Go to moma.org

Emerging Ecologies: Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalism

September 17, 2023 – January 20, 2024

The Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art announces Emerging Ecologies: Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalism, an exhibition dedicated to both realized and unrealized projects that address ecological and environmental concerns by architects who practiced in the United States from the 1930s through the 1990s. On view from September 17, 2023, through January 20, 2024, in the Museum’s Third Floor North Galleries, Emerging Ecologies features over 150 works that reconstruct how the rise of the environmental movement in the US informed architectural practice and thought. Models, photographs, diagrams, and sketches are placed in context with archival materials such as posters, flyers, and articles to showcase innovative, fantastical, dystopian, and daring architectural projects that sought to navigate the fraught relationship between the built and natural environment. The exhibition celebrates the path-breaking environmentally conscious work of architects like Emilio Ambasz, Charles and Ray Eames, and Frank Lloyd Wright, while shining a light on many less familiar, historically significant practices like The New Alchemy Institute, Glen Small, and Mária Telkes. Seven newly commissioned audio recordings that draw inspiration from these little-known projects will feature contemporary practitioners—Mae-ling Lokko, Jeanne Gang, Meredith Gaglio, Charlotte Malterre-Barthes, Amy Chester, Carolyn Dry, and Emilio Ambasz—sharing their thoughts on what contemporary architects can do to mitigate against climate change. By highlighting projects that both foreshadowed and anticipated the ecological effects of overpopulation, the depletion of natural resources, and rampant industrial pollution, the exhibition looks to the past to suggest solutions for the future.

The exhibition is organized by Carson Chan, Director, the Emilio Ambasz Institute for the Joint Study of the Built and Natural Environment, and Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, with Matthew Wagstaffe and Dewi Tan, Ambasz Institute Research Assistants, and Eva Lavranou, 12-Month Intern, Ambasz Institute.

Special thanks to Meredith Gaglio, Mark Wasiuta and Belle Beyer.

The exhibition is made possible by Allianz, MoMA’s partner for design and innovation, and supporter of programs that look to a more sustainable future.

Leadership support is provided by the Legacy Emilio Ambasz Foundation. 

Generous funding is provided by Loren Pack and Rob Beyer.

Images

Important: By downloading images you are agreeing to the following permissions: Images are provided exclusively to the press, and only for purposes of publicity of The Museum of Modern Art's and MoMA PS1's current and upcoming exhibitions, programs, and news announcements. Permission to use images is granted only to the extent of the Museum's and MoMA PS1's ownership rights relating to those images—the responsibility for any additional permissions remains solely with the party reproducing the images. The images must be accompanied by the credit line and any copyright information as it appears above, and the party reproducing the images must not distort or mutilate the images.

Cambridge Seven Associates (American, est. 1962). Tsuruhama Rain Forest Pavilion, Osaka, Japan. Project. 1993–95. Section drawing showing the underground levels and the paths at the forest level. 1994–95. Marker and Prismacolor pencil on black-line diazo print, 20 × 30″ (50.8 × 76.2 cm). Collection Cambridge Seven Associates

Don Davis (American, born 1952). Stanford torus interior view. 1975. Acrylic on board, 17 × 22″ (43.1 × 55.9 cm). Commissioned by NASA for Richard D. Johnson and Charles Holbrow, eds., Space Settlements: A Design Study (Washington, DC: NASA Scientific and Technical Information Office, 1977). Illustration never used. Collection Don Davis

Eleanor Raymond (American, 1887–1989) and Mária Telkes (Hungarian, 1900–1995). Dover Sun House, Dover, Massachusetts. 1948. Eleanor Raymond and Mária Telkes at the Dover Sun House. 1948. Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Frances Loeb Library. Special Collections

Protesters marching against a PCB landfill in Afton, Warren County, North Carolina, led by Reverend Leon White (second from left), Reverend Joseph Lowery (center), and Ken Ferruccio (second from right). 1982. Getty Images, Bettmann Archive. Photograph: Otto Ludwig Bettmann

Anna Halprin (American, 1920–2021), Lawrence Halprin (American, 1916–2009). Experiments in Environment Workshops, 1966–71. Participants in the Sea Ranch Driftwood Village Rebuilt event, Sea Ranch, California. 1968. University of Pennsylvania. The Architectural Archives. Lawrence Halprin Collection

Aladar Olgyay (Hungarian, 1910–1963) and Victor Olgyay (Hungarian, 1910–1970). Thermoheliodon. 1955–56. The Olgyay brothers with their Thermoheliodon device at the Princeton Architectural Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey. From Collier’s, October 26, 1956. Photograph: Guy Gillette

Eugene Tssui (American, b. 1954). “Venturus,” wind-generated dwelling for Mr. and Mrs. Peter Cook, Victoria, BC, Canada. Project, 1982. Elevation and section through entrance tunnel. Watercolor, Prismacolor pencil, pastel chalk, and colored ink on paper, 21 × 32″ (53.3 × 81.3 cm). Collection Eugene Tssui

Unknown artist. “The Climatron in winter–Shaw’s Garden–Saint Louis.” c. 1960. Postcard. 4 × 8″ (10.2 × 20.3 cm). The Missouri Botanical Garden Archives

Glen Small (American, born 1937). Biomorphic Biosphere. Project, 1969–82. Drawing of a flying house. 1973. Ink and watercolor on paper, 16 × 20″ (40.6 × 50.8 cm). Collection Glen Small

Emilio Ambasz (Argentine, born 1943). Prefectural International Hall, Fukuoka, Japan. 1990. Aerial view. 1990. Collection Emilio Ambasz. Photograph: Hiromi Watanabe

Installation view of Emerging Ecologies: Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalismon view at The Museum of Modern Art from September 17, 2023 through January 20, 2024. Photo: Jonathan Dorado

Installation view of Emerging Ecologies: Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalismon view at The Museum of Modern Art from September 17, 2023 through January 20, 2024. Photo: Jonathan Dorado

Installation view of Emerging Ecologies: Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalismon view at The Museum of Modern Art from September 17, 2023 through January 20, 2024. Photo: Jonathan Dorado

Installation view of Emerging Ecologies: Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalismon view at The Museum of Modern Art from September 17, 2023 through January 20, 2024. Photo: Jonathan Dorado

Installation view of Emerging Ecologies: Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalismon view at The Museum of Modern Art from September 17, 2023 through January 20, 2024. Photo: Jonathan Dorado

Installation view of Emerging Ecologies: Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalismon view at The Museum of Modern Art from September 17, 2023 through January 20, 2024. Photo: Jonathan Dorado

Installation view of Emerging Ecologies: Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalismon view at The Museum of Modern Art from September 17, 2023 through January 20, 2024. Photo: Jonathan Dorado