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OMA has designed an exhibition that explores the potential of scaffolding as a device for display. The show is on view until January 18, 2018, at New York’s center for architecture, a fitting location given the amount of scaffolding that populates the city. The display examines the history and applications of the ubiquitous technology and its potential to provide unorthodox forms of habitation and access. In the context of the exhibition, it also demonstrates how the system lends itself to installations, positioning it as a tool for both radical architecture and civic engagement.

Presented across the three levels, the exhibition’s design was led by Shohei Shigematsu, director of OMA New York, in collaboration with curator Greg Barton, design studio MTWTF, and the Center for Architecture. The display seeks to ‘disrupt’ the existing space by instilling new perspectives of scaffolding and its transformative potential. ‘I am thrilled that the center for architecture will be temporarily ‘under construction’,’ says Shohei Shigematsu.

‘It is exciting to experiment with the flexibility of scaffolding systems as an exhibition environment.’ The configuration of the exhibition’s scaffolding is informed by both practical and unconventional uses of the system seen in and around New York City. A matrix of scaffolding inserted into the building’s atrium vertically connects the venue’s disparate gallery spaces, while an infill of scaffolding in the Hines Gallery visually extends the exhibition beyond gallery walls and onto the passing street.

Within the atrium, a system of periscopes, which climb from below ground, through the mezzanine, to the storefront window, offer views of the exhibition — otherwise not visible from the street. As a result, the periscopes allow passersby to inspect the exhibition from outside the gallery as well as after hours. In addition to scaffolding, which runs until January 18, 2018, OMA New York is also designing the next Dior retrospective at Denver Art Museum.

Design anad photography: OMA

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