October 31, 2014

Umberto Riva and Bijoy JainRooms You May Have Missed

Canadian Centre for Architecture

Canadian Centre for Architecture gallery plan at scale 1:1. Studio Mumbai workshop, India, 2014. © CCA.

The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) presents the work of Umberto Riva (b. 1928) and Bijoy Jain (b. 1965) in the exhibition Rooms You May Have Missed. Curated by CCA Director Mirko Zardini, the exhibition explores how two architects from different generations and cultures—late 20th-century Italy and present-day India—have each reevaluated the idea of the “room” and its inhabitation through their particular ways of working. The exhibition is on view in the CCA’s Main Galleries from 4 November 2014 through 19 April 2015.

Rooms You May Have Missed examines alternative architectural strategies and specific, regionally influenced production methods. The drawings, models, and materials included in the exhibition illustrate the respective forms of authorship that emerge from the processes Riva and Jain put into place. While Riva designs everything himself, devoting attention to all scales of a project from schematic and construction drawings to furniture details, Jain engages the specialized knowledge of traditional craftsmen and sources local methods and materials to shape the distinct character of each project.

The title Rooms You May Have Missed reflects the exhibition’s exploration of interior spaces shaped by the user’s habits, but also suggests the need to look beyond common North American references. The exhibition shows alternative models that are based on considerations of climate, social customs, the role of artisans as collaborators, and an integration with local resources and traditions.

The installation is designed by the architects for the CCA in a way that extends the curatorial focus on “rooms.” Riva and Jain alter the character of the museum space by reshaping the galleries as spaces that both present and embody their approaches to architecture. Each design displays a large variety of drawings and plans, archival and recent photographs, working models, material studies and color samples, sketches and notes by collaborators, furniture, and lamps. The accompanying graphic design is by the New York-based firm Common Name.

Umberto Riva was born in 1928 in Milan, where he continues to live and work. He received his degree in architecture in Venice in 1959. Since the 1960s, Riva has interpreted and given new shape to contemporary ways of living while purposefully maintaining a marginalized position in the field of architecture. Rooms You May Have Missed presents many of his hand drawings as well as photographs of important residential projects realized throughout his career. Also on display are Riva’s lamps, among them the Veronese and Tesa, in which bulbs are suspended inside blown-glass globes.

Bijoy Jain was born in Mumbai in 1965 and received his MArch from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri in 1990. He worked in Los Angeles and London between 1989 and 1995 and returned to India in 1995 to found his practice, Studio Mumbai Architects. In his studio, architects and skilled craftsmen collaborate to design and build using an iterative process, advancing ideas through large-scale mock-ups, models, material studies, sketches, and drawings. The exhibition presents materials related to Jain’s research and highlights his most recent projects, several of which are currently under construction.

Curator and architect Mirko Zardini is the Director of the Canadian Centre for Architecture since 2005. Exhibitions by Zardini—or in collaboration with Giovanna Borasi, currently Chief Curator of the CCA—include Asfalto: Il carattere della cittá (2003), out of the box: price rossi stirling + matta-clark (2003), Sense of the City (2005), 1973: Sorry, Out of Gas (2007), Actions: What You Can Do with the City (2008) Other Space Odysseys: Greg Lynn, Michael Maltzan, Alessandro Poli (2010), and Imperfect Health: The Medicalization of Architecture (2011). Zardini has taught design and theory at architecture schools in Europe and the United States, including Harvard University GSD, Princeton University SoA, Mendrisio Architecture Academy, Swiss Federal Polytechnic University (ETH) in Zurich, and the Federal Polytechnic in Lausanne (EPFL).


About the CCA 
The CCA, currently celebrating its 25th anniversary, is an international research centre and museum founded on the conviction that architecture is a public concern. Based on its extensive collection, exhibitions, public programs, publications and research opportunities, the CCA is a leading voice in advancing knowledge, promoting public understanding, and widening thought and debate on architecture, its history, theory, practice, and role in society today.

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