Vacancy, Architect / Designer 

March 2019

Architect / Experienced Designer

6a architects is searching for a registered architect with a minimum of 6 years post-Part 2 / postgraduate experience to join the studio. Applicants should be skillful and resourceful designers with considerable experience in construction and contract administration. Applications are invited by email or hard copy and should include a concise portfolio. 

6a architects is an equal opportunities employer and positively encourages applications from underrepresented groups.

Photograph by Julia Kubisty

The Lie of the Land
mk Gallery

March 2019

The catalogue of the new mk Gallery opening exhibition has been published featuring works by 85 artists and essays by Fay Blanchard, Tom Emerson, Jes Fernie, Cora Gilroy-Ware and Paul Gilroy, Owen Hatherley, Sam Jacob, Gareth Jones, Jane Rendell, Anthony Spira and Claire Louise Staunton.

Through a playful and provocative display The Lie of the Land charts how British landscape was radically transformed by changes in free time and leisure activities since hunting and shooting, the recreations of the aristocracy, were enjoyed on the rolling hills of their private estates. In part, tracing a line between Capability Brown’s aristocratic gardens at Stowe and the social, urban experiment at neighbouring Milton Keynes, the exhibition teases out the aspirations that underpin our built environments. 

The Lie of the Land examines the modernisation of leisure propelled by industrialisation, a theme developed from Canaletto’s painting of the fashionable public entertainment venue, Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. The Victorian era, with its social reforms aiming to improve urban living conditions, is represented by the Parks Movement. Alongside works by early science fiction writer Jane Loudon and the founder of the Garden City Movement Ebenezer Howard, the exhibition also includes the first-ever lawnmower, John Ruskin’s rock collection and influential horticulturalist Gertrude Jekyll’s gardening boots. 

From the late-18th century, large-scale public spectacles became hugely popular as a result of technical advances. Hot air ballooning, horse racing and concerts heralded the commodification of leisure. By contrast, grassroots-initiated activity such as raves, carnivals and urban sports are traced in the work of, for example, Jeremy Deller and Errol Lloyd and use of public spaces for protest are explored, including the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp occupation.

As the 20th century progressed, in Milton Keynes, chief architect Derek Walker proposed a city greener than the surrounding countryside where cars, electronic communication and nature reinvented the idea of the town-country for the 1970s. Radical urban theory was to be combined with the LA lifestyle and the thrill of pop culture – also reflected in the art of Richard Hamilton and Eduardo Paolozzi.

The Lie of the Land highlights campaigns to democratise space, from the 17th century egalitarian Levellers to the 1930s Ramblers. We look at how people use public space, and the communities that have been excluded through structures of race, gender, disability and class, explored in works by artists including Jo Spence, Rose Finn-Kelcey and Ingrid Pollard. Overall, the exhibition aims to capture a visionary spirit of grand designs tempered by the realities of political expediency. Public resources are under increasing pressure and ‘placemaking’ and ‘regeneration’ remain central to urban development. The Lie of the Land looks reflexively at the role of culture in this process, drawing inspiration and seeking lessons from the past.

Curatorial team:

Sam Jacob, Anthony Spira, Claire Louise Staunton, Fay Blanchard with Tom Emerson, Gareth Jones and Niall Hobhouse.

The exhibition was made possible with support from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and a Jonathan Ruffer Curatorial Research Grant from Art Fund.

BBC Look East news

March 2019

Ben Schofield reports from mk Gallery for bbc news Look East

Hope and Faith in Retro Colours
The Observer

March 2019

Is This Tomorrow?

February 2019

Is This Tomorrow? takes as its model Whitechapel Gallery’s landmark exhibition This Is Tomorrow (1956), which featured 37 British architects, painters and sculptors – including Richard Hamilton, Eduardo Paolozzi and Alison and Peter Smithson – working collaboratively in small groups.

6a has collaborated with artist Amalia Pica to produce Enclosure, an installation made from objects designed to corral, entertain and care for animals. Enclosure aims to create a playful installation addressed beyond human horizons towards the multiplicity of life that makes our collective environment. 

In an era when humanity is facing new challenges posed by big data, bioengineering and climate change, Whitechapel Gallery has invited ten groups of artists and architects to explore the potential of collaboration and offer their visions of the future. They imagine scenarios in which queer desire, house music and fracking meet on a mountainside; grief and microbes generate new possibilities for housing; or machines dispense objects and emotions to support our place in the technological world of tomorrow.

"The piece that holds it all together is the first one you see when you enter the exhibition. This is Enclosure, by 6a Architects and Amalia Pica, in which the equipment used for managing animals – sheep pens, equestrian show-jumping poles, cat-scratching posts, cattle-feeding troughs, toys for seals – form a plausible but nonsensical assembly. Its beauty is in its reality, as this material is already out there and in use, while also revealing unconscious attitudes to animals and nature."

Rowan Moore, The Oberserver, 17 February 2019

Whitechapel Gallery until 12 May