“Peter Rich seems to think and see with his hand. His fluent vibrant drawings show a keen observation of the world around him, picking up on the tiniest detail in the wall, on the ground, in the contour of the land, in the loose forms of the vernacular buildings, the enclosures, the habitation clusters of South Africa.”
This is an excerpt of the curator’s statement for the Venice Biennale 2018 in which they lauded Rich’s talent, which is currently on show at the Biennale. Rich was invited to exhibit by curators Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects.

Peter Rich’s solo exhibition is entitled “Landscape Architecture / Architecture Landscape”, and features 15 drawings of eight selected projects in the 13th century Arsenale Hall. The drawings focus on the organic aspect of the architect’s work, which the curators felt best responded to this year’s “Freespace” theme.

“Landscape Architecture / Architecture Landscape”
Sketches of projects such as the Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre and Rich’s latest project in China called Stone House, have been reproduced at a monumental scale on printed canvas and transparent textile sheets. These have been suspended from the Arsenale’s six-metre-high ceilings, from a mobile structure designed and built in Johannesburg from South African Kiaat hardwood and aluminium.

“It is a temple of light,” says Rich. “We are paying tribute to the context of this building, and Venice, and the generosity of drawing as an act of intuition. When you draw, you can go to places you’ve never been.”

“Landscape Architecture / Architecture Landscape” was curated by curator and author Garreth van Niekerk. The mobile structure was designed by Peter Rich Architects, with exhibition graphics and design by Vincent Truter of Orlando, and the structure’s construction and installation completed over a month-long period in Venice and Johannesburg by Fox and Firefly.

The mobile structure was designed by Peter Rich Architects, with the exhibition graphics and design by Vincent Truter of Orlando, and the structure’s construction and installation completed by Fox and Firefly. Courtesy of Peter Rich Architects

Industry support
The exhibition, which runs until the end of November in the Arsenale, has been made possible with the generous support of the Biennale Foundation, Corobrik, PPC and Lamy.

“We are delighted to offer support to one of our country’s greatest architects, Peter Rich, as he shares his inspired talents on the global platform provided by the illustrious International Architecture Exhibition,” says Corobrik’s chief executive officer, Dirk Meyer.

“Throughout his career, spanning more than three decades, Peter has brought his sketches to life, enhancing landscapes with truly authentic African style and creative flair. This award-winning architect has managed to depict the brick’s versatility, aesthetics and durability in an infinite array of building styles.

“The Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre, winner of the 2009 Global Building of the Year Award, is one excellent example of Peter Rich’s work with Corobrik’s earthy, rich-toned face brick. We hope our sponsorship can further expose the world to the unique African talent of Peter Rich.”

To follow the journey of the exhibition, visit www.facebook.com/peterricharchitects/.
 
Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to Peter Rich Architects, Corobrik, Lamy and PPC for the information and images provided.

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Caption main image: Peter Rich’s solo exhibition is entitled “Landscape Architecture / Architecture Landscape”, and features 15 drawings of eight selected projects in the 13th century Arsenale Hall. Courtesy of Peter Rich Architects