IDEA Office: Thinking the Future of Auschwitz

Exhibition Discussion & Opening Reception: Friday, October 24, 7pm
Russell Thomsen and SCI-Arc Director Eric Owen Moss discuss the exhibition

Thinking the Future of Auschwitz is an architectural proposal for the future of the Nazi concentration camps in Poland. While the original concentration camp and Polish State Museum at Auschwitz maintain their status as a narrated, didactic experience, this proposal transforms the extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau into a Tel Olam. Originally cited in Deuteronomy, a Tel Olam marks a place of unspeakable evil, blotting out and rendering it inaccessible. Translated as a perpetual heap—in contemporary terms, a machinic field—it produces a traumatic figure, steadfastly delimiting a perimeter. Proper to its unutterable status, Birkenau becomes perpetually indeterminate, generating a probing, hermeneutic experience without immediate answers, withholding solace and defying convenient philosophical closure. While the project is unique to Auschwitz, it tests architecture’s own particular agency in the twenty-first century and contributes significantly to an expanded discourse on the conventions of catastrophe.

Event Details:


  • When: 

    Friday, October 24, 2014
    07:00 pm

  • Where: 

    SCI-Arc
    960 E. 3rd Street
    Los Angeles, California

  • More information: 

    Event website.

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