Emerging Ecologies: Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalism

September 17, 2023
January 20, 2024
11 West 53 Street, New York NY 10019
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Don Davis. Stanford torus interior view. 1975. Acrylic on board, 17 × 22" (43.1 × 55.9 cm). Commissioned by NASA for Richard D. Johnson and Charles Holbrow, eds., Space Settlements: A Design Study (Washington, DC: NASA Scientific and Technical Information Office, 1977). Illustration never used. Collection Don Davis

Emerging Ecologies: Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalism is an exhibition dedicated to both realized and unrealized projects that address ecological and environmental concerns by architects who practiced in the United States from the 1930s through the 1990s.

Emerging Ecologies features over 150 works that reconstruct how the rise of the environmental movement in the US informed architectural practice and thought. Models, photographs, diagrams, and sketches will be placed in context with archival materials such as posters, flyers, and articles to showcase innovative, fantastical, dystopian, and daring architectural projects that sought to navigate the fraught relationship between the built and natural environment.

Seven newly commissioned audio recordings that draw inspiration from these little-known projects will feature contemporary practitioners—Mae-ling Lokko, Jeanne Gang, Meredith Gaglio, Charlotte Malterre-Barthes, Amy Chester, Carolyn Dry, and Emilio Ambasz—sharing their thoughts on what contemporary architects can do to mitigate against climate change.

By highlighting projects that both foreshadowed and anticipated the ecological effects of overpopulation, the depletion of natural resources, and rampant industrial pollution, the exhibition looks to the past to suggest solutions for the future.


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Museum of Modern Art