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Dunlop praises Venice Biennale work

August 16 2012

Dunlop praises Venice Biennale work
The British Council has published the outcomes of 10 architectural teams dispatched around the world on a mission to research inspiring places which can serve as a model for the UK.

Amongst their number was a team comprising Ross Anderson and Anna Gibb, recent graduates of Robert Gordon university,  who travelled to Russia to take a closer look at Moscow’s so called ‘Paper Architects’.

This loose collective formed in the 80s in response to government censorship of communication with the outside world, prompting its members to embark on risky manoeuvres such as forging signatures to get sketches for foreign design competitions past zealous military censors.

Gibb and Anderson are now in process of establishing to build an equivalent network of young British architects.

Commenting on the work Alan Dunlop, a visiting professor at the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture, said: "I've been struggling to get Scottish architects and architecture represented in the British Pavilion at the Biennale now for over twelve years, without success. Exhibiting in the BP has always been for a select few, architects from within the M25 and their pals.
"Peter Cooke said architecture quality drops like a stone outside London so from that start it's great that Ross and Anna have work on show. Both are excellent students and I think that their premise of encouraging young architects to act like the paper architects from the Soviet Union because there is little work around is a very interesting one. Anna's drawings are also excellent.
"As for Scottish architects exhibiting in the BP that's still something that is shamefully overlooked. Rather than looking abroad for inspiration, my view is that the BP should have looked much closer to home." 
Each team will exhibit a series of essays and images within the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale from August 29 to November 25 before moving to London.
'Ruined Ruin' by Anderson
'Ruined Ruin' by Anderson
Entrance to paper architect Alexander Brodsky's office
Entrance to paper architect Alexander Brodsky's office


#1 Posted by Neil on 16 Aug 2012 at 16:59 PM
Opening out the pavilion is long overdue. Looks like a good exhibition
#2 Posted by ES on 16 Aug 2012 at 17:31 PM
Not strictly true both Richard Murphy and Kathryn Findlay have shown their work in the British Pavilion. Work was exhaustive and exhausting I admit , pretty dull I fact but nevertheless they were Scottish and included.
Duan Su Ge
#3 Posted by Duan Su Ge on 17 Aug 2012 at 03:19 AM
The work that is to go on show in Venice looks like a very interesting inquiry, well done to its creators. The article really should focus on that though, I would have liked to have read and seen more of it here. Instead it seems to go off on a self-pitying tangent about Scottish exclusion.
Bill Simpson
#4 Posted by Bill Simpson on 17 Aug 2012 at 08:23 AM
I'm pretty sure Gareth Hoskins, a Scottish Practice, exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 2008 with their interesting stair design for a "Gathering Space". Plus, not sure how sensible it is suggesting students should enact "risky manoeuvres" to get into design competitions, it is likely to backfire on a lot of people. The drawings are fantastic though, and the exhibition sounds fascinating. Well done all involved.
#5 Posted by ES on 17 Aug 2012 at 09:10 AM
#4 Well done indeed
#3 It is an interesting point and worth making I believe. As a Manchester based architect I also think that exhibiting in the Giardini and British Pavilion has been restricted to primarily a selected few London based architects in the main although I would not put it so pointedly as Alan D. Scottish Architects however have exhibited in the Arsenale though and Gareth Hoskins did exhibit his excellent gathering place in Venice. But not the same as in the British Pavilion or the Giardini, in my view.
stuart gray
#6 Posted by stuart gray on 17 Aug 2012 at 09:32 AM
i think the main point here is that this is that Anna and Ross should be commended on the work they have produced. both very talented and will represent scotland proudly at the biennale....
#7 Posted by Richard on 17 Aug 2012 at 09:34 AM
ES, perhaps if the quaility of architecture in Scotland and Manchester was better that would solve it?
Ross Anderson
#8 Posted by Ross Anderson on 17 Aug 2012 at 10:31 AM
Thankyou for all your supportive comments. Just to clarify in response to Bill, our intention is not to encourage students to undertake 'risky manouvers' to get into design competitions, this is just part of what the Paper Architects of Moscow had to do to enter international competitions outside of the Soviet Union. I must also clarify that our focus is not primarily on students, but young architects and emerging practices. I am hopeful that this will become more clear following the opening of the exhibition.
Bill Simpson
#9 Posted by Bill Simpson on 17 Aug 2012 at 11:14 AM
Thanks for clarifying that Ross. Let my comments in no way take away from such a fantastic achievement by you and Ms Gibb. Well done the two of you.
Ciaran G
#10 Posted by Ciaran G on 17 Aug 2012 at 14:15 PM
Incredible drawings from both Ross and Anna and a very interesting idea. Lets hope the platform of the Venice biennale gives them the exposure they deserve and more importantly inspires a generation of young architects in Scotland that may not have much faith in the profession at the moment.

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