_Lebbeus Woods + Zaha Hadid

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FROM THE EXHIBIT: Born in Lansing, Michigan, Lebbeus Woods [1940-2012] dedicated his career to probing architecture’s potential to transform the individual and the collective. Woods had an enormous influence on the field of architecture over the past three decades, despite her few built structures to his name. Working deftly with pencil on paper and on intricate models with collaborators, he created complex worlds [at time abstract and at times explicit] that presents shifts, cycles, and transience within the built environment. Woods’s architecture is emblematic of a period of exploration and theory that emerged in the field in the 1980s. As someone attuned to the human condition, he was more concerned with architecture’s ability to inspire and change our collective understanding of what is possible than with the formal arguments of architectural practice. His prescient proposals offer new architectural typologies and anticipate the need for spaces of uncensored communication, particularly in the face of changing political landscapes and natural calamity. Some structures suggest a disparate alternative, while others acknowledge existing circumstances rather than erase them; they drift above, embed within, or occupy the underground. The architecture presented at the Broad Art Museum at MSU offers an original perspective on humanity’s ability to resist, respond to, and create in adverse conditions. He once said, “Maybe I can show what could happen if we lived by a different set of rules.”

_The exhibition marks the first presentation of an architect’s work at the Broad MSU. Zaha Hadid, the architect who designed the museum, was a longtime friend and colleague of Lebbeus Woods. Each architect contributed tremendously toward a burgeoning experimental architecture discourse, and Hadid has spoken publicly of Woods’s impact and influence on her practice.

images and original photos by Ana de Brea

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