Alternative Histories

A new exhibition curated by Jantje Engels and Marius Grootveld, in collaboration with Drawing Matter and the Architecture Foundation

Acknowledging that architecture is a corpus of inherited ideas, Alternative Histories invited more than 80 contemporary practices in the UK and Europe to imagine an exchange with architects from the past.

Each office was assigned a different drawing from the collection of Drawing Matter – from the frontispiece of the abbé Laugier’s 1753 Essai sur l’architecture, a plan of the Villa Snellman, to studies for a theatre by Carlo Scarpa. The architects were then tasked with making a model that not only responded to what they saw, but envisioned an alternative future for the original drawing while adhering to the constraints of the project: although comprising different materials and scales, the models had to be transportable, and their footprints had to fit within the surface area of the historic drawings. Recently a large, white van crisscrossed the UK and the Continent to collect these enigmatic objects to be exhibited in London.

Seen together, the models reveal a spectrum of interpretations of historical reference, insights into design methodology and the intertwined processes of thinking and representation. At once an exhibition of new architecture in Europe and an enquiry into how it is now being made, Alternative Histories presents a shared past and present that is kaleidoscopic and undefinable, where there is always room for more and different points of reference, and expansion.

Participating offices

31/44 Architects
AMUNT Martenson
Bardakhanova Champkins 
BeL - Sozietät für Architektur
Bernd Schmutz Architekten
Bovenbouw Architectuur
Carmody Groarke
Caruso St. John & Siw Thomas
Christ & Gantenbein
Clancy Moore Architects
Conen Sigl Architekten
Craig Hamilton Architects
David Chipperfield Architects
David Kohn Architects
De Smet Vermeulen
Descloux Engelschall
Dierendonckblancke Architecten
Doorzon Interieurarchitecten
Dow Jones
Dyvik Kahlen Architects
Eagles of Architecture
East Architecture
Edelaar Mosayebi Inderbitzin Architekten
Fala atelier
Flores i Prats Architects
Florian Beigel Architects
General Architecture
Gustav Appell Arkitektkontor
Haerynck Vanmeirhaeghe Architecten
Hans van der Heijden
Happel Cornelisse Verhoeven
Hayatsu Architects
Hild und K Architekten
Hugh Strange Architects
Johan Celsing
Johansen Skovsted Arkitekter
Klara Bindl & Prof. Alexander Lehnerer
Knakiewicz & Fickert
Lilith Ronner van Hooijdonk
Loelinger Strub
Lütjens Padmanabhan
Marie-José Van Hee
Max Otto Zitzelsberger
Mikael Bergquist
Muf Architecture/Art
Multerer Architekten
Murmuur Architecten
Nikolaus Bienefeld
NoA architecten
Noreile Breen
Oda Pälmke
Office Winhov
Olivier Goethals
Ono architectuur
de Paor
Point Supreme
Robbrecht en Daem
Roz Barr Architects
Rural Urban Framework
Ryan W. Kennihan Architects
Sam Jacob Studio
Schneider Türtscher
Sergison Bates Architects
Smith & Taylor Architects
Stephen Taylor Architects
Studio Thys Vermeulen
Svizzera 240
Taka Architects
Tomas Dirrix
Tony Fretton Architects
Veldwerk Architecten
Wim Goes Architectuur
Witherford Watson Mann

More information

Click here to see the models and drawings as they emerge.