Photograph by Paul Smoothy

Exhibition @ Christ Church Spitalfields, London

Sublime Flesh brings together, for the first time, new designs for contemporary spiritual spaces developed by students in Unit 20 at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. A collection of research projects located in international cities including Istanbul, Rome, Turin, Lisbon, Havana and Miami, each explores a unique sense of sacredness and the Sublime. The complex nature of these themes is articulated in a series of exquisite models that express a new ornamental, spatial and technological approach and also a reconsidered religious and cultural dimension for contemporary architecture design.
Sacred Spaces have long been the apotheosis of architectural genius; buildings created by some of the greatest names in architectural history in which stylistic and spatial innovations are revealed and new technologies tested and developed. The theory and theology of Sacred Spaces holds renewed interest in the current historic moment where religious faith is under intense scrutiny.
Sublime Spaces are primarily associated with experience bound up in the powers of nature, but as nature has changed throughout the ages, so has our sense of the Sublime. Expressing grand passions and utopian ideas, Sublime Spaces illuminate the emotional involvement between the creator and the user of architecture spaces.
Housed in the Nave of Christ Church Spitalfields and displaying designs for churches and other spiritual spaces, the exhibition will offer a direct dialogue between historic and contemporary architecture. The exhibition will be accompanied by a symposium in which key architects, historians and critics discuss contemporary architecture in the context of the exhibition. Speakers are Sir Peter Cook, Marjan Colletti, Rev Rod Green, Robert Harbison, Ali Mangera, Yael Reisner, and Marcos Cruz (chair).

Curation: Marcos Cruz with Lisa-Raine Hunt
Exhibition design: marcosandmarjan with Unit 20 (Aleksandrina Rizova, Luca Rizzi Brignoli, Leonhard Clemens, Amanda Bate, Richard Beckett, Linda Hagberg, Wendy Teo)
Collaboration: Johan Voordouw and Wanda Yu-Ying Hu
Manufacturing of Exhibition Tables: Special thanks to Emmanuel Vercruysse - CAD/CAM workshop, Bartlett School of Architecture UCL; and Guan Lee - Grymsdyke Farm + MESA Studio
Manufacturing of models: DMC London, Bartlett School of Architecture UCL
Media: M.A.D. London
Participants: Jay Williams, Sam White, Johan Voordouw, Hannes Mayer, Laurence Dudeney, Kasper Ax, Yousef Al-Mehdari, Yaojen Chuang, Vicky Patsalis, Jason Chan, Kenny Tsui, Tobias Klein, Jenna Al-Ali, Aleksandrina Rizova, Luca Rizzi Brignoli, Leonhard Clemens, Amanda Bate, Richard Beckett, Linda Hagberg, Wendy Teo.
Speakers during symposium: Peter Cook, Ali Mangera, Marjan Colletti, Robert Harbison, Yael Reisner, Rev Rod Greene and Marcos Cruz (chair)

Opening Reception Monday 29 March 19.00-21.00
Exhibition Continues 30 March to 11 April
Opening Hours Mon-Sat 11.00-18.00, Sun 13.00-18.00
(The exhibition is closed on 2 and 3 April for Good Friday and Easter Saturday)
Exhibition Symposium Tuesday 6 April 14.30-18.30
Film Screening Friday 9 April 19.00-20.00

Film Screening : Friday 9th of April 19:00 to 20:00

Experimental Architecture Short Films by Wanda Yu-Ying Hu

A series of short films exploring new ways of perceiving architecture by focusing on the experiential qualities of space

Urban Framing - Rivington Place
ProHD, 16:9, 5mins38secs, 2008
Blank Slate Digital Shorts, sponsored by UK Film Council and B3 Media
Screened at Urban World Film Festival, New York, 2008; Blank Slate promotional tour around the UK, 2008; East End Film Festival, London, 2009

An experimental documentary about Rivington Place London, designed by Adjaye Associates. In this film the building itself acts as narrator, documenting an unspoken conversation between its façade and urban context, alongside a visual dialogue with users of the building. The dual character of the building’s interior and exterior, created by an enigmatic façade, is reflected in the shooting and editing style of the film; while the outside is dynamic and colourful, the inside is contemplative and monochromatic. The flux and flow of interwoven images and accompanying sound throughout the film provides an unexpected cinematic experience that challenges the viewer to look more intimately at the architecture encountered on a daily basis in our cities.

