Beyond art, the challenge of exhibiting architecture

6 Mar 2008

Fleur Watson writes about the history and evolution of architecture exhibitions and the role of the curator.

Unlike any other cultural endeavour, architecture is powerfully and intrinsically linked to our everyday experience and our collective culture. It operates at all levels of society and humanity ? architecture is both art and engineering, necessary and elitist. Its protagonists are revered and deplored and, throughout history, it seems that many influential positions have been taken on the relevance of architecture to the common good. However, despite this complex relationship, the architectural process has mostly remained exclusive to architects and, is often deemed inaccessible and mystical by the very people ? our collective society ? who commission and inhabit architects? creations.

The architectural exhibition creates a unique opportunity to provide insight and understanding of the architectural profession and its process. In so doing it cultivates an understanding of the importance of design culture at every level of our society. However, in the context of other disciplines such as fine art, the development of the dedicated architecture exhibition has been surprisingly slow to realise the potential of a specialised environment with which to communicate to the general public.

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