The Bartlett School of Architecture


The Bartlett’s AUAR Labs Participate in new V&A and Building Centre Exhibition

7 October 2021

The show, titled ‘Shaping Space — Architectural Models Revealed’, opened in September and brings together historical and contemporary models to chart the evolution of architecture.

Image: Chris Jackson

‘Shaping Space’ is a collaboration between the V&A and the Building Centre, and spotlights the role of architectural models in shaping the spaces we live in. The exhibition tracks the history of architectural model-making, examining the different functions of the form, from expressing an idea and experimenting with materials to presenting a detailed, miniature snapshot of a project.

AUAR are exhibiting an interactive, digital toy-kit, titled ‘Space, Play, Automation’, where visitors can create their own designs and scan them into AUAR's digital library. 

Rethinking architecture through toys can be traced as far back as pioneering educator Friedrich Froebel’s timber blocks. Using CNC-routed plywood connected through magnetic joints and Computer Vision – a field of artificial intelligence – AUAR’s toy-kit is designed to broaden public authorship and engagement in the computational design process. Designs could translate into instructions for robots assembling full-scale blocks into a building or be used to crowdsource data that 'learns from' and generates further models. The kit encourages engagement through play - visitors can create their own designs and scan them into AUAR's digital library.

Automated Architecture (AUAR) Labs is a research laboratory within The Bartlett School of Architecture. Led by Mollie Claypool, Manuel Jimenez Garcia, Claire McAndrew and Gilles Retsin, AUAR explores modular design, automation, generative design, AI and community collaboration.

The exhibition is curated by the Building Centre exhibitions team in partnership with Simona Valeriani of the V&A’s Research Institute (VARI), and designed by Roz Barr Architects. An associated educational programme, led by Dr Marta Ajmar from the V&A Research Institute, also includes free workshops for school pupils and families.

‘Shaping Space’ takes place at the Building Centre in Bloomsbury, London from 24 September 2021 − 28 January 2022 and is free to attend.

More information

Image: Chris Jackson