During the frenzied press preview of the Venice Biennale, the ArchDaily team received an unexpected and delightfully odd request. Rem Koolhaas, the subject of interviews with countless media outlets, was going to turn the tables. This time, he would be the one asking the questions. He wanted to show his appreciation for the work of Charles Brooking and The Brooking National Collection.
A collector from a young age, Charles Brooking was encouraged by a tutor to pursue his love of rescuing discarded building parents (elements of architecture, if you will). He founded the collection in 1966 and, in the process, has "chart[ed] the evolution of Britain’s constructional elements over the last 500 years." Though Brooking's collection of approximately half a million items contains everything from fire grates to stairs and shoe-stoppers to postboxes, the OMA exhibition highlights the evolution of the window.
With the development of better-insulated alternatives, Brooking's collection of windows continues to grow. In fact, it is precisely this dialogue between old and new that is emphasized in the Windows room in the exhibition: Brooking's window collection graces a wall that surrounds current high-tech window-building machinery. As we (architects, clients, users) engage in a relentless pursuit of uniformed comfort, especially when it comes to architectural detailing, Koolhaas asked Brooking what he thought this meant for the "the very things we want to preserve." He asks Brooking, "Are you willing to suffer for the principle of authenticity and preservation?"
Anyone interested in any aspect of The Brooking Collection (including making a donation) can find more information or make direct contact via the Contact button on their website.