and admire the beautiful angels on the coving.

The second hit was by the wonderful Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, whom I worked with several years ago on the launch of one of his buildings – Z58 – in Shanghai. Kuma’s dramatic sculptural form occupies two blacked out galleries with filigree structures of woven bamboo. Subtly lit from below they strike an eerie form but their impact is not only visual. Each piece of bamboo is anchored in a phial of scent, with the first structure filling its room with a powerful aroma of tatami and the second with cedar – a truly multi-sensory experience.

Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined, The Royal Academy of the Arts. Until 6th April.