The Fabricated Landscape Highlights Potential of Architects and Sustainable Design

By Brigid Moser Posted on July 29, 2021

The Fabricated Landscape, image by Bryan Conley, courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art

The Heinz Architectural Center (HAC) of the Carnegie Museum of Art recently opened its new show, The Fabricated Landscape, highlighting the work of ten architectural firms from around the globe. The collection is particularly notable for its contradictions.“Chapel in Guastalla” from Go Hasegawa, a chapel fabricated from white marble slabs cut thin by computers, creates a synthesis of traditional materials and new technology. In “Cathedral Altar” from Anna Heringer, a humble, rammed earth altar sits amid the splendor of a historic, baroque church. All three projects from MAIO envision a blurring of public and private spaces, resulting in sites that move and adapt to the needs of the people inside. The exhibition features projects that all speak to the same global concerns, including urban sprawl, pollution, as well as a range of social and political issues, yet each is deeply informed by its local setting and community. At every turn, The Fabricated Landscape invites conversation about how buildings can and should interact with the natural world and their communities.

“Untitled (Chapel in Guastala #05),” Photography: Luisa Lambri

The Fabricated Landscape, curated by HAC’s curator-at-large Raymund Ryan, presents three projects from each of the ten participating international practices, totaling thirty displays that weave through the gallery. Rooms depict projects from Bangladesh, England, Mexico and beyond as neighboring sites. By traveling throughout the exhibition, visitors can experience the results of a global survey that speaks to the potential of contemporary architecture. As a bonus, three consecutive publications accompany the show, the first of which is available now with the other two to follow. The first publication,“The Fabricated Landscape: Domestic,” is a guide for the first ten displays in the gallery. Along with providing context and insights into the intentions of the featured practices, the publication includes several short essays contributed by Ryan and a few of the participating architects. Some of the texts pre-existed (a short story by Kafka even makes an appearance) and others were written specifically for the exhibition. The texts contribute an additional, imaginative layer to both the show and the resulting conversations and offer enlightening glimpses into the minds of the architects. You may want to plan three visits to the museum in order to collect all three publications – a worthwhile endeavor, as it will not be difficult to find new details in the expansive show to explore each time.

“Cathedral Altar,” Anna Heringer

A “fabricated landscape” exists at the fusion between architecture and landscape architecture and offers new ways of thinking about the built environment. In his introductory text, Ryan explains an urge to explore “a sense that an architect’s design might instigate multiple iterations and be understood within a larger physical and social ambition.” The result of that exploration is a collection of architectural projects that are conscious of their roles in the world and in constant conversation with their individual societal and environmental needs. The projects contain themes including adaptive reuse, affordable housing, and localized materials – many would easily meet the standards of AIA’s Framework of Design Excellence – and while some of the exhibition’s plans are merely theoretical, architects will walk away with new ideas and concepts to apply in their practice.

“Rooms for a Discontinuous Villa,” MAIO

The Fabricated Landscape is organized by Raymund Ryan, Curator-at-Large, Heinz Architectural Center, and designed by IN-FO.CO in Los Angeles. The exhibition will be on view from June 26, 2021 through January 17, 2022.

Brigid Moser is the Membership & Communications Associate at AIA Pittsburgh. She has a dual BA in History of Art and Architecture and English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh.

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