On a scale ranging from biological time to accelerated media time, architecture tends to operate at the slower end: our experience of the built form changes with light, temperature, and climate over the course of the day, while the physicality of a building itself changes over the course of seasons and years. Reflecting architecture’s diurnal transformation, the exhibit structure moved at a nearly imperceptible rate, completing one full cycle in the span of one hour. The dynamic folds of the structure, wrapped in luminous fabric, were suspended within the volume of the static, permanent gallery, slowly extending and contracting, from horizontal to vertical, open to closed, public to private. The enclosure of the exhibition thus transformed and evolved over the course of a visit: it became an abstract timepiece. A lone, stationary chair—a symbol of the necessity of sustained observation—beckoned the viewer to stop in order to perceive and contemplate the protracted movement.
At the lower level of the museum, a catacomb-like structure was erected to display two decades of architectural drawings and models. The two layers—one in a constant state of transformation and the other concrete and tectonic—interconnected to complete the exhibit, which was both a retrospective of our work and itself a transformation of space at a one-to-one scale.
One of our central concerns has been to develop strategies through which architecture can connect with the urban environment without dampening the richness of human experience. The exhibition construction enacted the processes of the modern city—the play of transitory forces within built space. The visitor entered into a process through which the body’s relationship to space and time could be subtly and perceptually modulated. The human body and the architectural space engaged in a uniquely urban dialogue of chance encounters, perceptual gaps, fragmentation, unexpected collisions, and juxtapositions, unlikely to be experienced the same way twice.