On Wednesday, April 24th, “Beyond the Structure” (“+ Allá de la Estructura”) will open in Madrid. The exhibition, presented by SOM and Fundación Arquitectura COAM spotlights SOM’s structural engineering practice and its integration with SOM’s architectural design.
Initially displayed in Munich, the original concept of the exhibition is based on a special monograph edited by Detail magazine in 2015. Since then, its different iterations have been displayed in Hamburg and Cologne; in Aalborg, Denmark; at the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial; as a collateral exhibition of the 2018 Venice Biennale of Architecture; and, most recently, as a part of MEXTRÓPOLI in Mexico City.
On view through Friday, June 21st, “Beyond the Structure” (“+ Allá de la Estructura”) explores the idea that engineers and architects practice a poetry of inquiry, experimentation, and ingenuity. Through sketches, concept models, video, and structural models, the exhibition gives insight into SOM’s practice, past and present, as it seeks to address physical and environmental challenges with concise and clarified solutions.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is an installation of structural models at 1:500 scale putting SOM’s groundbreaking projects on display. The model lineup features some of SOM’s most innovative recent work around the world, including JTI Headquarters in Geneva; Exchange House in London and Hotel Arts in Barcelona, alongside influential and pioneering projects designed throughout the firm’s history, including John Hancock Center (now known as 875 North Michigan Avenue), Sears Tower (now known as Willis Tower), and Burj Khalifa.
New to the traveling exhibition is a 5-by-5-by-3 meters timbrel vault structure, also known as a Catalan vault. Constructed of overlapping bricks and mortar, the vault’s design incorporates upturned edges and shape optimization to yield an ultra-light and efficient shell form. The piece exemplifies one of the exhibition’s main themes: that the economy of a structure depends on how efficiently it can be constructed.
Throughout the duration of the exhibition, SOM will also present a program of panel discussions, workshops and guided tours with Structural Engineering Partners William F. Baker and Mark Sarkisian, and others from SOM. Events and lectures will be scheduled during the run of the exhibition; check back here for updates.