Radical Rooms: Power of the plan is the latest exhibition by the RIBA, created through a special partnership between architect Charles Holland and visual artist Di Mainstone. The exhibition explores the power relations embedded within the layout of our domestic spaces. It uses stories from architectural history and highlights moments when the architectural plan has challenged or changed the conventions of domestic life.
Spanning 500 years, the exhibition is anchored in three buildings from the 16th, 18th, and 20th centuries: Hardwick Hall, A la Ronde, and the Hopkins House. Each presents the profound role of women in their development and design, an influence that has persistently been left out of the history of architecture.
With a layout inspired by the Palladian house plan, the exhibition forms an abstract grid of connected rooms defined by curtains and floor patterns. Animated and occupied by the four women, the architectural patrons of the three buildings, Bess of Hardwick, Jane and Mary Parminter, and Patty Hopkins, these spaces share their stories through elaborate costume design and a music score that makes up an immersive audio-visual performance.