Sensing Spaces

Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined, at the Royal Academy, is a series of installations by seven different architects, each looking to expand the visitor’s perception of space, and the architect’s role in defining how that space is experienced.

The exhibition has thrown the floor open to the discussion over art meeting architecture, partly through the staging of such a large profile architectural show at the academy, where many visitors are more likely to expect art (coverage of the Royal Academy Summer Show tends to gloss over the architecture room as being a bit dry and inaccessible to the general public….)

But where does one begin and one end? What defines architecture? What can architecture say to us? Can it evoke feelings in the same way that art does?

Pezo von Ellrichshausen’s installation

In this I believe many of the installations were particularly evocative – the qualities of light and dark, of texture and form, and even smell were used to produce varying qualities and experiences – in Kengo Kuma’s; Li Xiaodong’s and Pezo von Ellrichshausen’s work especially.

From top: Li Xiaodong’s installation, Kengo Kuma’s.

The installation by Diebedo Francis Kere was a hit with families – being an interactive piece with colourful straws which children clutched all the way down Picadilly – but it was great in that allowed the space to change over the duration of the exhibition, and reflected the creative desires of the visitors

Installation by Diebedo Francis Kere

My only criticism, and it isn’t even a criticism – was the amount of children and families. I would have liked to visit some of the installations alone, in silence, to fully take in the qualities of the spaces, however, it was a weekend in central London, and I can’t really complain about the wonderful fact that the exhibition is enjoyable to all.

The exhibition ends 6th April. For further information please visit the official curator’s blog.


  • Grafton Architects
  • Kengo Kuma
  • Pezo von Ellrichshausen
  • Eduardo Souto de Moura
  • Alvaro Siza
  • Li Xiaodong
  • Diebedo Francis Kere