Of Note A Curator and a Critic A critical discussion of design and the built environment is reaching larger audiences through gallery walls and daily newspapers. Architectural curators and critics are assessing projects and helping to shape the discourse on urbanism. The following interviews feature Pedro Gadanho and Mark Lamster, two voices that architects will want to pay attention to. Interview with Pedro Gadanho by Ben Koush
Architect, curator, and writer Pedro Gadanho discusses the current state of architectural-based exhibits at MoMA in New York, where he is the curator of Contemporary Architecture at the Department of Architecture and Design. As part of a collaboration with Cite magazine, Gadanho spoke with Ben Koush in Houston following a lecture at the Rice School of Architecture. Gadanho was the first speaker in the Rice School of Architecture/Rice Design Alliance’s 2013 spring lecture series. How do you see the art of architectural exhibits
Design” show is largely about projects that were never built. These ideas have the potential to influence the way people think about cities or question the nature of cities or the built environment.
“Exodus, or the Voluntary Prisoners of Architecture, The Reception Area” (1972) by Rem Koolhaas, Elia Zenghelis, and Madelon Vriesendorp is featured in the MoMA “9+1 Ways of Being Political” show. The curator, Pedro Gadanho, is pictured after his lecture at Rice University.
Would you say your interest lies more in finished buildings or in theoretical projects?
I’m interested in both because I think both are an important part of the cultural discourse on architecture. I don’t believe architecture is only built objects. It’s also about the flow of ideas that surround it and the debates that surround it. Many of these debates are generated by ideas rather than completed buildings. The “9+1 Ways of Being Political: 50 Years of Political Stances in Architecture and Urban
12 Texas Architect
Do you think there is a new era of paper architecture?
I think paper architecture is emerging again, but as a form of fictional architecture that establishes arguments or proposes certain ideas, which are not always strictly about architecture itself. In this sense, it’s certainly not the same as the paper architecture of the past, which was trying to be realistic, using drawings to trigger an intellectual discussion. These representations were highly architectural, dealing with notions that were coming from a discipline of drawing and drafting. Architects are experimenting with form and exploring aspects of architecture that they probably feel they couldn’t build in reality, but they want to carry out the experimentation. They are also departing from those traditional tools and using collage and photography. It is difficult to build in the current economic context, but architects still want to produce something that contributes to the wider cultural discourse.
van der Rohe. Today, it has become a pervading language common to almost every architect and to other visual expressions. The exhibition doesn’t intend to only talk about collage techniques that are relevant for architecture as the continuation of drawing. The discussion can be influenced by Mies van der Rohe, by Archigram in the 1960s, or even by MTV. It’s about collage as a cultural phenomenon that has increasingly become our identity in response to today´s immense flux of images and cultural juxtapositions. What you think the state of architectural trends will be like in 20 years?
What are you looking at now?
My next collection rotation at MoMA focuses precisely on the idea of collage. I am interested in collage as a representation that was historically important for many architects, including Mies
I have no idea. But I’m certainly interested in trying to understand where things are going and how certain present currents are gaining momentum. Architects, like artists, are seismographers. Architecture that uses an informal
EXHIBIT PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART NEW YORK. GIFT OF PATRICIA PHELPS DE CISNEROS, TAKEO OHBAYASHI PURCHASE FUND, AND SUSAN DE MENIL PURCHASE FUND.
There haven’t been many alterations to the exhibit formulas for a long time, but I believe that things might be changing in terms of photography and video. I am interested in representation itself becoming more complex and layered. I am particularly interested in the vision an artist has of a certain architectural object — that subjective layer, the interpretation of the architecture. For architects, a model is an obvious way of understanding a building, but audiences have extreme difficulty understanding what the object means in terms of a spatial experience. I would like to avoid using models. I would like to try to represent the creative process that leads to a project. People understand ideas.