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From 4 to 15 May 2020, renowned architectural historian Barry Bergdoll led the theory master class of The Berlage, entitled Architectures on Display: On the History and Contemporary Approaches to Exhibiting Architecture. This master class is organised in collaboration with Het Nieuwe Instituut and the Jaap Bakema Study Centre on the occasion of the upcoming exhibition Art on Display 1949–69.

Despite the obvious paradox of exhibiting representations of buildings rather than buildings themselves, practices of displaying architecture have grown exponentially in both frequency and variety of approach over the last centuries. Probably since paper was invented, architects have pinned up drawings for review by patrons, clients, and colleagues. But the creation of public architecture exhibitions, with the aims of engaging non-professionals and creating an audience for architecture distinct from the experience of buildings in-situ, dates only from the second half of the 18th century.

The master class combines a consideration of the history and main theoretical ideas raised by the culture of displaying architecture with an examination of six contemporary architecture exhibitions. It comprises two parallel lines of inquiry: first, a historical study of exhibiting architecture through a series of online lectures by Barry Bergdoll, complemented by three public lectures; and second, a series of conversations with curators, designers, scenographers, and other experts. The public lectures include “Inventing Latin American Architecture at MoMA” by Patricio del Real, “LC—Le Curator as Exhibitionist” by Jean-Louis Cohen, and “Architecture Exhibitions in the Postmodern Era: 1968–2019” by Léa-Catherine Szacka. Participants will engage in conversations with Pedro Ignacio Alonso, Eve Blau, Giovanna Borasi, Yvonne Farrell, Salomon Frausto, Reto Geiser, Ludo Groen, Dirk van den Heuvel, Mark Lee, Shelley McNamara, Monika Platzer, Max Risselada, Arthur Rüegg, and Thomas Weaver. 

Barry Bergdoll

Barry Bergdoll is the Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History and Archaeology and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Columbia University. He served as The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design from 2007 to 2014. His scholarship focuses on modern architectural history with a particular emphasis on France and Germany since 1800. At MoMA he organised, curated, and consulted on several major exhibitions of 19th and 20th-century architecture, including Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955-1980 (2015) and Henri Labrouste: Structure Brought to Light (2013). He is the author and editor of numerous publications, including Mies in Berlin (2001); European Architecture 1750-1890, in the Oxford History of Art series (2001); Karl Friedrich Schinkel: An Architecture for Prussia (1994); and Léon Vaudoyer: Historicism in the Age of Industry (1994).

Master Classes at The Berlage

Master classes are a unique feature of The Berlage. Twice a year students and young professionals work with world-renowned architects, designers, and thinkers to analyse a chosen subject relevant to contemporary issues in the built environment. Participants are encouraged to experiment with alternative forms of representation and dissemination. Recent master classes have been led by Assemble, Beatriz Colomina, Reinier de Graaf, Hans Kollhoff, Hideyuki Nakayama, Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, and Felicity D Scott.

About The Berlage

Founded in 1990 as The Berlage Institute, The Berlage Center for Advanced Studies in Architecture and Urban Design, located in Delft, educates architects in a highly collaborative and experimental setting, characterised by independent study with guidance and input from leading and emerging designers and scholars. Since 2012, students have benefitted from the world-class facilities of TU Delft, as well as close exchanges with its academic staff and students.

Lectures by Jean-Louis Cohen, Patricio del Real, Lea-Catherine Szacka and Barry Bergdoll.

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