Meredith Gaglio a part of MoMA Exhibition Emerging Ecologies

Meredith GaglioMeredith Gaglio, assistant professor of architecture, collaborated on the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) exhibition Emerging Ecologies: Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalism, which is dedicated to both realized and unrealized projects that address ecological and environmental concerns by architects who practiced in the United States from the 1930s through the 1990s.

On view from September 17, 2023, through January 20, 2024, in the Museum’s Third Floor North Galleries, Emerging Ecologies will feature over 150 works that reconstruct how the rise of the environmental movement in the US informed architectural practice and thought. Models, photographs, diagrams, and sketches will be placed in context with archival materials such as posters, flyers, and articles to showcase innovative, fantastical, dystopian, and daring architectural projects that sought to navigate the fraught relationship between the built and natural environment. The exhibition celebrates the path-breaking environmentally conscious work of architects like Emilio Ambasz, Charles and Ray Eames, and Frank Lloyd Wright, while shining a light on many less familiar, historically significant practices like The New Alchemy Institute, Glen Small, and Mária Telkes.

“By highlighting projects that both foreshadowed and anticipated the ecological effects of overpopulation, the depletion of natural resources, and rampant industrial pollution, the exhibition looks to the past to suggest solutions for the future,” according to MoMa organizers.

Seven newly commissioned audio recordings that draw inspiration from these little-known projects will feature contemporary practitioners—Gaglio, Mae-ling Lokko, Jeanne Gang, Charlotte Malterre-Barthes, Amy Chester, Carolyn Dry, and Emilio Ambasz—sharing their thoughts on what contemporary architects can do to mitigate against climate change.

Gaglio was a historical consultant for the show and for the exhibition catalog, as well as lending her voice for the audio collage of architects and scholars who contributed to the exhibit. She wrote a piece in the “Counter Ecologies” issue of Art Papers in relation to the exhibition.

“I am one of the voices you’d hear in the exhibit,” she said. “In the audio tour, I discuss the history of the New Alchemy Institute and its relevance to contemporary architecture. I also speak to the importance of understanding the rich history of ecological architecture in an ‘audio collage’ with other experts in the field.”

Gaglio is a historian of modern and contemporary architectural technology, urbanism, and the environment, with previous experience in professional practice. Her research interests include the development and implementation of sustainable community planning and architectural strategies in the United States from the late-1960s through the early-1980s. Read more.

She is also speaking at The Third Ecology conference sponsored by MoMA and the European Architectural History Network (EAHN) in Iceland in October 2023.

Emerging Ecologies: Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalism is organized by Carson Chan, Director, the Emilio Ambasz Institute for the Joint Study of the Built and Natural Environment, and Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, with Matthew Wagstaffe, Ambasz Institute Research Assistant.

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