The Building Centre Press Release

the building centre

Major UK exhibition: Prototyping Architecture

Prototyping Architecture brings together the work of architects, engineers, manufacturers, product designers, academics and artists to explore the importance of prototypes in the delivery of high quality contemporary design. The exhibition, which runs at The Building Centre 11 January – 20 March, places a particular emphasis on research and experimentation, showing how trial assemblies can inform architecture – with maquette’s, models and full-scale sample productions on show from around the world.

Curated by Professor Michael Stacey of The University of Nottingham, in conjunction with The Building Centre, the show includes prototypes by Amanda Levete Architects, Barkow Leibinger, Yves Ebnoether, Kieran Timberlake and many more.

The full-scale prototype for Kieran Timberlake Associates’ Loblolly House is a central feature of the exhibition. It has never been exhibited outside the USA before. It demonstrates a new, more efficient method of building – using building information modelling (BIM) and integrated component assemblies. The thousands of parts, which make up a building are collapsed into a few dozen off-site fabricated assemblies that are simply attached to this industrial aluminium frame on-site. The result is a truly modular house which can be re-assembled allowing for whole-sale reclamation.

Philip Beesley’s Protocell Mesh project integrates first-generation prototypes that include aluminium meshwork canopy scaffolding and a suspended protocell carbon-capture filter array. Designed in Toronto and primarily digital fabricated in Nottingham, it was then assembled by the University of Nottingham Architecture students under the guidance of Philip Beesley and Jonathan Tyrrell, of Waterloo Architecture and PBA Inc. This spectacular combination of sculpture, architecture and science is part of the Living Architecture research programme, a collaboration with the Universities of Waterloo, Nottingham, and Universitet Syddansk, funded by The Social Science & Humanities Research Council of Canada.

“New architectural prototypes show a kind of promiscuous exchange between widely varying sources, sweeping away traditional divisions between machine and hand crafts, and between nature and technology.” Philip Beesley, Philip Beesley Architect Inc.

The exhibition also includes: a post-digital prototype for the Passion Façade of Antoni Gaudí’s Sagrada Família Basilica; a laser-sintered additively manufactured violin; lightweight prefabricated fabric formwork for on-site cast concrete; an early rapid prototyping/rapid manufactured components for Antony Gormley’s Quantum Cloud; Optical fibre concrete; and many more examples of innovation and invention that have been developed for use in building design, or have the potential to be translated to the construction industry.

Professor Michael Stacey, Director of Architecture, University of Nottingham said ‘Prototyping Architecture celebrates vital methods of design development with new technologies that potentially herald the beginning of a second industrial revolution. The exhibition forms a bridge between architecture, engineering and art – with exhibits that are truly beautiful.’


An international prototyping conference will accompany the London exhibition. Held on 21-23 February 2013, the conference will be organised into five streams:
• Prototyping Architecture
• Exemplar Prototypes

• Technology Transfer
• Systems and Material Future
• Low Carbon Prototypes
For full details please visit

Opening times:

London: January 11th – March 20th 2013

The Building Centre
Store Street, London WC1E 7BT Monday to Friday: 9.30 am – 6.00 pm Saturday: 10.00 am – 5.00 pm

Notes to editors

  1. About The Building Centre: The Building Centre is an independent forum dedicated to providing information and inspiration to all sectors of the built environment. The Centre, in Central London, is open to the
    public six days a week and offers a varied programme of educational talks, training
    courses and informative exhibitions aimed to educate and spark debate. As a hub for the UK’s construction industry, many designers, manufacturers, industry charities and trade associations are proud to call The Building Centre their home. It is a place where you can meet others, develop knowledge and join the ongoing debate about the built environment.
  2. About the University of Nottingham: The Department of Architecture and Built Environment is a leading centre for teaching in architecture, urban design and sustainable energy technologies. The Wolfson Prototyping Hall, based in the £6.5m Energy Technologies Building, is a unique facility for the prototyping and testing of assemblies and components. It allows for experimental engineering, research into sustainable architecture and the development of low-carbon technologies.
  3. For more information contact Jenny Watt
  4. High quality photos available on request.