Henry Urbach

  • Constant: New Babylon

    In 1956, the Dutch painter Constant began an architectural and urban design project that he pursued obsessively for nearly twenty years. The New Babylon imagined a set of urban interruptions that would provide variable “atmospheres” to serve the new Homo ludens. Its thematics of freedom, pleasure, and programmatic flexibility continues to haunt architecture, and its multimedia presentation—drawings, paintings, models, films, and radio broadcasts—still amazes. Initiated by Witte de With director Bartemeo Mari and curated by architectural scholar Mark Wigley, this exhibition gathers an unprecedented

  • The American Lawn: Surface of Everyday Life

    Don’t be thrown by the banalité of the title; the aim is unmistakably to defamiliarize the American lawn. Organized by a team of scholars and architects (Beatriz Colomina, Elizabeth Diller, Alessandra Ponte, Ricardo Scofidio, Georges Teyssot, and Mark Wigley, with Mark Wasiuta of the CCA), “The American Lawn” considers the production, cultivation, and cultural significance of grass—there are more than 40,000 square miles of the stuff in North America. The Diller+Scofidio–designed show presents artifacts ranging from historic gardening tools to aerial, stereoscopic, and infrared photos of lawns

  • Alvar Aalto: Between Humanism and Materialism

    In 1918, the very year Finland gained its independence, Alvar Aalto began producing a dazzling range of glass and laminated wood objects, town-planning designs, and architectural projects that have made him that country's most celebrated Modernist. This year, a host of conferences and exhibitions mark the centennial of Aalto’s birth, including MoMA’s retrospective organized by Peter Reed of the museum's architecture department and Columbia University professor Kenneth Frampton. Nearly 200 drawings and fifteen original models, as well as new and archival photographs, will be displayed, along with

  • Fabrications

    Contemporary architecture straddles the realities of representation and aspirations to the real. “Fabrications,” an exhibition organized by MoMA’s Terence Riley, SF MoMA’s Aaron Betsky, and the Wexner’s Mark Robbins, embraces this to-and-fro with full-scale, you-can-touch-me constructions by twelve architects including Enrique Norten, Henry Smith-Miller and Laurie Hawkinson, Hodgetts + Fung, and Stanley Saitowitz. Projects of four participants are shown simultaneously at each venue, and the catalogue includes drawings as well as images of the architects’ earlier efforts. (An adjunct show at the

  • MoMA's Architectural Competition

    INSTITUTIONS MOVE FORWARD by renegotiating their own history. Drawing on its legacy of architectural provocation and promotion, beginning with the International Style show of 1932, the Museum of Modern Art is nearing the final stages of preparing for its renovation and expansion. Though a number of recent museum statements describe the expansion as simply the next logical step in MoMA’s historical growth and development, deputy director for curatorial affairs and chief curator at large John Elderfield goes so far as to call the scope of the project “a reconceptualization of the entire facility.”