press release

Striving to adapt the progressive ideas of the pre-war modern movement to the specific human needs of post-war reconstruction, Alison and Peter Smithson were among the most influential and controversial architects of the latter half of the twentieth century. The exhibition was organized by Dirk van den Heuvel and Max Risselada of the Faculty of Architecture at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), who were granted full access to the archives of the Smithsons for a number of years to conduct their research. Alison (1928-1993) and Peter (1923-2003) Smithson were at the heart of the debate about the future course of modern architecture. They were among the younger members of CIAM and were founding members of Team 10. Their polemics and designs - in which they focused on the burgeoning consumer society and the role of urban planning - laid the foundations for New Brutalism and the Pop Art movement of the 1960s. An important theme for the Smithsons was the dwelling. The new concepts of "place" and "territory" were a counterbalance to Le Corbusier's "machine for living." To the Smithsons, a house was a special place which had to meet the ordinary requirements of everyday life while remaining in harmony with its surroundings. This exhibition shows the evolution in the Smithsons' approach to the "art of inhabitation." It extensively documents almost all their designs for individual dwellings, especially their optimistic House of the Future of 1955-1956, and the series of alterations and additions to the fairy-tale Hexenhaus (Witch House) in Germany from the mid-1980s on. The exhibition was previously shown at the Design Museum in London. The exhibition has been redesigned for Witte de With and supplemented with a section in which the work of the Smithsons is set alongside work by other famous architect duos: Charles and Ray Eames, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand, Jean Prouvé and Charlotte Perriand, and Gerrit Rietveld and Truus Schröder. Symposium On 14 May there will be a debate about the work of Alison and Peter Smithson in Witte de With. The keynote speakers at the symposium are Beatriz Colomina, Dirk van den Heuvel, Ben Highmore, and Louisa Hutton. Roemer van Toorn will chair the proceedings.

14.-15. 05. 2004 Symposium on the Smithsons TeilnehmerInnen: Beatriz Colomina, Louisa Hutton, Ben Highmore, u.a. Moderation: Roemer van Toorn

Alison & Peter Smithson - From the House of the Future to a house of today
Kuratoren: Max Risselada, Dirk van den Heuvel

Design Museum, London (December 2003); Witte de With; Lighthouse, Glasgow; Hatton Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne