Described from the outset as Levitt and Sons’s “most de luxe venture,” Belair at Bowie, Maryland (1960‐70), grew out of more than a decade’s experience in mass housing design, construction, and marketing by a firm whose name and identity was synonymous with postwar residential construction.
For the company, which started in 1958 at Levittown (later Willingboro), New Jersey, Belair provided their initial product and marketing redirection away from what had previously been a largely working‐class base. With ground broken two years later at Belair, Levitt and Sons made the final turn from minimum houses created mainly for the middle‐income working class to those designed expressly for middle‐class consumption.
The Latrobe Chapter will visit this significant development with Jamie Jacobs, author of the recently published Detached America: Building Houses in Postwar Suburbia. The 2‐2 ½ hour tour will allow members to experience first‐hand the significant architecture and landscape of Belair at Bowie, Maryland.
Tour participants will meet at Belair Mansion, 12207 Tulip Grove Drive, Bowie at 10:30 a.m. Reservations are required. See attached for registration information.
The doctoral students of the Planning + Architecture Research Group (P+ARG) at the University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning are pleased to announce a graduate student conference, “Rule & Form: Confronting the Spatial Transactions and Logistics of Capital,” which will take place February 5-6, 2016.
Cities are increasingly dominated by commodified spatial forms that are built and governed by exceptional rules. Across the continent of Africa, corporations are building privately owned company towns modeled after successful New Urbanist developments on other continents. Wealthy cities are collaborating with famous architects to develop self-sustaining research and technology zones, like Masdar City in Abu Dhabi and Barcelona’s architecturally iconic Innovation District. Designs for the “entertainment city” continue through stadium development, museums, parks, and other consumer experiences whose success is evident from the immediate popularity of New York City’s High Line. Free zones, ports, and distribution hubs are emerging as spaces of exception and demonstrating a strategic infrastructural architecture to purposely expedite transactions and evade local responsibilities. These forms are being built and governed privately or quasi-privately in cities competing for investment capital, separate from the ordinary politics of the city and responsive primarily to an elite demographic and the needs of global capital. This produces cities with profit and business logistics foremost in mind rather than local culture and aesthetics or social equity. As architects and urban planners, are we complicit in these processes that produce homogenous city forms and limit democratic control of urban space? Can we challenge them?
How have the spatial forms and rules of the neoliberal city developed historically?
Can we identify historical antecedents to neoliberal city building? How were these projects contested, and what can we learn from those disputes?
What theoretical and methodological innovations can scholars employ in the study of neoliberal spatial forms and rules?
In particular, does emerging work on the geography of infrastructure and logistics change how we conceptualize this field of study?
How can planners and architects intervene today to produce cities that are responsive to local place and culture and socioeconomically just?
We aim to bring together doctoral students at different phases of study from institutions across the U.S. and internationally to foster dialogue on a pressing topic that impacts the fields of both architecture and urban planning. This day-and-a-half conference includes a keynote speaker, graduate student panels, break-out sessions and informal social events. This conference is open to all doctoral students whose research concerns the built environment, particularly architecture and urban planning, but also across related disciplines.
PARTICIPANTS AND STRUCTURE
We seek twenty-minute paper presentations from researchers whose work reflects on questions related to the theme. Doctoral students are invited to submit an abstract (300 words max.) of their proposed presentation to email@example.com by November 16, 2015. Applicants will be notified of the status of their submission by December 4, 2015. While no travel stipend can be offered to accepted presenters, Taubman College extends free registration for this event to presenters and all attendees.
Call for Posters
2016 NCPH/SHFG ANNUAL MEETING
Challenging the Exclusive Past
Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel – Baltimore, Maryland
The Poster Session is a format for public history presentations about projects that use visual evidence. It offers an alternative for presenters eager to share their work through one-on-one discussion, can be especially useful for works-in-progress, and may be a particularly appropriate format for presentations where visual or material evidence represents a central component of the project.
The poster session will be held on Thursday, March 17, 2016 from 5:00-7:00pm at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel, Baltimore, Maryland. Set-up will start an hour before the Poster Session begins.
Proposals must be submitted electronically (in ONE PDF document). See http://bit.ly/CallforPosters for more details.
