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, discussions and walks. It is structured according to a critical analysis of the different media of architecture exhibitions – eg. models, drawings, photography to oral histories, performances, and installations.

The AA Visiting School Zurich invites students and practitioners to re-imagine architecture exhibitions, its media, methods, and agents. It draws on the rich academic and cultural landscape of Zurich, fostering exchange with experts from museums and institutions such as Kunsthalle Zurich, the ETH and gta Exhibitions as well as artist-run space Longtang among others.

The workshop “Exhibiting Architecture” unpacks various media, ranging from models, drawings, photography to oral histories, performances, and installations moving beyond an object-focused discourse. Each day of the workshop is devoted to one specific medium and the different curatorial methods deployed. This is explored in depth by the participants in reading sessions and group discussions. Invited agents – curators, theorists, artists and architects – give lectures, engage the participants in conversations, guide them through exhibitions and organize studio visits.

The AA Visiting School Zurich provides a unique learning situation. It gives the chance to collaborate on the curation of an extensive online archive that unfolds multifaceted perspectives on the media, methods, and agents of architecture exhibitions. Interviews, critical commentaries, essays or audio and video recordings will be produced, which are generated by the exchange between the invited agents and participants.