Fuglslang Kinstmuseum, Lolland, Denmark, 2008
The Lisson Gallery, London, 1986 and 1992
This series of talks to LSA and Courtauld students comes out of an AA show, years ago, called First Projects. The exhibition wasn’t great in all its details, but students did respond to the idea that the work of major figures in contemporary practice could each be identified with a single ‘coming of age’ project. So: Teahouse/Siza; Sin Centre/Webb; Locomotiva2/Rossi; North Penn Nurses Assoc./Venturi; Exodus/Koolhaas, and so on.
The weakness was that nowhere could one hear the voice of the architect talking about the project itself – its genesis as a commission; its genetics at that particular point in their career; the development and methodology of the design; it being built, or not; of how it had informed their later work, and thinking about practice; and (for better or worse!) about how it might have come to define public perception of their buildings. At the Courtauld we want to replay these histories in a way that is most useful to students who are about to settle into their own careers – reflective and informal, and based on design material produced at the time re-examined with the help of an interlocutor.
With Tony, the focus will be on the roughly 25 drawing books for the Lisson Gallery which he has generously given to Drawing Matter Collections. (We have made a selection of over 200 of the drawings, which we will be publishing as an iBook on the day of the talk). He will speak about how the Lisson emerged from his performance art practice, and came at a time and in a way that allowed him to develop a comprehensive ethos for his architectural work. He will examine how these insights have continued to contribute to more recent buildings in which the public is invited to interact with works of art both formally and informally; and how those quite specific approaches also suggested a model for an architecture that grows more robust over time by absorbing changes in expectation or use, and in the forms of physical and human landscapes by which it is surrounded.
– Niall Hobhouse