Deadline: OCTOBER 1, 2015. Email your proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “2016 Poster.”
National Council on Public History
Florence / Rome-Vatican, October 5 - 06, 2015
The Sistine Chapel
International Study Day
Institut für Kunstgeschichte der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität
München and Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte Munich in
collaboration with Musei Vaticani, Gabinetto Disegni & Stampe degli
Uffizi and Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz - Max-Planck-Institut
Monday, 5 October 2015
FLORENCE: Kunsthistorisches Institut - Max-Planck-Institut, Palazzo
Grifoni Budini Gattai, Via dei Servi 51
Welcome & Introduction
(Arnold Nesselrath, Musei Vaticani & Ulrich Pfisterer, LMU Munich)
Stefano Pierguidi (Sapienza, Rome):
"The Rivalry of the Quattrocento Painters"
Ulrich Pfisterer (LMU, Munich):
"Speed! On the chronology of the Quattrocento frescoes"
Tristan Weddigen (University of Zürich):
"Raphael's Tapestries for the Sistine Chapel"
FLORENCE: Gabinetto dei Disegni e delle Stampe degli Uffizi, Via della Ninna 5
13.30 – 15.30
Introduction Marzia Faietti (Uffizi; Gabinetto Disegni & Stampe):
"The 'Piermatteo d'Amelia'-drawing of the ceiling"
ROME-VATICAN: Musei Vaticani, Viale Vaticano
19.30 – 22.00
Visit Sistine Chapel
Introduction Chiara Franceschini (Italian Academy, Columbia Univ./EHESS Paris):
"Movement in the Sistine Chapel"
Tuesday, 6 October
ROME-VATICAN: Musei Vaticani, Lecture Room, Viale Vaticano
Peter Howard (Monash University):
"The Visual Art of Preaching in the Frescoes of the Sistine Chapel"
Giovanni Careri (EHESS Paris):
"The Ancestors of Christ"
David Summers (University of Virginia):
"The Great Sabbath. Michelangelo, Pico, and the Sistine Chapel Ceiling"
Kim Butler (American University, Washington DC):
"Im/maculate Bodies in the Sistine Chapel"
Vitale Zanchettin (Musei Vaticani):
"L'architettura dipinta della volta"
Peter Gillgren (Stockholm University):
"Being in the Sistine Chapel: The Wennerberg Experience"
Bernadine Barnes (Wake Forest University):
"Viewing the Last Judgment from within and outside the Sistine Chapel"
Peter Lukehart (CASVA Washington):
"The Afterlife of Nude Saints in Michelangelo's Last Judgment"
Massimiliano Rossi (Università del Salento):
"L''età dell'oro': la maniera moderna nella Sistina come paradigma epocale"
Carmen Bambach (Metropolitan Museum NYC) Matteo Burioni (LMU Munich)
Michael Cole (Columbia University NYC) Tobias Daniels (Bibliotheca
Hertziana / Max-Planck-Institute Rome) Ana Debenedetti (Victoria &
Albert Museum, London) Sybille Ebert-Schifferer (Bibliotheca Hertziana
Thomas Ertl (University of Vienna)
Marc Evans (Victoria & Albert Museum, London) Fabian Jonietz (KHI,
Florence) Klaus Krüger (FU Berlin) Florian Métral (Université Paris 1
Panthéon Sorbonne) Philippe Morel (INHA Paris) Cristina Ruggero (LMU
Munich) Andreas Schumacher (Alte Pinakothek Munich) Gerhard Wolf (KHI,
Organization: Arnold Nesselrath (Musei Vaticani and Humboldt
University, Berlin) & Ulrich Pfisterer (LMU Munich)
Kunlé Adeyemi is an architect, urbanist, and designer. His recent work includes Makoko Floating School, an innovative, prototype, floating structure located on the lagoon in the heart of Nigeria's largest city, Lagos.
Monday, October 5, 6:00 p.m.
The Art Institute of Chicago, Rubloff Auditorium, 230 S. Columbus Dr.
