Place and Displacement: Exhibiting Architecture

Thordis Arrhenius and Mari Lending


3480_Collecting_architectureArchitecture forms a seemingly immovable and durable presence, resistant to both display and displacement. However, buildings and building parts have, for centuries, provided material for the lively curatorial practice of disassembly and reassembly, collection and display. This tradition has received little scholarly attention yet forms a vital component of our cultural imagination, whether in the open-air museum’s simulated environment or in the on-going reassembly of architectural fragments within the city.

Place and Displacement: Exhibiting Architecture is funded by the Norwegian Research Council. It is a cross-disciplinary and international research project based at the Oslo Centre for Critical Architecture Studies at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. The project spans from 2011 to 2014. It involves two senior scholars, Thordis Arrhenius, project leader and Mari Lending as well as three full-time Ph.Ds: Tina Di Carlo, Natalie O’Donnell, and Lothar Diem. Guest scholars include  Wallis Miller, Professor, University of Kentucky and Jorge Otero-Pailos, Professor, Columbia University, New York, as well as Dr. Ola Storsletten, The Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) and Dr. Victor Plahte Tschudi, Norwegian Institute in Rome, Daglig nye casino fra 2018 i jakten på den Oslo University.

The project investigates various practices of displaying architecture in historical and contemporary contexts. Two closely interlinked themes organize the project: preservation as a form of curation and displacement and architectural collections (models, miniatures, engravings and spoils) and their economies of validation and display. Together, the project investigates the processes of displacement in relation to collection, preservation and exhibition practices. The aim is to identify and contextualize the forces and complexities of different modes and technologies of commemoration when architecture is displayed. Case studies from full-scale exhibitions of architecture in open-air museums; to the trade of architectural oeuvres; to the construction of imaginary architectural museums, scale models, mock-ups, specific exhibitions and the computer generated imaginary landscapes will organise the program.

Project network:

  • Barry Bergdoll, Museum of Modern Art/Columbia University, NY
  • Nina Berre, Department of Architecture at the National Museum in Oslo
  • Daniel Birnbaum, Moderna Museet, Stockholm
  • Ina Blom, Dep. of Philosophy, Classics, History of art and Ideas, Oslo University
  • Gro Bonesmo, Space Group, Oslo
  • Nikolaus Hirsch, Städelschule, Frankfurt
  • Jan Olav Jensen, Jensen & Skodvin, Oslo
  • Charlotte Klonk, Humboldt University, Berlin
  • Helena Mattsson, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm
  • Andrea Philips, Goldsmiths College, University of London
  • Hans Ruin, Södertörn University
  • Léa-Catherine Szacka, Centre Pompidou, Paris
  • Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, Snøhetta Oslo
  • Sven Olov Wallenstein, Södertörn University College, Stockholm


Originally posted May 18, 2012. Latest revision May 18, 2018.

© OCCAS 2012. All rights reserved.