Nine Shades of Gray

The S AM immerses itself in gray and invites visitors to engage with concrete, and without reservation. The only colorful accent provided are the yellow concrete formwork walls, which are supported by universal columns and pave the way into an artificial adit entrance. The question “What is concrete?” runs through the entire exhibition. Analytical and factual, the answer is presented in several small yet equal spaces. CONCRETE IS composite, immaterial, practice, second nature, rock, monolithic, fluid, underground…

Various media from film, drawings and models open a broad and effective overview. In a sense, the rooms honor the Swiss concrete arts, lovingly referred to by some as the famous Swiss concrete bunkers. But what is missing? The future! Is concrete the future or will it remain as gray as the walls of the individual rooms? Unfortunately, the material does not usually win a sustainability award, but could it? A supporting program completes these open questions that the exhibition does not answer.

Gray is also the card that visitors can fill out and explain what concrete is for them. But I can’t think of something new, and the card looks much prettier without my answer, more béton brut, so I leave it empty. Calm and matter of fact, this exhibition leaves the impression that one almost wishes that the next exhibitions will be called: WOOD, STEEL or PLASTER. 




SAM Schweizerisches Architekturmuseum, Basel