Recent projects by Meejin Yoon of MIT and Howeler + Yoon Architecture/ MY Studio examine architectures role as an interface between degrees of publicness. Featuring projects which aim to generate new modes of action, forms of of production and types of agency, HYA/MYS has created a new ecology of practice where relationships between cultural producers are extended, reconfigured, and amplified by new technologies.
Guidelines for Submission to the NHA Blog
The National Humanities Alliance Blog features voices from throughout the humanities community--scholars at
any phase in their career, K-12 educators, public humanities professionals, as well as those who have
participated in a course of study in the humanities or public humanities programs.
As an advocacy organization, we are specifically interested in highlighting the value of the humanities to a
variety of audiences, both within and outside the humanities community. We welcome blog posts that focus on
a specific humanities project and describe its impact in a way that will resonate widely.
A few examples:
• A public-facing program that provides educational opportunities to underserved populations
• A cultural tourism effort that fosters economic development in a particular region
• Preservation activities that rescue cultural heritage that would otherwise be lost
• Scholarly work relevant to a specific community or a contemporary policy debate
• Humanities teaching practices that lead to deep student engagement
These are, of course, just examples and we are always eager to learn more about the ways that humanities
work effects positive change, whether on a local or global scale.
Blog posts should:
• Focus on a particular humanities project (i.e. a scholarly project, museum exhibition, community oral
• Showcase the impact of the program in a way that will resonate both within and outside the
• Highlight the funding, partnerships, and collaborations that made the work possible
• Include a title
• Include hyperlinks to any online material
• Be approximately 500-800 words
• Include an author bio of approximately 50 words, along with links to your professional website
and/or Twitter handle.
• Include an image or video related to the project, if possible.
Please note, NHA staff might offer edits or request revisions for focus, length, style and clarity.
To submit a blog entry for consideration:
Email the entry and accompanying images/video to Beatrice Gurwitz at email@example.com.
Images may be sent as JPEG, TIFF, or PNG files. Please provide captions and credits for any photographs. It is
the responsibility of the guest blogger to secure permissions from the image copyright holder. Permissions
should be forwarded along with the image and the associated credit line.
Tour Day is Docomomo US’ annual national event that works to raise the awareness of and appreciation for buildings, interiors and landscapes designed in the United States during the mid-20th century. Now in its ninth year, Tour Day invites organizations and people across the country to take stock of significant 20th century built design in their state, city, region or neighborhood and celebrate that work with a tour.
The theme "Explore Modern" encourages participants to explore the innovative and progressive work of mid-century architects and designers found in their cities - from the planned community and iconic monument to the house next door.
As a collective, national event, Docomomo US Tour Day is able to offer distinctive tours and events that are open to the public, as well as opportunities to celebrate recent preservation achievements and identify new issues affecting local communities. This year anticipates the participation of thousands of attendees, made possible through a wide variety of partnerships that collectively offer an exciting range of tours and events.
This year, Germany and Israel are celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations. For the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, this marks an occasion to reflect on the idea of collective building and thus the relationship between Bauhaus and Israel in a symposium. The symposium is broken down into three panel discussions with related content. The first panel deals with the role of the architect using the example of Arieh Sharon. Four structures are then considered in their historical and current contexts and finally, the reception to and impact of Bauhaus in Israel over time is discussed. The symposium also offers tours through the Bauhaus and a trip to Dessau-Törten.
Lecturers are well-known representatives from the realms of architecture, landmark preservation and the arts and cultural sciences – including Jeremie Hoffmann, director of Tel Aviv’s Municipal Conservation Department and Ines Weizman, junior professor for architectural theory, Bauhaus University Weimar and director of the Bauhaus Institute for Architectural History and Theory.
The symposium is geared toward architects, landmark preservationists, art historians, cultural scientists and sociologists as well as Israel and Bauhaus enthusiasts.
The symposium will be followed by a book presentation:
"Carmel. International Style in Haifa"
with Ines Sonder (Potsdam), Michael Levin (Ramat Gan) and the photographer Stephanie Kloss (Berlin)
In the afternoon we offer a trip to the Balcony Access Houses by Hannes Meyer, fee EUR 4.00, registration at firstname.lastname@example.org by 1 October.
