Flemish architects Paul Robbrecht and Hilde Daem of Robbrecht en Daem Architecten have a poetic approach to buildings. Embracing the intimate and the modest, their projects are defined by natural materials and simplicity of colour. Sudden openings onto exhilarating views act as flowing, ephemeral presences which guide visitors through the space.
Describing architecture as a vehicle for understanding the world; an observatory, their projects have range from high profile public buildings such as Bruges Concert Hall and the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum extension in Rotterdam, to a woodland cabin, a zoo and a bird observation tower. Collaborations with artists have created interplays between art and architecture, while their sensitive renovations reveal a sophisticated engagement with history in projects including Antwerp City Archives and the Whitechapel Gallerys recent expansion.
The Whitechapel Gallery
presents their first UK exhibition. It looks at key buildings from the 1980s to today, with watercolours, plans and photographs relating to each project. Kristien Daems extensive photographs and six films directed by cinematographer Maarten Vanden Abeele provide extraordinary portraits of completed projects. A special gallery dedicated to collaborations with artists, brings together works by Dirk Braeckman, René Daniëls, Raoul De Keyser, Isa Genzken, Cristina Iglesias, Juan Muñoz, Gerhard Richter, Philippe Van Isacker, Didier Vermeiren and Franz West.
Robbrecht en Daem Architecten have been working for over 20 years on the relation between art and architecture. Their work has included houses for collectors of contemporary art, private art galleries, designs for numerous exhibitions and public art galleries, and many collaborations with artists.