Hosting a programme of exhibitions and talks, the 'Building on the Built' series begins with an exhibition that delves into a Brutalist icon.
With the aim of promoting architectural work that is connected to existing structures, a retrospective on Jonathan Tuckey Design was created in 2016. Part of this retrospective was named Building on the Built, which has been relaunched as its own entity in 2018; it will host a programme of exhibitions and talks that focuses on work that is evolving, mongrel or collaborative with time.
The Building on the Built relaunch begins with an exhibition of the project Revisited: Habitat 67, by the renowned architectural photographer James Brittain. Open to the public on Saturday 3rd and Saturday 10th of February, the exhibition takes place in the Jonathan Tuckey Design offices – a space that transforms into a gallery when the firm is closed.
The first exhibition of the Building on the Built series presents a series of Brittain’s large-scale colour photographs, which document Habitat 67, a residential complex in Montreal that was designed by the Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie. The famed Brutalist icon was originally the Canadian Pavilion for the World Exposition in 1967.
By revisiting the structure, the exhibition hopes to “assess its legacy and ask questions about the representation of architecture and its inhabitation,” in order to demonstrate the way that architecture can accommodate change, and the way that photography captures the passage of time.
Accompanying Brittain’s contemporary images is archival material from the Canadian Centre for Architecture and the Canadian Architecture Collection at McGill University, which provide insight into the original ambitions for Habitat 67.
“I’ve been thinking about layers and traces of life left on architecture over time,” Brittain explains. “I’ve also been considering the way Habitat 67 itself has aged, how it’s used and inhabited, and how both public and private space at the complex has been adapted by the residents”.
The photographs, Brittain adds, are also “a response to the daily dose of digital imagery of architecture on social media and the web.” He feels that “mainstream photography of architecture has largely withdrawn from communicating the experience of buildings and spaces, and specific moments spent in places,” and hopes to counter this with the insight that can be found in his Habitat 67 exhibition.
After the Habitat 67 exhibition, the Building on the Built series continues with an exhibition and talk by Dublin-based practice Carson and Crushell Architects in May 2018. Further exhibitions for 2018 include work by Fred Scott, the author of On Altering Architecture, and Slovenian practice Ambient, who will present the work they undertook at Ljubljana Castle.
Discussing Habitat 67 and the series at large, Practice Director Jonathan Tuckey said, “we are delighted to be hosting an exhibition of James’ work in our new office, as well as a larger programme by many practitioners that might be unfamiliar to a London-based audience. The ideas behind Building on the Built are embedded in our daily work, as we carefully piece together elements of the city, integrating contemporary design into the existing built fabric”.
All images © James Brittain