„Architects At Play“ exhibition at Garagem Sul CCB Lisbon

„Architects at Play“ is an exhibition delving into play and the imagination, built experiments, and mythological narratives. The exhibition is essentially centered on the idea of ‘Creating Worlds.’ It attempts to bring together two characters: the architect and the child.

James Gowan, Cross-section through house with mechanical services, 1977, Housing project at East Hanningfield, England © Drawing Matter Collection

Garagem Sul at Centro Cultural de Belém—the Lisbon gallery dedicated to architecture—inaugurated a Portuguese iteration of „At Play“ on September 28, 2021. Presented initially at CIVA in Brussels, the exhibition is adapted to Garagem Sul and expanded with new works.

Practical info

„Architects At Play“
September 28, 2021 – January 30, 2022
Garagem Sul – Centro Cultural de Belém
1449-003 Lisbon

Children’s games have always been a breeding ground for the invention of ‘Worlds’. Likewise, architects also imagine new ‘Worlds’. These worlds and the mechanisms of invention they rely upon constitute the core of the exhibition, which touches on themes as varied as childhood and education, urban planning, public space, history, architecture, art, and creativity—in order to trace the history of imaginary as well as imagined ‘Worlds’. Each one of us is a playful architect. From the solitary hut to the cosmopolitan ark, we build worlds we inhabit or co-inhabit.

Pierre Antoine, Brazilian playgrounds, 2017–2019 © Pierre Antoine
André Waterkeyn, André & Jean Polak. The Atomium in Brussels, Belgium, ca 1958 Elisabeth Taylor with the model exhibited at Expo 58 © CIVA Collections, Brussels

The world of play is located in the mysterious interval that connects our subjectivities to external reality. It sometimes happens that architectures crystallize in this ephemeral space, for a while becoming the stage of our lives, the horizon of our habits. This power of imagination is at the heart of the curatorial system in which childhood playgrounds and those of architects, artists, and designers meet.

„At Play“, exhibition view at Garagem Sul, Centro Cultural de Belém, 2021
„At Play“, exhibition view at Garagem Sul, Centro Cultural de Belém, 2021

A journey through four playful worlds—labyrinths, symbolic toys, construction games and strategy games—showcases many ways of creating worlds.

Various works are also presented independently, without any particular
contextualization, placing us in a situation of discovery and wonder.

The exhibition presents works from various authors, combining materials from the collections of CIVA in Brussels, Drawing Matter in Somerset, Fundação Marques da Silva in Porto, and private collections. It brings together architects such as Aldo Rossi and Raul Hestnes Ferreira, Anne Van Loo and James Gowan, Louis Herman De Koninck and Cedric Price, Buckminster Fuller, and Fernando Lanhas, Akarova and Renaat Braem. The exhibition display, designed by Ivo Poças Martins, knits together multiple objects, revealing latent meanings and playful readings of the architect’s works.

„At Play“, exhibition view at Garagem Sul, Centro Cultural de Belém, 2021
„At Play“, exhibition view at Garagem Sul, Centro Cultural de Belém, 2021