The Auto Drives Architecture

News - 06 April 2022 - Communication BK

How will the future car transform the architecture associated with twentieth–century highways and interchanges, from gas stations and car washes to parking garages and motels? What new types of architecture will emerge alongside the future car in the second half of the twenty-first century? How will the private space of the car continue to merge with the public realm?

The Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment is pleased to announce its contribution, entitled The Auto Drives Architecture, to the exhibition “Motion. Autos, Art, Architecture," curated by the Norman Foster Foundation and held at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao from April 8 to September 18, 2022.

The emergence of the car saved the nineteenth-century metropolis from the hygienic problems caused by horse carriages, giving new radical forms of accessibility and spatial opportunities for the emerging private citizen. It drove twentieth-century urbanization from controlled territorial expansion to unintended sprawl. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, the optimism once associated with the car became an argument against it. The car became known as a polluter of noise and toxics, the underminer of densification and efficient land use, and its related spaces and infrastructures developed into the dreaded scenery for daily traffic jams and other inconveniences. Yet, the recent pandemic makes clear that the revival of the car is among us; it is still the ultimate private space. Once again, it represents a space of emancipation, giving us access to the inaccessible while extending the private realm into the public realm.

Organized and designed by the Berlage, the contribution consists of an installation—sized according to the footprint of a typical parking spot and the volume of a car—featuring an animated road trip to twelve different buildings across the Netherlands. Traveling from an underground parking garage, filling station, drive-in pick-up point, drive-thru shopping mall, motel, and ridesharing hub, to a drive-in funeral home, drive-in cinema, battery replacement center, autocamp, car wash, and showroom, the animation tells the story of how the future car—a Mini, the exemplar of car designed for efficiency in the face of environmental crisis—could offer design opportunities for our buildings, cities, infrastructures, and territories.

More information

The Auto Drives Architecture research project consisted of a multiformat program of expert symposiums and lectures, a design master class, a series of documentary films, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao installation, and the publication entitled Architecture by Auto. 

Research project team: Juan Benavides, Salomon Frausto, Dick van Gameren and Kees Kaan

Exhibition "Motion. Autos, Art, Architecture" Guggenheim Bilbao

More information about The Berlage

Header image: The Auto Drives Architecture installation, 2022. Photography by Johannes Schwartz.