On View> Middle Eastern Ambitions at the Center for Architecture

East
Friday, March 16, 2012
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A model of a Frank Lloyd Wright plan for Baghdad. (AN/Stoelker)

A model of a Frank Lloyd Wright plan for an opera house in Baghdad. (AN/Stoelker)

City of Mirages: Baghdad, 1952–1982
Through May 5

Change: Baghdad, 2000–Present
Through June 23

Center for Architecture
536 LaGuardia Place

Two complimentary exhibits at the Center for Architecture capture an aspirational past and equally ambitious present in the Middle East. City of Mirages: Baghdad, 1952–1982 shows a flourishing cosmopolitan city that—whatever the regime—commissioned an impressive array of international design talent for much of the last century resulting in an architecture combing modernist ideas with interpretations of the local climate and culture. Through models and drawings, including Walter Gropius and Hisham A. Munir’s campus building (top) at the University of Baghdad, rather than photographs in order to emphasize the optimistic intentions of the period, City of Miracles sheds light on a significant but rarely seen corner of global modernism. CHANGE: Architecture and Engineering in the Middle East, 2000–Present surveys 123 contemporary works from 20 countries in the wider Middle East, including Asymptote and Dewan Architects’ Yas Marina Hotel in Abu Dhabi (above), gathered through an open call for submissions. The impact of rapid growth and instant globalization is evident through supertalls, man-made islands as well as UNESCO monument sites under siege.

Exhibition curator Pedro Azara in front of a model of Baghdad.

Exhibition curator Pedro Azara in front of a model of Baghdad.

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