Emerging Ecologies

Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalism

Sep 17, 2023–Jan 20, 2024

MoMA

Don Davis. 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
  • MoMA, Floor 3, 3 North The Philip Johnson Galleries

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.

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.

Publication

  • Emerging Ecologies: Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalism Exhibition catalogue, Hardcover, 224 pages

Artists

Installation images

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].

Licensing

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit https://www.moma.org/research/circulating-film.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].

Feedback

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].