Royal Academy Summer Exhibition


Níall and artist Rana Begum were co-curator's of the architecture rooms at the 2022 Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition. Alison Wilding’s overarching theme for the Summer Show was climate in all its manifestations, whether it presents itself as crisis or opportunity.

For many people, faced with the prospect of climate change, the sheer scale of the challenge can be overwhelming. This can lead to a sense of fatalism, based on the intuition that individual initiative has negligible impact. Architects, however, are trained to plan positively for the long term. Design is the process of imagining possible futures. This is where architects can offer telling examples of positive action signalling hope.

Some architects strive to achieve lower embodied carbon in their projects through material specification or reuse of existing building stock; some may already be working in places where their work is directly addressing the impact of climate change. Many believe in scaling back to the limits set by the natural world; others are inventing completely new technologies. Our discipline can show that imaginative change is possible and that undreamt of possibilities lie in addressing the challenges of this moment.

As curators of the Architecture Room Níall and Rana were interested in exhibiting work which shows how material practices are being changed by the demands of the Climate Crisis.

To assist with the climate theme our practice became heavily involved with helping to create some of the exhibitions pieces in the UK rather than shipping them, specifially the Khudi Bari (or Tiny House), a modular monsoon-resistant shelter designed by Bangladeshi architect Marina Tabassum which we worked alongside AKTII creating the baboo structure, and Thai architect Boonserm Premthada’s ‘Dung Power’ a structure made from elephant dung bricks. Our practice organised collection of elephant dung from Colchester Zoo and using the recipe provided by Boonserm made the brick mixture in the molds sent from Thailand. This was then assembled at the RA with finishing gold leaf touches added on varnishing day.

Read More