Those who shape movement understand that they are simultaneously shaping space. Those who shape space consider how their choices anticipate movement. In fact, one could argue that choreographers and architects develop two sides of the same coin. By examining “the flip side” of the coin, each of us gains appreciation of “our side”: the collaboration we create across this divide reveals our common ground. The two exhibits currently mounted in the gallery— “Movement: Robert Siegel Architects” and “The Collaborative Legacy of Merce Cunningham”— provide examples of unique collaborations that both inspire, and are inspired by, movement. The artists, choreographers, composers and architects at work are joined by a shared focus on the experimental intertwining of space, time and movement. The results are often surprising—elegant and challenging visual pieces that emerge from a shared interpretation of movement.
Throughout his career, architect Robert Siegel has been developing projects all over the world that have reflected the energy, ritual and choreography of daily life. His buildings are inspired by “the kinetic energy of preschool children, the overlapping and multiple choreographed paths of museum visitors, and the high speed secure processing of vehicles at the threshold to the United States.”
Upon reflecting on the legacy of choreographer Merce Cunningham, curator Beth Weinstein notes, “for over 50 years, choreographer Merce Cunningham collaborated with notable artists, composers and designers to create a rich and unique body of work ‘in space and time’.” Seven of the works documented in “The Collaborative Legacy” are those by Cunningham and his collaborators spanning from the early years of his company to his last work.
As a complement and counterpoint to Cunningham’s work are collaborations by subsequent generations of choreographers working with architects including Frank Gehry, Todd Williams and Billie Tsien, and Jaafar Chalabi. Weinstein notes that they reveal “just the tip of the iceberg of this architectural ’type’.”
As a collection, these works expose the diverse approaches to “content” and methods of collaborating “in space and time.” They offer a wide range of examples that celebrate the collaborative nature of creating projects that provide “models for different disciplines coming together on a single project.”
Kibel Gallery Chair
The School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at the University of Maryland is home to four academic disciplines: architecture, urban planning, historic preservation and real estate development. Committed to educating its students and community about the importance of sustainability and smart growth, the School practices an interdisciplinary approach to education, research, creative work, and community and professional service. For more information, please e-mail us or call 301.405.8000.
School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation | Collaborative Education for a Sustainable Future