Stephen Lawrence Centre
SD, 4:3, 5mins8secs, 2007
Shown at David Adjaye: Making Public Buildings, Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, 2008

This documentary about David Adjaye’s Stephen Lawrence Centre, made during the building construction stage, aims to unravel architectural ‘truth’ without relying on the glossiness and cleanliness of a newly finished building. The film explores the way in which the building creates a singular dialogue with the surrounding urban context (the DLR and Canary Wharf in the distance) and natural environment (the park next to the site). Highlighting specific interior features such as the glazing in the reception areas (designed by artist Chris Ofili), the dynamic shape of the studio space, and the vivid colours used in a variety of circulation spaces, the film develops a rich experience of the unique character of the building.

19 Hanover Square (Lend Lease Europe HQ)
SD, 4:3, 3mins30secs, 2007
Shown at London Open House - 19 Hanover Square, 2007

This short film documents the interior of Fletcher Priest’s refurbishment of Lend Lease European Headquarters in central London. Beginning in the public areas of the ground floor reception, the film then moves to private upper workplaces; spaces that are rather more secluded but are nonetheless catalysts for change, innovation and collaboration. The film focuses on sustainable design solutions implemented by the architects, including the exposure of the existing concrete frame, recycling bins, natural recyclable materials, and a bamboo veneered wall that links several meeting rooms to the reception.

The Red Lizard - 75th Lisbon Book Fair (web edit)
SD, 4:3, 1mins27secs, 2009
Partly broadcasted on RTPN – ‘Estação das Artes’, Porto, Portugal, 2009

A documentary exerpt exploring marcosandmarjan’s project for the 75th Lisbon Book Fair 2005. Visually describing the tectonic and formal complexity of the auditorium and cafeteria and comparing the use and atmosphere of inside and outside spaces, film footage is complemented by conceptual explanations from one of the designing architects. The film reveals the rather special (very low-tech) construction method and the animal-like features of the building, tracing the inhabitation of public areas at different times of the day and observing the way the building relates to its site, with extraordinary views over Lisbon and the river Tejo.

SD, 4:3, 1mins30secs, 2005
Part of 90 Second Challenge: Viewing Architecture Through a Lens
Screened at Watershed, Bristol, 2005

This short film tells the story of the Station, an art gallery that is hosted in the old fire station of Bristol harbour. The interview with artist Louise Short, who runs the gallery, is the main soundtrack through which the conceptual and historic significance of the place is explained. The images of the station and its surroundings follow her explanations, often using her words to open up unexpected directions.

I remember the sound of raining
SD, 4:3, 4mins42secs, 2003
Pinch Punch exhibition screened at the Cobden Club, London, 2003

This film narrates two parallel journeys, one by bus and the other by tube, from Central London to the Cobden Club in West London, where the film was subsequently screened. Exploring the subjectivity and ephemeral nature of our perceptions during travel in urban environments, it observes surreal associations (with roasted ducks hanging from shop windows in China Town) that we experience in our daily life.

I forgot the image of movement
SD, 4:3, 28secs, 2003
This fleeting film creates dream-like layered imagery of a sci-fi city. Filmed and edited directly on a Bolex 16mm B/W film camera inside Westminster tube station in London, the work was transferred to a video format and subsequently coloured.

Up into the unknown / Back into the real world
SD, 4:3, 5mins5secs, 2006
Screened at Architecture Film Festival, Rotterdam, 2009

An experimental documentary about the Kunsthaus Graz in Austria, designed by Spacelab Cook-Fournier GmbH (Sir Peter Cook and Colin Fournier) and short-listed for the prestigious Stirling prize 2004. The film is composed of two distinct parts which explore the architecture from two very different yet complementary angles; the first is more dynamic, even hectic and rooted at ground level, the second is more contemplative and peaceful, transcending the building to reach towards the sky. In both parts the façade, the ‘skin’ plays a crucial role in explaining how this ‘alien’ building relates to its surrounding urban context. The two movements together create an interwoven composition of image and sound, constructed from a site-recorded soundtrack, offering a rhythmic sense of the visual changes on the site and offering an atmospheric experience of the space.

