Sainsbury Centre celebrates anniversary with show on tech-inspired architecture

Sainsbury Centre celebrates anniversary with show on tech-inspired architecture

For the architecture buffs among us, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich is pretty iconic. This was the first ever public building designed by Norman Foster, and one of the key architecture landmarks of the second half of the 20th century that heralded the era of the ‘High Tech’ movement. A new wave of British architects experimenting with new technologies, materials, forms and structures soon followed.

Marking its 40th anniversary, the Centre is now launching its celebratory show SUPERSTRUCTURES: The New Architecture 1960-90, raising the glass to the genre and exploring ‘architecture’s fascination with technology in the post-war decades’. The exhibition will showcase the architects who challenged conventions with their experimentation and interest in engineering and industrial production.

Visitors can browse through drawings, sketches, furniture, film, photography and models of relevant buildings, such as the Reliance Controls Factory by Team 4 (Norman Foster, Wendy Cheesman, Georgie Wolton and Richard Rogers), the Pompidou Centre by Rogers and Renzo Piano, Rogers’ Lloyd’s of London Building, Waterloo International Rail Station by Nicholas Grimshaw and the Hopkins House by Michael and Patty Hopkins. These sit side-by-side with a brand new three-metre-long model of the Sainsbury Centre itself, to be explored and admired.

Theory and unbuilt experimentation surrounding the era is not ignored. ‘The exhibition will explore the seminal influence of figures such as Buckminster Fuller, Jean Prouvé, Charles and Ray Eames and Cedric Price’, explain the organisers, adding that the show also delves into how techniques were adapted from the automotive, nautical, aerospace and information industries and introduced into the world of building and architecture.

The exhibition is accompanied by a specially published book, which is available on site.