You can find programme details at www.bauhaus-dessau.de
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (September 16, 2015)—Marking the first time works by Michelangelo have ever been exhibited in Nashville, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts proudly presents Michelangelo: Sacred and Profane, Masterpiece Drawings from the Casa Buonarroti, on view from October 30, 2015, through January 6, 2016, in the Center’s Ingram Gallery. The Casa Buonarroti, the artist’s family home in Florence, possesses the largest and most important collection of the artist’s drawings in the world, and many of its greatest works will be on view.
The exhibition offers an intimate view into the mind of Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564), one of the giants in the history of Western art. The rich and varied selection of twenty-six drawings—ranging from rapid sketches to presentation drawings—attests to the High Renaissance master’s accomplishments as a sculptor, painter, architect and military engineer. The works span almost six decades, from around 1504, when Michelangelo was a mature artist of nearly thirty, until a few years before his death. They show the incredible diversity of his projects and the dynamics of a career spent largely working for ambitious popes in Rome and Florence.
“These drawings illuminate how Michelangelo worked and thought, his extraordinary range and technical brilliance, as well as his playful attitude toward ancient architecture,” says Frist Center Curator and Renaissance scholar Trinita Kennedy. “During his long career, he used pen and ink and red and black chalk on paper to generate ideas and communicate them to his patrons, friends and assistants. He deliberately destroyed many of the drawings, including the large-scale cartoons for the Sistine Chapel frescoes, so the remaining sheets are exceedingly rare and valuable. ”
Michelangelo’s powers to evoke the sacred are fully displayed in the large and deeply moving drawing Madonna and Child (ca. 1524), which is one of Michelangelo’s most admired images. The sculptural figures are rendered in a fascinating mixture of techniques that includes underdrawing in black chalk and flesh tones in the child’s arm in red chalk.
Michelangelo’s Study for the Head of Leda (ca. 1529), a mythological subject, is equally beautiful. He made it in preparation for the panel painting Leda and the Swan (destroyed in the seventeenth century) commissioned by Duke Alfonso d’Este of Ferrara in 1529 and completed in 1530. Red chalk proved to be the ideal medium for conveying Leda’s delicate features and allure.
Michelangelo’s legacy as an architect was no less monumental than his stature as a sculptor and painter. The Casa Buonarroti, from which highlights have been chosen, holds the most extensive and significant collection of Michelangelo’s architectural drawings. The important ecclesiastical designs chosen for display include several plans too ambitious and costly to be realized: the San Lorenzo façade, the rare book room of the Laurentian Library, and the church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini in Rome. Like his older contemporary Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo was called upon to invent fortifications. He responded with fantastic drawings of bastions equipped with pincers like giant crabs.
These visionary drawings gain impact from their notable dimensions, which range in height and width from twelve to fifteen inches, and a few are even larger. Impressive in their own right, the works provide dynamic links to a better understanding of Michelangelo’s interdisciplinary virtuosity. “Our knowledge of Michelangelo’s life, career and working methods is infinitely richer thanks to these sheets that have survived the past five centuries,” says Ms. Kennedy.
This exhibition was organized by the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William & Mary in Virginia in partnership with Fondazione Casa Buonarroti and Associazione Culturale Metamorfosi.
This exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with essays by Aaron H. De Groft, Adriano Marinazzo, Pina Ragionieri and John T. Spike.
The Frist Center for the Visual Arts gratefully acknowledges the Friends of Italian Art.
The Frist Center for the Visual Arts is supported in part by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
SarasotaMOD Weekend, a festival of architecture in Sarasota, Florida, Nov. 6 to 8, focusing on the architecture of Paul Rudolph. Presentations, parties and tours. Highlights include the grand opening of a full-size replica of Rudolph's 1952 Walker Guest House at The Ringling museum; parties at exclusive private homes like Rudolph’s 1953 Umbrella House and at his newly renovated 1960 complex at Sarasota High; presentations by architects who knew and worked with Rudolph.
Please join us to celebrate the founding of the Society of Architectural Historians at Harvard University in 1940.
