Volume #44: On Display

One of architecture’s histories is that of the art of display: architecture displaying power, political ambition, economic success, social agendas, or less mundane notions like dreams, convictions and belief. These days architecture has also become subjected to display: the display of architecture — in museums and collections, and in auctions for example. That adds but also distracts meaning; not every aspect of architecture can be displayed as easy. And what does a culture of display (be seen or perish) add to this condition? Thinking of the value of architecture beyond purely financial terms, ‘display’ is a factor of influence. For better or for worse.

Take for instance the relatively recent phenomenon of collecting architecture (famous villas) or the trend to sell designer houses on art auctions. And what do the fair and expo, where national architecture is at display, do to our understanding of architecture? We know that for the architecture of display, the museum, the architecture itself is an important element in its success. Does the same hold for a storage building containing art? By now we expect to see architecture in a gallery when visiting the museum, a site that has undoubtedly expanded the field of architectural discourse and production. Is architecture destined to choose between content and container though, or are there other horizons for architecture in the museum?

Amsterdam, 2015, 22 x 27cm, illustrated, 144pp, paperback.

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