Stone, S., Pendergast, M., Emery, T., Sanderson, L., 2019.
UnDoing Exhibition Catalogue + Essays
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