Sublime Flesh Symposium : Tuesday 6th of April


14.30 Welcome by Lisa-Raine Hunt
14.35 Introduction by Marcos Cruz
14.50 Introduction by Rev Rod Green
15.00 Marjan Colletti - Exuberance
15.30 Yael Reisner - Emotional Architecture
16.00 Robert Harbison - Hawksmoor and the Baroque
16.30 Ali Mangera - Knowledge and Light
17.00 Sir Peter Cook - The Temptations of the Spooky
17.30 Round table discussion and question time

Marcos Cruz is the Director of the Bartlett School of Architecture UCL and Unit Master of Diploma/March Unit 20. His teaching activity as researcher, tutor and critic has been carried out at numerous international universities, including major commitments at UCL, University of Westminster, UCLA. His research work won the RIBA President’s Research Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis in 2008. Cruz is also co-founder of marcosandmarjan and editor of Flesh and Vision (Forum da Maia, 2000), Unit 20 (University of Valencia/ACTAR, 2002), Unpredictable Flesh (Mimesis, 2004), marcosandmarjan – Interfaces/Intrafaces (SpringerWienNewYork, 2005), AD – Neoplasmatic Design (John Wiley & Sons, 2008), and PhD Research Projects 2009 (Bartlett, UCL, 2009).

Marjan Colletti is co-founder of marcosandmarjan and currently a lecturer in architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture UCL (Unit Master Unit 20), and the University of Westminster (Unit Master DS10). He was guest professor and design instructor at various European, US and Asian institutions. His PhD on Digital Poetics (Bartlett UCL); the current AD issue Exuberance (Wiley); the book marcosandmarjan: Interfaces/Intrafaces (SpringerWienNewYork); and the print collection 2&1/2D Twoandahalf Dimensionality (Bucher Hohenems) all favour a poetic digital avant-garde developed through 2D, 3D software and advanced manufacturing technologies.

Yael Reisner has a PhD in architecture from the RMIT in Melbourne, a Diploma and RIBA Part 2 from the Architectural Association in London, and a BSc in biology from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Practising in London, she currently teaches internationally after nine years of teaching architectural design at the Bartlett School of Architecture UCL (MArch and Studio Master of Diploma Unit 11). Her book, Architecture and Beauty: Conversations with Architects About a Troubled Relationship written with Fleur Watson is to be published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd in 2010.

Robert Harbison is Professor of Architectural History at London Metropolitan University and the author of many books, including The Built, the Unbuilt and the Unbuildable (MIT Press, 1991), Eccentric Spaces (MIT Press, 2000), Reflections on Baroque (Reaktion, 2002) and Travels in the History of Architecture (Reaktion, 2009).

Ali Mangera studied Structural and Environmental engineering at the University of Leeds completing a Masters degree at Pennsylvania State University, USA in 1991. Ali then studied architecture at the Architectural Association and London Met and has worked at Skidmore Owings and Merril Chicago and Zaha Hadid London. In 2002, Ali founded Mangera Yvars Architects with partner Ada Yvars Bravo. The practice has offices in London and Barcelona with several international projects. Current projects include a University and campus scheme in Doha, an Office Tower in Dubai Business Bay and a Civic Centre in North London.

Peter Cook is a founder member of Archigram. His architectural studies at Bournemouth College of Art were followed by those at the Architectural Association in London where he subsequently taught from 1964 to 1990. From 1984 to 2004 he was Professor of Architecture at the Staedelschule in Frankfurt, and from 1990 to 2006 Bartlett Professor and Chair of the Bartlett UCL. As member of Archigram he was awarded the RIBA Royal Gold Medal. He has also received the Jean Tschumi Medal of the UIA, the RIBA Annie Spink award. He is a Commandeur d’ordre des arts et letters of France, and was made a Knight Bachelor in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2007. He has published innumerable books and his work has been exhibited worldwide.

Sponsored by:
Bartlett School of Architecture UCL
Christ Church Spitalfields
Grymsdyke Farm + Mesa Studio
DMC London
Building Design Partnership

For further information contact Lisa-Raine Hunt 020 7426 5363
Christ Church Spitalfields is located on the corner of Commercial Street and
Fournier Street, London E1 6LY. Nearest tubes are Liverpool St and Aldgate East.