Skip to content | Accessibility Information

Sanderson, L., 2019.

UnDoing Buildings

Output Type:Exhibition
Venue:Castlefield Gallery, Manchester
Dates:22/3/2019 - 26/5/2019
Number of Works:11

An exhibition at the Castlefield Art Gallery curated by Sally Stone (Reader in Architecture) and Laura Sanderson (Senior Lecture) at the Manchester School of Architecture

22 March 2019 -- 26 May 2019

UnDoing is an exhibition that explores the close relationships between architecture and art, focussing especially upon the reuse of the existing situation, that is: Buildings, Rooms, Landscapes and Cities. It explores how buildings, places and artefacts are re-used, reinterpreted and remembered.

The project was initiated by Sally and Laura's research into the often-conflicted relationship between past and present in architecture. UnDoing includes photography, models, sculpture and film by artists and architects that explore how buildings, places and artefacts are re-used, reinterpreted and remembered.

Buildings hold histories. Architectural style and function can teach us about our historical predecessors and our contemporaries, but more than this, buildings store the individual histories of the people who used them. Worn floors, damaged surfaces, graffitied walls, these serve as records of the people who were here, for whom a particular building was a fundamental part of the infrastructure of daily life. In any given building exciting things have happened, terrible things have happened, but mostly, things have just happened, everyday life continued and for the most part, it wasn't notable, except to the person who lived it.

So, what happens when an architect renovates or redevelops an existing building or place?

Often, this is simply the necessary work to make a building useable. But redevelopment can also be a threat. It can herald gentrification, or the loss of the history attached to a specific building. Any significant redevelopment inevitably attracts criticism from people who are worried that they will lose something, whether that is the affordability to continue living in their home, or the historical value attached to a certain site. How then, do architects manage the conflict between the needs of the present with the value of the past? What is lost once a building is gone for good? What is our relationship to our history, and how do we inhabit and respond to our present environment?

These are questions that are explored throughout UnDoing, with contributions from a range of international architects and artists who explore how buildings, places and artefacts are re-used, reinterpreted and remembered.

Exhibitors: James Ackerley, Nazgol Ansarinia, Tom Dale, Connor + Darby, Lost Spaces Project, Malcolm Fraser, MAP Studio, , Abigail Reynolds, Larissa Sansour, Adrien Tirtiaux, and Sarah Westphal.

Included with UnDoing is a special exhibit: Lost Spaces. This was a project directed by academics Sally Stone, Tom Jefferies and Tom Jefferies, and completed by postgraduate Manchester School of Architecture students. This model-making exercise explored the memory of the remains of important lost buildings. The students studied nine different spaces (seven of which are shown in this exhibition), all had been lost: to time, to progress, to misfortune or to conflict. The students were asked to develop a series of models that investigated the particular qualities and characteristics of specific spaces or interiors that had been destroyed. These were not necessarily meant to represent reality, but to express an interpretation of it. The careful and considered construction of models led to discussions about loss, interpretation and authenticity. UnDoing features a number of these models, including a sliding model of Manchester's legendary nightclub The Hacienda, a model of a hut built by Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein in which he wrote his most celebrated work Philosophical Investigations (1953) while living as a hermit in the remote village of Skjolden, Norway (1936-1937), and a cast-metal model of the Caffè degli Inglesi, Rome by Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778) which was destroyed during the Napoleonic wars.

UnDoing Buildings Walk (May 18th 2019)
Sally Stone, and Laura Sanderson from the Manchester School of Architecture, along with architect and conservationist Johnathan Djabarouti will lead a tour of some of the most interesting and compelling examples of adaptation and re-use in the city. These will range from prominent and well known buildings to secret places that have delicate relationships with their surroundings. Sally, Laura and Jonathan will encourage discussion and debate during the walk.