Center for Architecture 2009

NEW YORK CITY, December 29, 2008 – Revolutionary ideas in engineering methods and concepts are the focus of a new exhibition opening in January at the Center for Architecture in New York. Called MAKE IT WORK. Engineering Possibilities, the new exhibition features cutting-edge building projects – as well as new research – that stand to change the way we build.

"The engineers and architects designing these projects are leading the way to a new conception of integrated practice. They are creating exciting new structures that address the 21st-century material issues of sustainability, production and resources," says Rick Bell, FAIA, Executive Director of AIA New York and the Center for Architecture. “Through MAKE IT WORK, these groundbreaking concepts from around the world will be available for the public to understand and simply enjoy.”

In fact, the engineering innovations will be expressed through a variety of mediums aimed at encouraging public participation, according to Rosamond Fletcher, Director of Exhibitions at the Center for Architecture. In addition to interactive computer, film and video, photography, and an audio guide, visitors will see full-scale sculptural installations of engineering innovations, including work by Chuck Hoberman.

Curated by engineers
The exhibition’s curatorial team includes several engineering experts: Eli Gottlieb, Vice President of Thornton Tomasetti; Erik Madsen, Senior Project Engineer at DeSimone Consulting Engineers; and Zak Kostura, Arup; as well as the Center for Architecture’s Rosamond Fletcher, Director of Exhibitions; Jonah Stern, Exhibitions Coordinator; and Beth Stryker, Director of Programs.

How engineering marvels happen
Rosamond Fletcher says the exhibition highlights several areas of innovation, demonstrating how engineers are transforming structures, improving environments, enhancing materials, reinventing building technologies, and advancing forms. These thematic topics will be organized as “progressive trajectories, charting precedents, recent built work, research subjects in the prototype phase, and visionary proposals.”

Five areas of innovation

MAKE IT WORK will touch on five key categories of innovation. The first, Transforming Structures, describes how structures are being reinvented through concepts such as actuated tensegrity, parametric spaceframes, and vacuum systems. The second category, Improving Environments, explores how engineers harvest and manage energy through advances in photovoltaics, piezoelectrics, and radiant heat. The Enhancing Materials section demonstrates how new types of concrete, fiber-based materials, and structural glass contribute to greater opportunities for aesthetic explorations.

Projects such as the New Meadowlands Stadium by Thornton Tomasetti, included in the Re-Inventing Building Technologies section, highlight new opportunities for efficiency in the way we build. Finally, a section called Advancing Forms will present proposals for how engineers, not architects, are influencing the creation of unique forms through investigations into new typologies, new ideals of efficiency, and new ways of integrating systems.

Featured works include Herzog & de Meuron’s Bird’s Nest, James Graham and Thaddeus Jusczyk’s Crowd Farm, KieranTimberlake’s SmartWrap, the New Meadowlands by EwingCole and 360 Architecture, and Arup’s D24 project.