Sunday, 18 December 2011

Robots of Brixton - back to the future

Reflecting the true spirit of Christmas, the architecture family is engaged in a row.  Building Design magazine this week covers the controversy over whether the RIBA were right to award their Silver Medal for student work to Kibwe Tavares' animated vision of a dystopian Brixton of the future, said by those against the award to be all animation and no architecture.

Prizes going to the 'wrong' people always seem to cause ill feeling that is out of kilter with the spirit of the awards, and for the journals at a time when there's not much interesting news - and the images in the film look a lot more interesting than the rather stolid type of architecture BD now favours -  it must be like, well, Christmas.

As ever, there's not much new in all this.  Archigram, anyone?  But of course their work was mostly optimistic and Tavares' satire is pessimistic.  Back in the good old days we had Tomorrow's World, Concorde and men on the moon -  now we have English Heritage and Downton Abbey.  My 3 year old daughter said the other day - possibly after watching Wallace and Grommit - 'Dad, men haven't really been to the moon, have they?'

I think the real reason I like Tavares' images is that they remind me of the 1950s Dan Dare strips I used to read.....when they were already 10 years old, in the 1960s.....I rest my case.  Happy Christmas.

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