This panel focuses on the history of collaborations between artists and SOM engineers. A diverse panel of scholars, engineers, artists, and architects will discuss how these interdisciplinary collaborations can inform new ideas for art work and architectural projects. The discussion intends to reveal that engineers and artists alike practice a poetry of inquiry, experimentation, and ingenuity.

The panel will be moderated by Caitlin Mueller, Assistant Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology working at the interface of architecture and structural engineering. Panelists include renowned artists and SOM collaborators Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle and Janet Echelman, and William F. Baker, SOM Structural and Civil Engineering Partner, and Alessandro Beghini, SOM Structural Engineer.

About the Exhibition

For more than eight decades, SOM has explored the poetics of structure through continual examination and experimentation. The exhibition SOM: Engineering x [Art + Architecture] reveals the concepts and forms that stem from SOM’s integrated practice of engineering, art, and architecture. Through hand-drawn sketches, interactive sculpture, immersive video, and a lineup of more than 30 structural models at 1:500 scale, the exhibition gives insight into SOM’s practice, past and present, as it seeks to address physical and environmental challenges with concise and honestly expressed solutions.

The exhibition surveys SOM’s long tradition of collaboration with visual artists and showcases models, drawings, and ephemera from projects created by Pablo Picasso, James Turrell, Jaume Plensa, James Carpenter, Janet Echelman, and Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle. Presented with Mana Contemporary Chicago in partnership with the Chicago Architecture Biennial, SOM: Engineering x [Art + Architecture] explores the idea that engineers, architects, and artists alike practice a poetry of inquiry, experimentation, and ingenuity.

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