Throughout the 20th century and in particular during the emergence and development of (post)modernism, exhibitions have been key sites for experimentation, discussion, and critique of architecture. As today the discipline is increasingly subjected to the mechanisms of mediatization and the attention economy, the medium of the exhibition continues to gain relevance.

Here, it is not only a tool to formulate and communicate an understanding of architecture to fellow practitioners, but also to a wider audience, hence contributing to its popularization. In many ways, the history of curating and displaying architecture is closely linked to developments in related fields like the humanities and especially art. But what sets art and architecture exhibitions apart is a fundamental issue: What we see when entering the Architecture gallery is commonly not the “real object,” but rather a representation something that would be otherwise too complex to be contained. (1)

Departing from this inherent tension, how can architecture exhibitions today not only move beyond the conventional modes of display (eg. the model, drawing, photograph, etc.), but furthermore avoid the pitfalls of functioning as a promotion of a specific cultural practice and instead unfold its potential as a critical tool?

The Zurich Visiting School picks up these issues and unfolds them through a series of lectures, conversations, and workshops. It is structured according to a critical analysis of the common sites of exhibition-making (eg.: the institution/museum, commercial gallery, nonprofit/off space, and public space) as well as curatorial techniques and modes in an attempt to investigate models moving beyond it.

For the first year the AA Visiting School Zurich invites current students in the fields of architecture, design, curating, art history and related subjects in the humanities, PhD student and professionals to come together in this vibrant city – one of the birthplaces of the DADA movement – for a series of lectures, conversations, and workshops on the issue of “Exhibiting Architecture” alongside a diverse group of curators, art-institutions directors, critics, architects and artists.