To Liverpool for the architectural event of the autumn – the collision between Lutyens and Le Corbusier in the Metropolitan Cathedral Crypt. Unfortunately the overbearing and labyrinthine staging of the exhibition makes what might have been an interesting combat between these two titans difficult to discern. The spatial and material genius of Lutyens is cleverly obscured to enhance the importance of the most famous bespectacled Swiss, although an interesting family of geometrically abstract holy water stoups peak provocatively around planar screens, presenting a cunningly utilitarian riposte to Le Corbusier’s ‘sculptures’.
Leaving these frustrations aside, however, the exhibition is comprehensive, giving a full account of Le Corbusier’s career. The early years are well represented, and the presentation continues in a slightly confusing way through to the last works, notably the Philips Pavilion which is given the full audio-visual reconstruction treatment. Physical models, both original and recent are complemented by virtual reconstructions of unbuilt projects, notably the Palace of the Soviets. Small electronic panels flick through examples of Le Corbusier’s sketchbooks, and archive films add life to the sometimes arid display. In totality it is an exhibition best suited to the initiates of architecture which will do little to spread understanding of his work beyond the existing fan base. However, for those of us already in the club, it is well worth the trip.
PS A pair of opera glasses might be useful to read the captions, which are very small and often hard to find
See also Eisenman in Liverpool!