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Installation Views: Barely Noticed, Four Corners, London, 2023


Housing, a fundamental human necessity, becomes an extension of our very being, shaping the ways we interact with the world, both physically and emotionally. In the realm of Robin Hood Gardens, an estate on the verge of demolition and redevelopment, we find ourselves at a critical juncture. Initiated in 2022, this project delves into the profound social impact of housing and the evolving urban landscape on the last few inhabitants of this Brutalist masterpiece.


In a world where structures rise and fall and ideologies go through cycles of birth and abandonment, Nietzsche's concept of "eternal return" is embodied. Repetition, the perpetual process of deconstruction and reconstruction, mirrors the eternal dance of creation and destruction. Beyond the physical realm of architecture, the project delves into the intricate web of emotions, memories, and existence woven within these walls.


Within this project, the images offer more than mere visual documentation; they serve as portals, transporting us into the intimate interiors of Robin Hood Gardens' residents. These images immortalize spaces where life's grand tapestry unfolds—a tale of joy, sorrow, and resilience etched into every detail. While glossy new flats beckon elsewhere, these large-format photographs unveil the ageing social housing's spirit, with its colours resonating with echoes of days gone by.

In the interplay of images, we witness the juxtaposition of the old and the new, a duality that encapsulates the spirit of Robin Hood Gardens. This architectural masterpiece stands as a testament to an era past, a symbol of resilience amidst the ceaseless winds of change. And yet, in the periphery of this relic, we find the emergence of Blackwall Reach—a new chapter in the narrative of urban living.


Blackwall Reach, with its contemporary design and glossy allure, stands as a stark contrast to its predecessor. It embodies modernity's aspirations, a reflection of evolving architectural paradigms. Within "The Space Between," these images serve as a bridge—connecting two epochs and two visions of urban life. They invite us to stand on the threshold of transformation, where the past converges with the future.


Yet, within this juxtaposition, the essence of home remains a constant. Tsai urges us to look beyond the concrete facade, into the human experience that transcends time and architectural aesthetics. It is a testament to the enduring bond between people and the places they call home.

“The Space Between” bridges the past and the future, offering us a poignant view of progress and heritage's duality. Amid crumbling structures and shifting ideologies, the human yearning for connection and belonging stands eternal. Here, the past seamlessly merges with the future, and the transient nature of existence finds solace in the permanence of human experience.

《The Space Between》探索英國建築遺產與現代發展相互交疊的都市景觀——記錄倫敦羅賓漢花園(Robin Hood Gardens)的最後時光,以及正在取代它的現代住宅。這座1972年落成的粗獷主義社會住宅,是知名建築師史密森夫婦(Alison and Peter Smithson)的代表作,目前正在等待最後一期的拆除工程。蔡政霖使用大畫幅相機,紀錄這座標誌性建築的最後一批居民被迫遷離前的居住環境,並揭示建築空間與日常生活實踐之間的聯繫。


在仕紳化(Gentrification)與資本主義積累的機制下,建築不再僅是居住的空間,更成為階級地位和身份認同的象徵。《The Space Between》探索城市景觀在仕紳化浪潮下持續重塑,居民被迫應對流離失所的過程。這些相片凝視都市肌理,反思住房、家園與身份認同之間的關聯,邀請觀者思辨建築空間是否隨著時間的推進提供人們更好的生活。

Exterior of Robin Hood Gardens, a London Brutalist social housing estate, in 2023.
Outside Robin Hood Gardens, graffiti shows there are 8000 homeless contrast to  80000 empty homes
Showroom of Blackwall Reach, an alluring vision of urban living
Showroom of Blackwall Reach, an alluring vision of urban living
modern kitchen of the new build, Blackwall Reach
Modern apartments at Blackwall Reach in construction
Cozy living room in a Robin Hood Gardens flat, showcasing the warmth of home
A well-loved kitchen in a Robin Hood Gardens flat, where daily meals and memories are made.
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