Publications

International Journal of Art & Design Education

Transitional Spaces: Mapping Physical Change

Volume 26.2   2007

SPRAKE, JULIET and THOMAS, HELEN

 

Museums and buildings are both considered immutable by the majority of people who use them. A small team from Goldsmiths College, the V&A+RIBA Architecture Partnership and Pimlico School set out to challenge this preconception. The Victoria & Albert museum was taken as a case study to investigate how buildings are a physical manifestation of an institute, and how their physical presence records the way the museum has to respond to outside criteria, from government funding strategies to cultural trends.

This article puts forward the argument that a museum building as a subject is a constantly changing environment, through which young learners can develop their historical imagination and critical abilities. It describes the process and findings from a project carried out with students from Pimlico School, who were asked to find and respond to evidence in the fabric of the V&A museum buildings of the substantial physical changes that it is currently undergoing. By choosing specific sites, the students put together a series of PDA-based threads to describe and archive different narratives about the museum at the moment of their mapping. These are made for future visitors to see, hear and compare the museum environment they are experiencing with the one that the students recorded.