New Island architecture exhibition
Quay Arts - Newport - Isle of Wight - March 2007
The Isle of Wight Branch of the RIBA staged an exhibition of work on the island by local practices and mainland firms in March this year. The only criteria for exhibiting was that the work had to be on the Isle of Wight and by RIBA members.
The title of the exhibition was 'NEW ISLAND ARCHITECTURE' three words that summarised the entrance criteria perfectly.
The Isle of Wight has been described and in many ways can be best understood as 'England in Miniature'. Part of its charm to mainlanders is the feeling of stepping back in time when you step off the ferry. There are many fine examples of Victorian Architecture which survive intact, not least Osborne House, reflecting the period when the island was a fashionable holiday destination. This can be a problem for Architects building today. New buildings of architectural merit are getting built on the island. However many of these projects are small and not in the public domain so the exhibition sought to address this.
The exhibition was held at The Quay Arts Centre is in Newport, the island's capital. The Michael West Gallery occupies the first floor of the Quay Arts Centre, a superb venue created out of the redundant shell of the former Mews Ales Brewery at the limit of navigation of the River Medina by Tony Fretton Architects.
Entrants focued on material that would be easily understood by the general public such as photographs, sketch views and particularly physical models that would appeal to youngsters.
The show ran for the month of March and co-incided with three evening events on consecutive Wednesdays staged in the gallery's theatre in order to maximise publicity and get the public interested: our annual Discourse given by Maxwell Hutchinson; a talk by John Onken RIBA and John Pardy RIBA on their New Island Houses and the IOW Society's annual building awards evening.
Gian L. Giblett RIBA
Chair – Isle of Wight Branch RIBA
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