Palladian design: the Good, the Bad and the Unexpected

From the US Capitol to a 21st century Somerset cowshed and a postmodern Canadian skiing lodge, ‘Palladian Design: The Good, the Bad and the Unexpected’ introduces Andrea Palladio’s design principles and explores how they have been interpreted, copied and re-imagined across time and continents from his death in 1580 right up to the present day.

Michele Longoni at RIBA
Michele Longoni at RIBA

Designed by Caruso St John, this exhibition explores how British architects such as Inigo Jones and Lord Burlington turned Palladianism into a national style and how 20th and 21st century architects have reinterpreted Palladio’s design principles for contemporary use in unexpected ways.

The exhibition includes works by Palladio never previously exhibited and other original drawings from the RIBA Collections by some of the UK’s most celebrated architects, including Colen Campbell, William Kent and Edwin Lutyens.

These are displayed alongside works by international modern and contemporary architects Erik Gunnar Asplund, Aldo Rossi, George Saumarez-Smith, John Penn, Stephen Taylor and Peter Märkli.

Alongside drawings and photographs, the shows features impressive models of St Martin-in-the-Fields by James Gibb from RIBA’s Collection and the unbuilt Villa Ordos in Mongolia by Belgian practice OFFICE that inverts Palladio’s Villa Rotonda.

A newly commissioned film juxtaposes the interior of Brick House by Caruso St John with Palladio’s Villa Caldogno in Vizenca, exploring the concept of ‘abstract Palladiansim’.

The buildings featured may conform to, or challenge, ideas about Palladian architecture. Either way, their inclusion is intended to provoke debate and raise questions about the authenticity of a form of architecture increasingly removed from its original time and place.

Villa Palladiana
Villa Palladiana

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