Architects, like everyone else, will one day die—but their work will live on, allowing meditations not only on the loss of their own lives but on death as a whole. In upstate New York, the nonprofit arts group Art Omi is probing the intersection of design and mortality with EXIT Architecture: Speculations for the Hereafter, on display until March 3 at Art Omi’s Benenson Center in Ghent. As the planet’s population booms and more people die than ever before, space for the deceased has become an increasingly scarce resource. EXIT Architecture presents 15 speculative architecture projects that radically reorient spiritual, spatial, and ecological conversations around death. Art Omi solicited proposals from all over the world, and the resultant show is accordingly diverse. New York City–based entrants were numerous, including Michaela Metcalfe, director of design and construction excellence at the N.Y.C. Department of Design and Construction, Roderick Cruz, and Studio Ames. Visitors can peruse video, mixed-media installations, models, a life-sized coffin, drawings, and app-based immersive experiences. EXIT Architecture’s curators—Julia van den Hout, Kyle May, and Warren James—have also shaken things up by including work from an architect who has firsthand experience with death, the late Lebbeus Woods. Woods’s Einstein Tomb imagines a memorial to the famous physicist that’s been launched into deep space, traveling the cosmos until the heat death of the universe, all rendered in his trademark deconstructivist drawing style. The exhibition space itself was designed and fabricated by Brooklyn-based architect Kyle May. EXIT Architecture is the first curated exhibition of the Art Omi: Architecture program, which is also currently in the third year of its residency program.
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Art Omi: Architecture is accepting applications through Saturday, October 20, for its 2019 Architecture Residency in Ghent, New York. The program, which launched last year, gives 10 architects the chance to develop their personal work and receive feedback from expert critics during a two-week stay at their Hudson Valley campus. This exclusive residency program is completely free to attend and is open to architects from around the world who’ve been professionally active for at least the past six years since receiving a license or an M. Arch degree in the U.S. or the international equivalent. Applications will also be accepted from early- and mid-career architects in academia who are teaching architectural design. Directed by Manhattan-based architect Warren James, the Art Omi: Architecture program supports its residents as the develop their own projects exploring the intersection of architecture, art, and landscape. Art Omi’s expansive campus features The Fields, 60-acres of space dedicated to the build-out of large-scale installations, landscape interventions, pavilions, and more. The program was started at the nonprofit arts organization to help foster emerging talent in a solitary but beautiful working environment. “There was a void within the United States for an architecture residency,” said James in a press release. “Previously the only options were for architects to apply to artists' residencies. Once there, of course, they were outnumbered and often felt like visiting guests in a community of artists…At Art Omi the focus is on giving architects the time and the space to work on their own projects while on campus. We create a new community of international peers and this allows for new perspectives and insights into their work. Nurturing and untethering creativity is integral to advancing the practice of architecture today.” If selected, residents will have access to shared studio space, private accommodations, and chef-prepared meals throughout the program. Residents will also meet the guest architecture critic (past critics include Curbed’s Alexandra Lange and former AN editor Julie V. Iovine), who will lead a public presentation of the various projects at Art Omi’s Benenson Center during the program’s final weekend. Past residency alumni include Jennifer Newsom and Tom Carruthers of Dream the Combine, who won this year’s MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program. Jesús López, a 2018 alumnus, said his time at the program was essential to getting a fresh perspective on his work. “It’s necessary to take time off from the routine, and to create some breathing room away from the professional practice,” he said. “Being part of Art Omi: Architecture gave me the opportunity to work on that specific project, that one with no client, the one that I hadn’t found the chance to develop or even to start. Applicants must submit and describe the non-client-based project they’d like to focus on at Art Omi. To learn more about applying before the October 20 deadline, see here. The program runs from February 22 to March 10, 2019.