For the third year of the V&A’s collaboration with La Biennale di Venezia, a section of Robin Hood Gardens, the housing estate in East London by Alison and Peter Smithson completed in 1972, will be transported in Venice.
In Venice, the pre-cast concrete elements of Robin Hood Gardens will be reconstructed on a scaffold, designed by ARUP – who engineered the original building – with muf architecture/art – who first proposed the Museum’s acquisition of the fragment – that will allow visitors to walk along a ‘street in the sky’. The V&A has also commissioned a new work by Korean artist Do Ho Suh, whose practice centres on capturing memories and questioning the meaning of home. His monumental film/animation installation provides an exploration of Robin Hood Gardens under demolition less than fifty years after the Smithson’s utopian vision was completed. Using the latest technology in 3D scanning and photogrammetry and projected on a 13m-wide screen, the camera moves along the walkways and appears to cut through the building, depicting and revealing individual lives through domestic interiors within the modular plan. Do Ho Suh’s installation will respond to the indistinct boundaries between psychic interior and objective exterior, reflecting on these homes and their function within a physical structure that is about to disappear.
The V&A actively encourages public debate around questions of architecture and urbanism; at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia lessons of Robin Hood Gardens will serve to ask the urgent questions that face us all about the future of social housing.
- Robin Hood Gardens