Stockholm University: Curating Architecture

Wednesday May 4th 2016 by Peter Thomas Lang

Superstudio super 8 film ECE

Exhibiting architecture: documents, ideas and fictions

4 May 2016.

Peter Lang, Professor Architectural Theory and History,

Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm


Stina Hagelqvist, Curating Architecture Senior Lecturer.



Stina asked me a couple questions when we discussed giving this talk:  she asked me about the exhibition I first curated here in Stockholm, Environments and Counter Environments. Stina wanted to know why both the original exhibition and the re-enactment of it, that is curatorial strategies and what architecture and design is conceptualized, not the least in relation to the different kind of audiences one are to expect at an institution such as Arkdes. Which was at the time just the Architecture Museum. The curator was Magnus Ericson.


Coming to Stockholm had a huge impact on my understanding of curating architecture. And a lot came together when I worked on this exhibition environments counter environments.


This was that exhibit where all materials had to be original documents related to the subject, a purist form of curatorial practice developed  under the Living Archives series at Columbia University GSAPP with Mark Wasiuta and Felicity Scott.


What I hope to go over here today, in my evolving approach to curating architecture, I will get into some detail on the evolution of Environment and Counter Environment, the exhibit on the exhibit, Italy the New Domestic Landscape, MoMA 1972, and originally curated by Emilio Ambasz, then a young 28 year old in charge of the architecture and design collection.


And then more recently in an exhibition hall in the Vancouver Art Gallery, for their major exhibition Mashup: the Birth of Modern Culture, I  attempted to completely do the opposite, to not stress original materials, artefacts, and documents at all, but to present reproductions in simulated environments.