This weekend: New City Architecture, looking at the Gherkin, East End Academy, the Laban Centre, and Deptford X.
1. New City Architecture
Good models, interesting and mildly-interactive diorama, but not enough detail. Some confusing presentation: the models and maps aren't always oriented in the space similarly (for instance: with North aligned).
2. Foster's Gherkin
The Swiss Re building at St Mary Axe. The nearby NatWest tower is splintered and reflected in the triangles of the glass skin (ref to the Great Court's glassed roof at the British Museum, also by Foster?).
And opposite, the NatWest tower rises over a church and the gateway to the underworld (some license taken with this one). Lasciate ogni Speranza Voi ch'entrate...
4. Herzog and De Meuron's The Laban Centre, Deptford
Outside is for looking and sitting: Architect Wolfram noted that the outside (for once) looks like a computer rendering in the flesh, and the curves and the ziggurat-style grass amphitheatrescape works well. (Our photos of Laban didn't come out, so look at these instead.) Inside is for looking and touching: the spiral stairs and balustrade in rough concrete ("it glitters as if hewn out of solid coal"), snaking wooden handrails, shiny glass curtain walls and blocks of colour. Michael Craig-Martin worked with H and de M on the colour schemes for the translucent polycarbonate cladding, and did a large mural inside in the standard C-M style. The site is next to Deptford creek, which is full of the customary rusting metalwork and boats in dereliction/restoration.
5. Deptford X
Some of the open studios in the Deptford X event. The highlight: Andrea Gregson's peephole sculptures in the Creekside open studios are brilliant and redolent of other art. You're a giant crouching down or stretching up on tiptoe to peer in (viz Duchamp, and you almost expect to see the bec auer) through dolls-house-sized windows and apertures at small - sometimes surreal (Svankmajer) - scenes. Some of which look like crime scenes awaiting analysis: who ran amok in the library of miniature books? And whose is the body dangling from a tree (Goya) at the end of the wild, primordial forest (Friedrich, David Thorpe)? Dioramas en valise. Excellent.