One shouldn’t start a review about an exhibition with the description of the museum. But in this case, it is perhaps the most interesting thing one can say about it. The Tchoban Foundation stands like an Egyptian tomb in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg district. The facade is characterized by a sculptural design in concrete with enlarged fragments of architectural sketches in relief. It stands out pleasantly and gracefully from the surroundings. Even inside the museum, the design elements of the facade recur.
Unfortunately, the facade stands out more than the exhibition. In two rooms, “ArchiVision. 10th Anniversary of the Museum for Architectural Drawing” is on display. Utopian, realistic and technical architectural drawings guide the visitor through drawings from the last four centuries. To structure the exhibition, they have been divided into different parts: the initial sketch, towers of imagination, visionary city and living worlds, constructive utopias, and world theater. The first part shows the initial thoughts of an architect, and his or her handwriting: the sketch. An abrupt transition, which probably resulted from the collection, follows in the second part, which deals with the theme of “towers.” The third stop portrays the visionary city and living worlds that can be derived from the previous claim of a project-specific reality. This leads to the most exciting, the fourth theme, that a drawing can bequeath: constructive utopias. The last part jumps into another realm of utopias and shows drawings that deal with the “world theater,” which are to let the observer dive into illusory worlds where they will find their way into abstraction.
The collection includes drawings by big names like Aldo Rossi or Zaha Hadid. Divided into five categories, matted and protected by the same black frames, they adorn the walls of the almost windowless building. But the smooth hanging of the works in the white room makes the images all merge in the memory rather than remain memorable. Something plastic is missing in this world of 2D drawings. Difficult, of course, but desirable. On the way out I look at the etched facade again and think: that’s what I was missing.
ArchiVision. 10th Anniversary of the Museum for Architectural Drawing
Tchoban Foundation. Museum for Architectural Drawing, Berlin
curated by Eva-Maria Barkhofen