Buildings produce nearly 40% of the world’s yearly carbon emissions. Emerging Ecologies: Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalism explores how architects in the US responded to the environmental crisis of the 1960s and 1970s, when concern with rising pollution and runaway resource use spurred widespread activism on behalf of the natural world. Tracing the innovative, fantastical, and daring projects that architects proposed as environmentalism gathered steam, Emerging Ecologies tells an alternate history of architecture that focuses on designers who have made the natural world a centerpiece of their practice.
The first major museum exhibition to survey the relationship between architecture and the environmental movement in the United States, Emerging Ecologies brings together a wide range of work—from archival drawings to videos to architectural models—spanning six decades. The exhibition celebrates those architects who spearheaded this approach, including R. Buckminster Fuller, Beverly Willis, and Emilio Ambasz, and reveals previously unheralded environmental concerns in the work of practitioners like Ant Farm and Charles and Ray Eames. Emerging Ecologies also looks to the future, engaging contemporary thinkers to help understand how the works on view might help us navigate the accelerating climate crisis today.
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.