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Between concept and context

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An exhibition at Hauser & Wirth Somerset explores the relationships between architecture and its setting

Land Marks: Structures for a Poetic Universe brings together more than 100 architectural studies and models to explore the link between sculpture and architecture. Through this lens, the curators examine how structures transform the landscape and city into what they call ‘poetic environments’.

The exhibition is separated into two parallel paths: one looks at how architectural ideas can enhance the lyrical qualities of their setting; the other considers architecture as a vessel for ideas and memories.

It begins with the natural world, showing how structures change the space in which they sit. Work from Frank Lloyd Wright, who saw his mission as completing the unfinished work of nature, plays off Superstudio’s gigantic mirrored wall, which was intended to reconfigure the landscape through reflection. While some of the work emphasises the tranquility of gardens and the wilderness, Le Corbusier’s Open Hand hovering over the gigantic dam at Chandigarh in India shows how a dynamic structure can bring life to its surroundings.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe: photomontage showing model for a glass skyscraper for Berlin Friedrichstrasse (1922)

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe: photomontage showing model for a glass skyscraper for Berlin Friedrichstrasse (1922)

The focus then shifts to the city, where Mies van der Rohe’s photomontage of the unbuilt glass Friedrichstrasse Tower and Hans Poelzig’s expressive moulded lines either challenge or bring coherence to the urban environment. The parallel path deals with objects, symbols and spaces. Antti Lovag’s Structure de Rencontre et Reflexion, for example, presents a space for both meditation and encounter. In contrast, Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic Perspex chandelier (a wedding present for Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon) and Louis Kahn’s mediation on the effect of sunlight on primary shapes look at universal structures and fundamental forms.

Land Marks: Structures for Poetic Universe is ambitious in its scope, highlighting familiar and obscure work from some of architecture’s most influential thinkers and builders.

Land Marks: Structures for a Poetic Universe, part of Hauser & Wirth’s Architecture Season, continues until 21June. Hauser & Wirth Somerset, Durslade Farm, Bruton, Somerset. Curated by Nicholas Olsberg and Markus Lähteenmäki



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