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Le Corbusier admired ocean liners for their “tenacity, discipline … and honest expression” and they inspired his aphorism: “The house is a machine for living in.” His Villa Savoye (1928), famously embodies these ideas. The following year Le Corbusier designed a lesser-known project for the Salvation Army: the Asile Flottant (“Floating Refuge”), a conversion of an 8m barge into a dormitory to sleep 160 vagrants on cold nights.
In this issue, which has a nautical theme, we look at a few architectural projects that might also be classed as floating refuges. British architect David Kohn has designed, in collaboration with the artist Fiona Banner, Le Roi des Belges, a boat that has sat on the roof of the Queen Elizabeth Hall for the past six months. Kohn says that he was inspired by the boat the novelist Joseph Conrad commanded up the Congo.
Ole Scheeren, who split from OMA two years ago to set up his own practice, has created a floating Archipelago Cinema (our cover) that was conceived in deliberate counterpoint to the Asian towers – including CCTV – for which he is best known.
We also look at the new Cutty Sark and Titanic Belfast museums, which both enshrine and memorialise famous ships with questionable success. And our intrepid correspondent Charles Holland took on the onerous task of conducting sea trials in Riva’s new mahogany-clad luxury launch. Le Corbusier would have been proud.
Up front there’s Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei’s Serpentine Pavilion, glacier-like tables by Zaha Hadid, David Chipperfield’s plans for the Venice Biennale, Steven Holl’s gallery in Seoul and our roundup of Clerkenwell Design Week.
And in Review we look at Edward Burtynsky’s Oil series at The Photographers’ Gallery, journey round Patrick Keiller’s mind at Tate Britain and dip into WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing.