Buildings contribute nearly 40% of the world’s annual carbon emissions—a statistic that underscores the vital intersection of architecture and environmental consciousness. This relationship, especially in the context of the U.S., finds a lens at MoMA’s “Emerging Ecologies: Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalism.”
Historically, architecture often reflected the prevailing styles from Classical to Modern. Now, with the environmental crisis of the 1960s and 1970s as a backdrop, the focus has shifted. These decades saw rising pollution and unchecked resource use, igniting widespread activism in defense of our planet. The exhibition delves into how American architects responded to this crisis, spotlighting the audacious, innovative, and sometimes fantastical designs that emerged as environmentalism rose.
As the first major museum exhibition examining the relationship between U.S. architecture and the budding environmental movement, “Emerging Ecologies” spans six decades. It offers an array of works—archival drawings, videos, and architectural models—that trace an alternative architectural history. Here, the natural world isn’t a mere backdrop but the star of the design narrative.
Icons like R. Buckminster Fuller, Beverly Willis, and Emilio Ambasz, who boldly placed environmentalism at the forefront of their designs, earn their due recognition. The exhibit also unveils the often-overlooked environmental ethos in the work of creatives like Ant Farm and the dynamic duo, Charles and Ray Eames.
But “Emerging Ecologies” doesn’t merely look back—it also gazes forward, seeking insights from contemporary thinkers. The aim? To comprehend how the displayed works can guide our navigation through today’s escalating climate crisis.
This news was written in collaboration with Open AI’s GPT-4.