design IMAGING / IMAGININGin the Terrain of Water


This exhibition brings together drawings, prints, sketch books, models, and other works from the collections of the Architectural Archives of the University of Pennsylvania, as well as from Penn Design faculty. These works have, in various ways, challenged how we look at place, heralding in many instances new modes of visualization that have had significant impact on the field of design.

Educators at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design have historically been at the forefront of imagining the terrain of design. There is a line that weaves through this history, which is evident in some of the terms used to describe this work and its subject matter –  contemplation, exploration, communication, analysis, intervention, distortion, clarification, attention, realization, visualization, transition –  nature, movement, pattern, memory, process, change, notation, time. Seeing this work together, from Paul Philippe Cret, whose Beaux-Arts vision shaped the school and the city, through his student Louis Kahn, and on to today's faculty, we can see the signs of a struggle. This is not a grim battle, but a charged and playful discourse. These practitioners are engaged with the world, contemplating it seriously, critically, but also lightly – trusting their eyes and hands as much as their minds, to map unseen directions.

Collectively, these works track a particular Philadelphia history.  Individually, these works might still hold the promise of stimulating new vocabularies of place, history and ecology – informing other disciplines even as they draw from a larger field of design. We selected these works with an eye for images that provoke how we visualize and relate to water, not only in grounded projects and places, but also in our processes, thinking, and perceptions. Can these images and ways of working continue to be relevant in our pursuit of a watery imagination? Do new works in this exhibition, some still in progress, chart other significant trajectories of imaging and imagining in the terrain of water?

We are grateful to the colleagues who have contributed their understanding and insights, in the form of essays written expressly for this exhibit.

Paul Phillipe Cret, Jacques Gréber / David Brownlee  ·  Louis I. Kahn / Kazi K. Ashraf  ·  Narendra Juneja, Ian L. McHarg / Anne Whiston Spirn  ·  Lawrence Halprin / Alison Hirsch  ·  Anne Whiston Spirn / Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris  ·  James Corner and Alex S. MacLean / Charles Waldheim  ·  Anuradha Mathur and Dilip da Cunha / Akiko Ono and Adam Greenspan  ·  Laurie D. Olin / Richard Newton   ·   Jenny Sabin / Annette Fierro   ·   Karen M'Closkey and Keith VanDerSys /  David Salomon  ·  Valerio Morabito / Annalisa Metta

Conceived and curated by Anuradha Mathur in collaboration with_

Yadiel Rivera Diaz, William Whitaker & Catherine Bonier

Exhibition Design_Yadiel Rivera Diaz & DIE Creative

Exhibition Coordinator_Jessica Ball

Administrative Coordinator_Diane Pringle