Rise Above

SOM’s Engineering + Art + Architecture exhibition opens at the MAK Center in L.A. this weekend

Architecture International West
SOM is bringing its acclaimed
SOM is bringing its acclaimed "Engineering Art Architecture" exhibition to the MAK Center in Los Angeles. (Danielle Campbell)

The widely-traveled exhibition titled Poetic Structure: Art + Engineering + Architecture showcasing the engineering and design legacy of Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM) will be on display at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles starting this weekend.

The sprawling exhibition will bring a large 12-foot-by-27-foot pavilion to the grounds of the Schindler House, presenting a doubly curved kinematic structure stiffened with wood panels and metal hinges is inspired by the mathematical relationships between force and motion. The hovering pavilion is suspended by aluminum trusses and is braced with steel wires, an arrangement that can yield variously-sized configurations for the traveling show. The pavilion will also house more than 30 structural models of SOM’s grandest works. The models—built at 1-to-500 scale—compare the various structural approaches taken for projects like the John Hancock Center in Chicago and the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai in an effort to demonstrate the similarities that exist between artistic and technical designs, and how SOM “embraces and integrates engineering into works of public art.”

The exhibition will also feature a mosaic collage of hand-drawn sketches from SOM’s leadership team showcasing the firm’s ever-evolving design process. Included too will be an art installation and digital projections presenting visuals and work from globally-acclaimed artists and architects who have partnered with SOM to design large-scale public installations, according to a press release for the exhibition. Works represented include Janet Echelman’s Dream Catcher, James Carpenter’s Hope Tower, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle’s Weatherfield, Jaume Plensa’s World Voices, and additional work by Pablo Picasso and Peter Zumthor.

The exhibition will be supplemented by public programs, including panel discussions and off-site educational events. Poetic Structure is scheduled to run through September 2, 2018.

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