When a mock-Tudor house made in 1940 is the first model you see in the new architecture gallery of London's Victoria and Albert Museum (Cromwell Rd.; 44-207/942-2000; www.vam.ac.uk), you know you're in a world of bold design. "That residence is not something that would be called architecture by architects," says Michael Snodin, V&A's senior curator. Similarly unexpected is the caricature bust of Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens, the British architect: his pith helmet is constructed from a model chattri, or a traditional Indian roof. Visitors can also examine plans by giants in the field such as Andrea Palladio and Mies van der Rohe, among nearly 200 objects and drawings depicting everything from St. Paul's Cathedral to Zaha Hadid's new Phaeno Science Centre. But no person or pile is treated with kid gloves—especially not the icons of Modernism. Snodin remarks on a window frame from Walter Gropius's famous 1911 Fagus shoe factory: "In photographs the structure looks like a cool, lean machine, but based on our window fragment, it seems more like scrap from a blacksmith."
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