Organized by Stephanie Lin, Dean of The School of Architecture
Despite its persistent association with some of the most significant works for over a century, the word “organic” was never consistently defined by those who employed the term in architecture, including Frank Lloyd Wright himself. This group exhibition, organized by The School of Architecture founded by Wright in 1932, does not ascribe to any singular definition of the term, but rather expands on the multitude of its interpretations through the lens of process in design.
What is organic for the architects and designers of today? The multifaceted and historical use of the term organic reveals its opportunities, issues, and problems. Can we find renewed value in organic thought given our transforming relationships to and narratives around “nature”, environments, histories, societies, technologies, styles, and materials? Where can the organic be positioned within their embedded processes of production, preservation, and perception? Which assumed meanings should be challenged or left behind, and where can we locate new opportunities and relevance?
In December 2021, TSOA invited participants to reflect on these questions through an object that integrates elements of today’s changing conditions: of environments, societies, and built forms. Each carefully-considered work captures a dynamic set of processes that acknowledge environmental pressures, social engagements, material behaviors, or compositional structures that can inform both expanded meaning and new utility for this highly-debated concept.
The exhibition areas follow an existing rock face as the display surface for the collected objects and span the interior and exterior rooms of the Crafts III building at Arcosanti. Arising at a pivotal moment in the school’s transformation, the show celebrates the broad range of voices, issues, and contexts that have renewed potential to shape organic thought within its own continual process of re-evaluation. (April 16, 2022)