Yale School of Architecture Announces Exhibitions for 2006–07

The Sunset Breezehouse by Michelle Kaufmann Designs is one of eight prototype prefabricated houses featured in the exhibition “Some Assembly Required.”

The influential architectural group Team 10, cutting-edge prefabricated housing and the avant garde projects of Dutch firm UNStudio are the focus of three forthcoming exhibitions at the Yale School of Architecture for the academic year 2006–07.

The first exhibition of the coming academic year at Yale’s landmark Art & Architecture Building, 180 York Street, begins on September 5 with “Team 10:  A Utopia of the Present.” This multi-media show pays homage to a coterie of Pan-European architects who, challenging the orthodoxies of Modernism in post-War Europe, raised issues of urban design that continue to reverberate in architectural discourse today.

In 1956, several young architects from England, France, the Netherlands and Italy were charged with organizing the 10th meeting of the influential International Congress of Modern Architecture (CIAM), a formal gathering of proponents of Modernism.

Questioning some of the fundamental tenets of Modernist doctrine—among them, a strict adherence to functionalism, a preference for high-rise buildings and ideals of a socially and structurally stratified city— the organizers of the 10th CIAM created a new forum to explore ways to restore a human scale to urban design and to reexamine the role of the architect within society. Adopting the name “Team 10,” the renegade group agreed to meet regularly, each time at a different location. In their open-ended discussions, in advance of Jane Jacobs’s historic “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” Team 10 championed the unique complexity and diversity of the city landscape, heralding a new age in urban design and planning.

Deliberately informal in tone and organization, the meetings took place in a variety of European cities and towns, from the first in 1960 in Bagnols-sur-Cèze, France, to the last in 1981 in Lisbon. Drawing on a range of resources and media that includes correspondence, transcripts, tape recordings, photographs, drawings and film, “Team 10: A Utopia of the Present,” brings alive the intellectually charged gatherings of this pioneering group.

The urban design legends Team 10 at work.

The first major show about Team 10, this traveling exhibition originated at the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) in Rotterdam. It will remain at the Yale School of Architecture, its only North American venue, until October 20.

In connection with this exhibition, the distinguished writer and critic Kenneth Frampton will deliver a lecture, “Structure, Identity and Existence in the Work of Team 10,” on September 18, 6:30 p.m. The Ware Professor of Architecture at the Graduate School of Architecture and Planning, Columbia University, Frampton is the author of “Modern Architecture: A Critical History,”  “Studies in Tectonic Culture” and “Labour, Work and Architecture: Collected Essays on Architecture and Design,” among many acclaimed works.

A short symposium titled “Team 10: Thoughts on a Shiny New Brutalism” will take place on September 21, at 6:30 p.m. The symposium examines the legacy of Team 10 as it intersects with contemporary architectural thought and production.  Long marginalized, the work of Team 10 and its core protagonists Aldo van Eyck, Alison and Peter Smithson, Giancarlo de Carlo and Shadrach Woods is the subject of renewed historical and theoretical interest as architectural discourse turns once again to the intersections of architecture, urbanism, infrastructure, landscape and society. Participants include Thomas Avarmaete, Peter de Bretteville, Keith Krumwiede, Ana Miljacki and Alan Plattus.

“Some Assembly Required: Contemporary Prefabricated Houses,” featuring the work of eight contemporary architecture studios, will be at the Yale School of Architecture from October 27, 2006, to February 2, 2007. This show, which originated at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, demonstrates how far prefabricated homes of the digital age have come from the “straight-off-the- assembly-line” look of the mid-20th century.

From the black barn in the style of a Viking longhouse, by the Swedish firm Pinc House, to Steven Holl’s shimmering metal-clad Turbulence House (pictured on the cover of a recent New York Times Magazine), each building bears the idiosyncratic stamp of its designers. Yet all of these prototype homes, offering a range of options that can include building material, interior structure and overall dimension, can also reflect the taste and particular needs of their owners.

The firm Resolution: 4 Architecture, for example, makes three different types of prefabricated modules—communal living spaces, private spaces for bed- and bathrooms and accessory units for storage and outside additions—that can be configured in a variety of ways. For their model house in this exhibition, the modules were customized as a mountainside vacation home, but the same prefabricated units might be arranged to serve a different function in another setting.

Another type of “prefab” is the “panelized” system, such as that offered by FlatPak, the Minneapolis-based firm started by Blu Dot principal and Yale School of Architecture alumnus Charles Lazor. Using 8-foot single-story panels as the basic building unit, clients are able to work with FlatPak architects to design their own homes from almost limitless combinations of materials and configurations. The customized components of the house are transported to the building site in flat cartons—the signature packaging system of mail-order furniture company Blu Dot.

Other prefabricated models featured in this exhibition include Rocio Romero’s corrugated-metal LV Kit Home; the Sunset Breeze House of Michelle Kaufmann Designs, which boasts a private garden off every major room and a central, glass-enclosed living area; and the Desert House of Los Angeles–based Marmol Radziner + Associates, which, unlike “panelized” or kit houses requiring onsite assembly, is delivered as a completed product straight from the factory. Finally, there is the one-room Weehouse from Alchemy Architects, a single module that can stand alone or serve as the starting element of larger Wee houses.

Yale School of Architecture will be the only regional venue of “Some Assembly Required.”

A related three-day symposium, “Building (in) the Future: Recasting Labor in Architecture,” will take place at the School of Architecture on October 27–29. Scholars, architects, planners and designers will examine how contemporary practices of production are reshaping the design/construction process, especially as it relates to fabrication, detailing and ultimately the organization of labor. The event will begin at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, with a keynote address delivered by Kenneth Frampton at 6:30 p.m.

An exhibition focusing on the work of the Amsterdam-based firm UN Studio will be at Yale School of Architecture from February 12 to May 4. Among the more celebrated projects of UN Studio are the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam, the Prince Claus Bridge in Utrecht and the recently completed Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. There will be more information on this traveling exhibition, mounted by the Deutsches Architektur Museum in Frankfurt, Germany, in a separate press release.

The final exhibition of the academic year 2006–07 will focus on work of Yale School of Architecture students.

All events will take place at the Yale School of Architecture. The hours for the Yale School of Architecture gallery are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. For more information, contact the Yale School of Architecture, 203-432-2288, or visit their web site at www.architecture.yale.edu.

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Media Contact

Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345