Shifting Methodologies

Shifting Methodologies

The technological revolution has inspired developments across all creative disciplines. SUPERSTRUCTURES: The New Architecture 1960-1990 establishes a narrative exploring these unfolding relationships in the post-war era. In celebration of its 40th anniversary, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich, investigates the innovations made in this period, charting the bold move towards lightweight materials, innovative techniques and original engineering solutions. Inspired by the developments of the 19th century, a new generation of ground-breaking practitioners produced a globally influential way of thinking, reshaping the spaces within which societies live, work and travel.

Taking place within Norman Foster’s (b. 1935) Sainsbury Centre, a construction which epitomises “High-Tech”, the show will explore the history of the gallery by debuting a three-metre-long model. Adapting to suit the building’s shifting functions, the museum features an extendable steel structure surrounded by glass and clip-on panels, creating the scope for an ever-changing environment that matches the pace of contemporary life. Now ubiquitous, Foster’s methodology is applied to other projects of all types and scales including factories, offices, transport hubs and homes, and is presented alongside the work of seminal figures such as Buckminster Fuller, Jean Prouvé, Charles and Ray Eames and Cedric Price. By bringing together drawings, photographs, films, models, furniture and product designs from these practitioners, this exhibition draws a portrait of the commonality of their ideas.

Unearthing the ways in which industrial processes from other disciplines, including the automotive, nautical, aerospace and information businesses, interlace to create reciprocal design relationships, SUPERSTRUCTURES takes a unique interdisciplinary approach to the subject. Highlighting how these experimental ideas – rooted in the utopian ideas of modernism – now pervade the contemporary experience, the display foregrounds the enduring and transmutable nature of the late 20th century’s new architectural language, providing examples through models of iconic buildings including Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano’s Pompidou Centre, Nicholas Grimshaw’s Waterloo International Rail Station and Fosters’ Willis Faber Dumas Office.

From 24 March. Find out more:

1. Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Crescent Wing. Courtesy of Foster and Partners.