Albertopolis Companion, written by students of the Critical Writing in Art & Design MA programme at the Royal College of Art, is an alternative guide to London’s South Kensington. The term ‘Albertopolis’ was coined in the 1850s as a facetious nickname for London’s new quarter of art, design and innovation. Today, Albertopolis remains a network of venerable museums and institutions sprawling south of Hyde Park, under the watchful gaze of its instigator, Prince Albert.
The book brings together the voices of fifteen new writers, as they rewrite, renegotiate and perhaps even reinvigorate a familiar constellation of institutions. The results are wide ranging: from an aerial overview and urban critiques, to unexpected encounters with Mormon elders, sparring scientists, tea room spies and cursed stones. Albertopolis Companion features a foreword by architecture critic Owen Hatherley and an afterword by the project mentor, Emily LaBarge.