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OMA at Barbican

An exhibition on OMA, one of the most influential architecture practices working today. Celebrated as much for their daring and unconventional ideas as their inventive buildings.

I don’t pretend to have a great knowledge or architecture, but it is something that I find very interesting. And a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look, well, everyone loves a little commercial voyeurism. A chance to see how ideas are born. The birth of great structures. Exciting.

Entering the exhibition we weren’t exactly jostling for position to get a close look at what was on show. There were a few visitors milling about but it was nice to be able to get up close to what was on offer. We thumbed our way through various print-outs, images and thoughts. Amusingly, Michael was reprimanded early on for taking photos - a habit we have all become accustomed to on recent Cog Nights.

Following the exhibition round, more print-outs. This time from the (I imagine, the many) recycling bins of OMA. There was a definite lack of cohesion. I desperately wanted to be told a story. I wasn’t. Unless I was missing something, everything felt very random.

And that is how the exhibition continued. While there were some truly fascinating exhibits, my favourite being the models of buildings and the chair that folded into the floor, there was just no journey to go on. I never felt like the excitement and detail, that must brim inside the many offices of OMA, was passed on.

When I left I couldn’t help feeling it was an opportunity that had gone begging. Maybe if I was an architect I may have seen it all in a different light.

OMA at Barbican

A portrait of John Burton, in black and white

A ‘behind-the-scenes’ look, well, everyone loves a little commercial voyeurism

John Burton
Two men, Mike and Ocky, laughing in foreground, whilst John has his back to them in the background. George, in foreground, looking to left. Elke, in background, looking through large, wall-hung prints. Ocky looking to left, with his hand to his chin, at a wall of random print-outs, including a large question mark.

3 slideshow images (click image to view)