SAH 75th Anniversary Reception
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Frances Loeb Library
Harvard University Graduate School of Design
48 Quincy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Immediately following the reception, at 6:30 p.m. you are invited to attend the PhD Seminar by SAH board member Luis Castañeda
, assistant professor art history, Syracuse University. The PhD Seminar is free of charge, however, you must reserve online to confirm a seat. Please register by October 22
SAH Reception (drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served):
$75 per person
$15 Graduate Student rate
$250 and up: Reception sponsors of $250 and up will be acknowledged at the event. 75th Anniversary Reception Committee
Ken Tadashi Oshima
SAH thanks Ann Whiteside
, Librarian/Assistant Dean for Information Services Frances Loeb Library, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, for her invaluable assistance in coordinating the event.
SAH thanks Colonel (IL) Jennifer N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (Ret)
and the Tawani Foundation
for their support of SAH’s 75th anniversary programs.
Today, human activities constitute the primary environmental impact on the planet. In this context, commitments to sustainability, or minimization of damage, prove insufficient. To develop regenerative, capabilities, architectural design needs to extend beyond the form and function of things in contained projects and engage with the management of complex systems. Such systems involve multiple types of dynamic phenomena biotic and abiotic, technical and cultural and can be understood as living. Engagement with such living systems implies manipulation of pervasive and unceasing change, irrespective of whether it is accepted by design stakeholders or actively managed towards homeostatic or homeorhetic conditions.
Responding to this challenge, CAADRIA 2016 seeks to interrogate the notion of continuity and the applicable architectural toolsets in order to map and discover opportunities for innovation.
For the full version of the call and further information, see the PDF version:
And the conference website:
30 March - 2 April 2016
Call for Papers
A Beautiful Role: Architecture and the Display of Art
Graduate Student Symposium
Saturday, April 9, 2016
Painting and sculpture play a beautiful role in the realm of architecture, as architecture plays a beautiful role in the realms of painting and sculpture. —Louis I. Kahn (1960)
The Yale Center for British Art—designed by Louis Kahn and completed in 1975—has recently undergone an extensive program of conservation. To mark the reopening of the building, and the complete reinstallation of the collection, the Center will be hosting a conference to investigate the role that buildings play in the display of art.
Our experience of objects is greatly influenced by their setting, whether in the home of a collector, in a museum display, in a storage rack, or on a computer screen. This conference will focus on museum architecture and explore where it has been and where it is going. Seeking to inspire fresh thinking about the relationship between works of art and the buildings that contain them, the conference will address the ways in which architecture can enhance, limit, and transform our encounters with art. Graduate students of all disciplines—including art, design, architecture and architectural history, and museum studies—are invited to submit proposals for papers that examine the ways in which architecture influences our experience of art.
Topics could include, but are not limited to:
The museums of Louis Kahn; the advantages and/or limitations of the modernist museum concept; the role of architectural setting in the understanding of art; the history of museum design; the role of the museum building in the university; the translation of personal collections from domestic space to museum displays; the relationships between patrons, architects, and curators; contrasting needs in the display of collections and in the curating of exhibitions; the renovation/conservation of historic museum spaces; and the current fashion for museum extensions. We particularly welcome topics related to the historical moment of the Center’s building and to the challenges and opportunities faced by museums working to conserve their existing buildings.
We are accepting proposals for twenty-five-minute papers from graduate students working in any discipline. Travel and accommodation costs will be covered by the organizers. Please e-mail abstracts of no more than three hundred words along with a one-page CV to email@example.com by January 29, 2016.
The International Congress on Medieval Studies (ICMS) at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, May 12 - 15, 2016
Deadline: Sep 15, 2015
Art historians traditionally focus on the finished work, yet attention to the creative process of making allows us to consider how medieval builders and artisans constructed monuments, made objects, and planned workflow for large-scale projects. Furthermore, this line of inquiry allows us to consider spatial planning and haptic encounters. The use of new technologies such as digital reconstructions, laser scans, 3D printing, and other imaging tools provides scholars with the opportunity to understand the conceptual processes of art making in the Middle Ages as never before through reverse engineering.
Recent art-historical scholarship has reintroduced interest in the materiality/object-ness of medieval art and architecture and attendant somatic responses. Analysis of the processes of making is fundamental to this renewed interest in the relationship between materiality and human experience of the art object. Together, these inquiries will yield new insights into the social, economic, political, and practical conditions of production.
