Past exhibition

What makes architecture more than just building? This riddle is as old as architecture itself. While the entire history of the discipline is dedicated to debating the answer, there is one common refrain: architecture effects. It doesn’t just affect; it brings about something new. This is always true in theory, but rare in practice. All architecture promises effects, but a building that actually produces them inflects history itself.

This happened with the opening of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in 1997. The transformation of the city by global visitors, as well as the redefined role of the museum as an icon of cultural and social change, steered what came to be known as the “Bilbao Effect.” Pioneering in its use of digital technology for design, construction, and image circulation, Frank Gehry’s building set a new standard for the effects of architecture with the very tools that would soon transform life itself.

Architecture Effects is an exhibition of contemporary architecture, art, and storytelling that responds to the everyday magic we have come to expect two decades later. The show traces the effects now pervading contemporary life, from those of the logistical and material substrates of our world to identity, consciousness, and ritual.

Architecture Effects includes three connected territories: Airlock, Garden, and Bubble, the latter being a digital dimension available to visitors as a free app. The exhibition experience is designed for a constant back-and-forth between the material and the virtual, the ancient and the futuristic, allowing visitors to feel hyper-connected not only in space and time but also in body and spirit. It provides an environment for thinking about and also performing along with the works on view.


A Tent without a Signal, 2018
Fabric and metal structure
Dimensiones variables
Courtesy MOS Architects, New York with the technological collaboration of Stoll

The exhibition

Did you know that...?


Frank O. Gehry (1929) concibió el edificio del Museo Guggenheim Bilbao utilizando CATIA, un software originario de la industria aeroespacial que ningún arquitecto había usado antes. El revestimiento de titanio es otra técnica constructiva poco convencional de mediados de los años noventa que fue utilizada por primera vez por Gehry en este edificio, recubierto por cerca de 33.000 placas de este material.
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Nina Canell (b. 1979) connects material objects with immaterial forces, such as light, gravity, or the atmosphere, so that the initial object is transformed. The key lies in the interaction of the parts, as in her Shedding Sheaths series. Her works are often made of cheap or discarded elements like electric wires, fluorescent lights, nails, chewing gum, strings, wood, or optical fiber found by the sea.
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Architect Frida Escobedo (b. 1979) combines craftsmanship and technology by using traditional materials in an innovative way. Each year, the Serpentine Gallery in London chooses an outstanding architect to design a temporary pavilion. The chosen architect in 2018 was Escobedo, whose project used concrete roof tiles as the chief material.
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Mikel Eskauriaza (b. 1969) is a photographer with a passion for the transformations experienced by the city of Bilbao and its surroundings in recent decades. Key themes in his work include archive and memory, local history, and the psychology of landscape, principally urban. In 2002, he won the international competition for the Cities project, whose goal was to enrich the contemporary photographic memory of the three Basque capitals.
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Didier Faustino (b. 1968) analyzes the relationship between body and space. Apart from architecture, his experimental practice also includes installation and furniture. Faustino’s architecture firm, the Bureau des Mésarchitectures, is located in Paris. Humor and critique are also part of his working philosophy.
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Oliver Laric (b. 1981) uses animation and 3D technology to create videos and sculptures that reinterpret classic works from the history of art. Laric’s provocative works, full of irony and humor, leave open the debate over originality and the critique of ownership.
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Lynn Hershman Leeson (b. 1941), one of the most influential media artists today, was the first artist to use the videodisc (the forerunner of DVD) and touchscreens in an artwork. The artist centers her practice on the relationships between society and technology and identity and digital mediums. Her aim is to expand traditional art to new realities like robotics.
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Architects based in New York, the brothers Christopher and Dominic Leong work in multiple disciplines with the aim of generating spaces and objects that will improve social, cultural, and worker interaction. One of their most important exhibition projects was their design for a workspace presented at the U.S. Pavilion, OfficeUS, in the 14th Venice Architecture Biennial (2014).
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Founded in Barcelona by María Charneco, Alfredo Lérida, Guillermo López, and Anna Puigjaner, MAIO is an architecture firm with a non-hierarchical working structure. Its members develop their own theories and then pool them together with graphic artists, landscapists, or interior designers. MAIO is also renowned for its work in furniture and exhibition design, and for its forays into the publishing field, since it collaborates with the magazine Cuadernos de arquitectura y urbanismo, among other publications.
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Founded in 2003 by Michael Meredith and Hilary Sample, and based in New York, MOS is at the forefront of innovation. This applies not only to its projects but also to the management of interdisciplinary teams with a strong experimental drive. Designed in 2005, the “Floating House” on Lake Huron in Canada is one of their most acclaimed works. This prototype of sustainable architecture makes a building float by constructing its base on pontoons.
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Nemesis is a consultancy and think tank founded in 2017 by Emily Segal (b. 1988) and Martti Kalliala (b. 1980) that works out of Berlin, Helsinki, and New York. It produces its own multidisciplinary research on questions related to fashion, urbanism, technology, design, and language.
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Sutela’s works feature words, computer-generated aural and visual stimuli, and living organisms. Born in 1983, Sutela is interested in experimenting with new technologies and artificial intelligence. In collaboration with engineer Damien Henry (Google Arts) and artist Memo Akten, she has taken part in Somerset House Studios + Google Arts & Culture, n-Dimensions, in London. That residency was the origin of the piece you see in the exhibition.
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