On Saturday, June 30th, the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles, in partnership with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), opened an exhibition that celebrates the interconnected qualities of architecture, engineering, and the visual arts. Through a number of projects by SOM engineers working in collaboration with artists, "Poetic Structure: Art + Engineering + Architecture" reveals the striking similarities that exist between artistic and structural design, and the remarkable results that can be achieved when these disciplines are integrated.
For more than 80 years, SOM has explored the poetics of structure through examination, experimentation, and partnerships with artists. The MAK Center surveys this work as a cultural organization dedicated to challenging conventional notions of the relationship between architectural spaces and creative arts.
Presented at the historic Schindler House in West Hollywood, the exhibition illustrates SOM’s multidisciplinary practice, past and present, and the way design and engineering can be integrated to achieve works of public art. Throughout various spaces in the house and garden, installations and conceptual visualizations show the intricate connections between these disciplines. The exhibition comprises four components:
- Scale and Form Pavilion: New to the traveling exhibition, this morphing, 27-foot-long pavilion hovers above the landscape on the grounds of the Schindler House. Suspended from aluminum trusses and braced with steel wires, the double-curved kinematic structure is made of hinged and stiffened wood panels. The form of the pavilion is inspired by the mathematical relationships between force and motion: it can be expanded or contracted into a version of the original geometry with minimal effort.
- Models: Several structural models at 1:500 scale are on display. Exterior walls are absent on each model to reveal the structural skeleton, showing how the buildings seamlessly integrate structure and architecture.
- Ideas wall: A mosaic of hand-drawn sketches makes the design process visible and showcases the continuously evolving discussion that takes place within the firm.
- Art installations and digital projections: Work from globally acclaimed artists and architects who have partnered with SOM to design large-scale public installations, including Janet Echelman, James Carpenter, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Jaume Plensa, Pablo Picasso, and Peter Zumthor, are on display.
The presentation at the MAK Center expands on the exhibition that has traveled to architecture and design festivals around the world, including the 2018 Venice Biennale of Architecture and the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, and at notable venues such as the Utzon Center in Aalborg, Denmark and Architekturgalerie in Munich, Germany.
The exhibition's presenting sponsor is Taslimi Construction. Additional sponsors include Computers and Structures, Inc.; ARC Document Solutions / Riot Creative Imaging; Earthquake Prevention Systems; the Herrick Corporation; Pacific Architectural Millwork; Hathaway Dinwiddie; Langan; CoreBrace; C.R. Laurence; DeWalt; GERB; Rudolph and Sletten; and Taylor Devices.
A series of panel discussions with artists, community leaders, and SOM engineers and architects will accompany the exhibition. These events will offer the public a deeper understanding of the intersection between art and engineering, and the impact that the work has on the built environment.
Poetic Structure: Art + Engineering + Architecture
June 30–September 2, 2018
Wednesday–Friday: 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Saturday: 12:00–5:00 p.m.
Sunday: 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
MAK Center for Art and Architecture
The Schindler House
835 North Kings Road
West Hollywood, California
About Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is one of the leading architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban planning firms in the world. Since its founding more than 80 years ago, SOM has earned a reputation for design excellence with a portfolio that includes some of the most important architectural accomplishments of the 20th and 21st centuries, and has been a leader in the research and development of specialized technologies, new processes and innovative ideas, many of which have had a palpable and lasting impact on the design profession and the physical environment. The firm’s longstanding leadership in design and building technology has been honored with nearly 2,000 awards for quality, innovation, and management. The American Institute of Architects has recognized SOM twice with its highest honor, the Architecture Firm Award—in 1962 and again in 1996. The firm maintains offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Dubai, and Mumbai.
About the MAK Center for Art and Architecture
Unique in its role as an historic site and exhibition space, the MAK Center develops local and international projects exploring the intersection of contemporary art and architecture. Acting as a "think tank" for current issues, the Center encourages exploration of practical or theoretical aspects in art and architecture by engaging the Center’s places, spaces, and histories. Established in 1994, the Center is housed in the landmark R.M. Schindler House (1921-22) in West Hollywood, California. In addition, the Center maintains and occupies two other Schindler-designed buildings: the Mackey Apartments (1939) and the Fitzpatrick-Leland House (1936).