For this session we are interested in presentations that investigate the process of making medieval art and architecture and what these processes tell us about medieval artistic production. We welcome papers that explore questions such as:
• What can art historians learn from studying creative processes?
• What are the methods of design to finished product?
• How did masons and artisans revise work in progress or finished work?
• Why are some materials selected over others?
DEADLINE FOR PAPER PROPOSALS: 15 September 2015
Paper proposals should consist of the following:
• Abstract of proposed paper (300 words maximum)
• Completed Participation Information Form available at: http://wmich.edu/medieval/congress/submissions/index.html#Paper
• CV with mailing information and email address.
PLEASE DIRECT INQUIRIES/SUBMISSIONS TO THE ORGANIZERS:
Meredith Cohen: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kristine Tanton: email@example.com.
Information about the conference, including proposal submission forms, may be found at
This is your opportunity to be part of an exciting and coveted program that inspires and fosters Australia's next generation of emerging architectural talent ? the 2016 Dulux Study Tour.
Winners will embark on an exciting architectural tour of Istanbul, London and Madrid where they can experience firsthand some of the best architectural sites and practices.
Simply click here to enter.
Entry into the 2016 Dulux Study Tour is a two stage process:
To enter, entrants are required to submit their answers to four nominated questions, their contact details and details of their employer via the online entry system.
Stage 1 submissions must be lodged by no later than AEST 4pm Thursday 17 September 2015.
Late submissions will not be accepted. Entrants? answers to the nominated questions will be judged, and shortlisted entrants will be notified to enter into Stage 2.
Shortlisted entrants must upload via the online entry system an A4 document that includes; one written employer reference, resume (maximum two pages), portfolio of works (maximum of four pages). Submissions for stage 2 must be lodged between AEST 9.00am Monday 12 October 2015 to AEST 4.00pm Thursday 5 November 2015.
2016 Dulux Study Tour Terms and Conditions http://wp.architecture.com.au/duluxstudytourblog/wp-content/uploads/sites/20/2015/07/2016-Dulux-Study-Tour-Terms-and-Conditions.pdf
2016 Annual Symposium of the Society of Architectural Historians (Great Britain)
Saturday 21 May 2016
To be held at the Royal Institute of British Architects, London
The Official Architect; missing chapters in the history of the profession
Official architects, if considered at all, are now most readily associated with the work of the once powerful local authority architects departments of the post-war era. However they have an earlier and more varied history. During the eighteenth, nineteenth and for much of the twentieth century in Britain the title applied to any architect in salaried employment, often working for the state in departments such as the Office of Works, the Admiralty, or the Post Office. Yet such posts were also relied on in bodies as varied as the Miners Welfare Association, the Imperial War Graves Commission, and large private companies such as Boots, Woolworths, the Co-Operative Wholesale Society, and major railway companies such as the L.M.S. Responsible for the design of large swathes of the built environment the work of such architects was as often referred to derogatively as ‘departmental architecture’ and attacked for its poor quality or gone unnoticed due to the culture of bureaucratic anonymity.
This annual symposium of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, held in partnership with the Royal Institute of British Architects, aims to explore the history of salaried official architects and their work - from Borough Surveyors to County, City or Chief Architects and others - including those in the state and public sectors, major companies and international corporations.
Contributions are welcome which highlight individual careers, institutions, working methods, major buildings/projects, and the political and professional debates surrounding Official architecture in this country and beyond over the last two hundred years or more the better to understand this strand in the history of practice.
Please send initial 300 word proposal, or enquiries, to the organiser, Dr. Julian Holder, at firstname.lastname@example.org by 31 October 2015. Review of papers will be finalised by December 31 2015.
Papers should present original research and should be of 20 minutes in duration. Draft papers will be welcomed by 31 March 2016. Publication of suitable quality papers is envisaged.
Speakers are not charged the Symposium fee and are invited to an informal dinner as guests of the Society the night preceding the Symposium. All other associated costs such as travel and accommodation must be met by the speakers.
