Photo exhibition Am I an Ornament?


What is an ornament? Is it a beautification, a conceptual part of a building, or a technical component of construction? Is the ribbing in the facade of the ARCAM building an ornament? Can an entire building be an ornament, like the BOTEL letters at the NDSM shipyard?

Due to tightened corona measures, ARCAM and this exhibition will unfortunately be closed as of 5 November and we will start the build up of the new exhibition EndLESS Amsterdam. We hope to reopen on Saturday 21 November 2020!

The title of this exhibition refers to the famous pictogram ‘I am a Monument’ by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, from their book Learning from Las Vegas (1977). With this study, they wanted to place ordinary structures on the same level as buildings that were erected according to the laws of the prevailing Modernism of the time. Subsequently, with Postmodernism, the ornament was admittedly (once again) given plenty of sway, but seldom with the same manifold functionality it had previously held.

In this exhibition, ARCAM examines the significance of the ornament, both now and in the future. Due to material shortages, sustainability requirements, and new techniques, the ornament is undergoing changes in its material and form. Together with designers, we investigate how ornaments are used to tell stories, depict cultures, fulfil technical functions, and make buildings sustainable.

In Am I an Ornament? and on the occasion of the Hildo Krop anniversary, ARCAM shows the return of ornament in the architecture of Amsterdam, with new shapes, materials, and functions. Fifteen recent projects demonstrate the wide range of functions an ornament can fulfil. In each of these cases, it is the ornament which allows a building to speak and seek a connection with the observer, as a full-fledged part of the architecture.

Corona measures:
The safety of our visitors and employees is paramount. We apply the rules of the so-called six-feet society. Visitors can reserve a free ticket, within a specific time slot, via Evenbrite, which regulates the number of visitors present in the gallery at the same time. With a tailor-made protocol, including hygiene measures, we aim for a safe and responsible reopening.


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