A new catalogue for the exhibition ‘Alternative Histories’ is published as the show of architectural models transfers to Brussels


Having premiered in London during March and April, the exhibition ‘Alternative Histories’ organised by Drawing Matter, transfers to CIVA Brussels from 7 to 29 September 2019. Curators Jantje Engels and Marius Grootveld asked 85 contemporary architectural practices to make models responding to specific historic architectural drawings from the Drawing Matter collection, which ranges from the frontispiece of the abbé Laugier’s 1753 ‘Essai sur l’architecture’ to studies for a theatre by Carlo Scarpa.

Participants include Caruso St John, Tony Fretton Architects, Sergison Bates, Marie-José Van Hee Architecten, Lütjens Padmanabhan, Johan Celsing, Hans van der Heijden, David Kohn Architects, Clancy Moore and Christ & Gantenbein.

“Acknowledging that architecture is a corpus of inherited ideas, the exhibition began with a question”, says the curators. “Could a contemporary architect, with their own references, make a model that would respond to a drawing from the past?” The models are exhibited alongside the drawings that prompted them, and are also presented in a new catalogue, published to coincide with the Brussels exhibition.

Designed by Studio Mathias Clottu, the book is available in three different covers and includes an essay by Alternative Histories co-curator Marius Grootveld as well as the original drawings and two photographic responses by Thomas Adank and Guus Kaandorp.

Model by Roz Barr Architects, based on John Freeman’s design for an archway, Fawley Court, 1735 (ph: Thomas Adank)

Model by Traumnovelle, based on Michael Golf and Justina Karakiewicz’s ‘passing view’, perspective sketch of Gateway to Mecca, 1979 (ph: Thomas Adank)

Model by Klara Bindl & Professor Lehnerer, based on Superstudio’s sketch of the Palazzo Pitti, Florence, 1969–70 (ph: Thomas Adank)

Model by Loeliger Strub Architektur, based on Emil Hoppe’s sketch of an unknown corner office building, c 1911 (ph: Thomas Adank)

‘Alternative Histories’ is at CIVA, Brussels, from 7-29 September 2019. Details here

The 204-page catalogue is priced £40 and can be ordered directly from Drawing Matter