With over 50 built projects across the world, David Adjaye is rapidly emerging as a major international figure in architecture and design. Rather than advancing a signature architectural style, Adjaye’s structures address local concerns and conditions through both a historical understanding of context and a global understanding of modernism. The first comprehensive museum survey devoted to Adjaye, this exhibition offers an in-depth overview of the architect’s distinct approach and visual language with a dynamic installation design conceived by Adjaye Associates.
Of African ancestry and raised in Ghana, the Middle East, and England, Adjaye now has offices in London, New York, Berlin, and Accra. Like many international architects, he is itinerant, and his practices defy cultural borders and geopolitical categories. However, Adjaye is unique in being an African-born architect working in a global landscape. Having traveled the world studying buildings and architectural styles, most recently and extensively in Africa, he is acutely sensitive to the effects of location. A proponent for architecture from beyond the Western canon, he brings a distinctive contemporary “Afropolitan” view to his various projects.
While Adjaye has never adhered to a discrete style, his projects coalesce around certain ideas. Often set in cities struggling with diversity and difference, his public buildings provide spaces that foster links among people and explore how neighborhoods evolve, how new communities are created, and how unexpected junctures weave diverse urban identities and experiences into the tapestry of multiculturalism. Rethinking conventions, his designs speak to the specific time and place in which they were made. These ideas are expressed in important recent projects, such as the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., a building that faces history head-on, bringing together references from across Africa and America in a visually and physically evocative design.
This exhibition, comprising furniture, housing, public buildings, and master plans, fills the first-floor Abbott Galleries and the second-floor architecture and design galleries in the Modern Wing. In addition to drawings, sketches, models, and building mock-ups, a specially commissioned film featuring Adjaye’s collaborators—an international roster of artists, the exhibition curators, and other influential figures in the art world—helps bring his projects to life and makes clear the important role that Adjaye plays in contemporary architecture today.
Exhibitions have long played a crucial role in defining disciplinary histories, as they mark pivotal moments in time and document the environment in which new narratives or arguments unfolded. At a moment when the fields of architecture and design, spurred by a multitude of cross-cultural and global conversations, are opening up to new definitions, ways of working, and design and production processes, this research highlights how an exhibition can help to both concretize and critique ongoing technological and cultural shifts. As Seen is an ongoing research project that looks at the influence of architecture and design exhibitions years after their closing.
The selection presented in As Seen focuses on eleven group exhibitions from 1956 to 2006, organized by a wide range of architecture and design professionals. Through varied approaches these exhibitions reflected on then-current dilemmas, identified alternatives to prevailing practices, and reasserted design’s implications for everyday life. Since their debut, many of these exhibitions have grown in influence through the spread of their ideas and the rising popularity of the designers involved. As Seen features a range of materials—installation images, posters, invitation cards, catalogues, correspondence, and floor plans—that are more than residual and provide glimpses into the concepts driving the exhibitions as well as the physical spaces they once occupied. Critical discourse from the media and scholars presented alongside these materials illuminates and helps to vivify the discussions surrounding these events at the time. These presentations show how the tools of curators, graphic designers, industrial designers, architects, and others can be catalyzed toward new ends, which often resonate beyond the temporal duration of the exhibition itself, ultimately making history.
Initiated as part of the Istanbul Design Biennial 2014, the research has been brought to Chicago with the aim of continuing the dialogue and illustrating a cross section of creative output to be seen through new eyes. Although it presents only a small sampling of exhibitions—by no means global in scope—the hope is that this installation reignites conversations about the influence of exhibitions on the practice and perception of architecture and design.
This exhibition was made possible by the generous support of the Architecture & Design Society. Exhibition design by Project Projects.
Inspired by the working process of international architect David Adjaye, this installation in the Ryan Education Center interactive gallery invites visitors of all ages to discover how architects use building materials like wood, fabric, ceramic tiles, laminates, paint, stone, and plastics to create form and atmosphere. Visitors can arrange material samples and sketches to create a “mood board” (just like the professionals do) and consider how color, texture, and cultural context create a specific feel as well as how materials affect the way we experience architecture inside and out—from personal spaces to museum galleries to buildings in Chicago.