Ruskin backs ‘catastrophic’ exhibition

The latest exhibition at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) ‘Creation from Catastrophe’ could not be more topical as it focuses on how communities all over the world have recovered from major disasters with the help of architects and engineers.

Sponsored by Ruskin Air Management, this fascinating collection of historical materials looks at how fires, floods and earthquakes have inspired major architectural breakthroughs.

Subtitled ‘How Architecture Rebuilds Communities’, it starts with Sir Christopher Wren’s plans to rebuild London after the Great Fire of 1666 and travels through some of history’s greatest catastrophes right up to the monster flood of 2010 that left one fifth of Pakistan under water and 20 million people affected.

The Great Fire led to several ground breaking plans for town planning that are still in use today and the Pakistan disaster to a new form of flood resistant housing pioneered by the charismatic architect Yasmeen Lari, who has dedicated her later career to helping disaster stricken communities.

Influential The exhibition looks at other examples throughout history including the impact of the 1755 earthquake that devastated Lisbon and the huge Chicago fire of 1871 that led to the formation of the world famous and hugely influential Chicago School of Architecture.

A fascinating array of original drawings and plans are on show – including the Wren family’s own record of Sir Christopher’s work – along with photographs, models and films bringing the exhibition alive.

“A disaster zone where everything is lost offers the perfect opportunity for us to take a fresh look, from the ground up, at what architecture really is.”
— Toyo Ito

“We are extremely proud to be supporting such an inspirational and timely event,” said Ruskin managing director Kevin Munson. “The fact that the world is facing more frequent and more violent natural disasters makes this exhibition even more relevant and vital.

“The ability of innovative architects, builders and engineers to rebuild from chaos to rescue communities is hugely inspiring and shows the very best of what our industry has to offer. All this evidence of how engineers and architects change the world should also prove a powerful recruiting message.”

The exhibition is free to visit at RIBA’s headquarters in 66 Portland Place, London W1 and runs until April 24.


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