80 401 The Art of Collecting Architecture


Passed foundation level courses (bachelor)

Course content

Architecture forms a seemingly immovable and durable presence, immutable to display and collecting. However, buildings and building parts have for centuries constituted material for a lively curatorial practice, where buildings are disassembled and reassembled, collected and displayed. From the collecting practices of the renaissance, through the establishment of modern public museums, once site-specific art forms such as sculpture and painting have slowly found their place within cultural, economical and spatial exhibition conventions. Architecture has represented numerous challenges in the modern world of collecting. While most other art works can be presented as “the real thing”, whether dislocated or produced for a versatile market, displayed architecture normally involves matters of representation. Exhibited and collected architecture most often concerns the oeuvre rather than the ouvrage; the design, the model, the drawings, the photos, the intellectual work, as opposed to the built work. Furthermore, the economical transaction of architecture has traditionally been unfolding differently from the dynamics of the art world.

This seminar studies two recent fields where the collecting and trade in architecture is bordering on the conventions of the art world and art marked. One is the international trend of auctioning especially mid-century modern architecture at prominent auctions houses (Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Bonhams, etc.), among art works rather than as real estate, and also the trade in full-scale architecture through art fairs. Additionally, we will look into the practice of selling architectural models out of art and architecture galleries, a practice that dates back to the 1980s and in interesting ways align architecture with art.


Peter Eisenman, Idea as Model, (New York: Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies and Rizzoli, 1981).

Learning outcomes

The students will become familiar with the history of architectural collections, theories on collecting architecture, as well as discussions of value on the boarder between the world of contemporary art and architecture.

At the end of the semester the students will submit an essay to be considered for inclusion in a publication in the series "Architecture students write”

Working and learning activities

Seminars, readings, discussions and criticim, and presentations of work during the semester.

Professor in charge

Professor Mari Lending


Assessment Date Duration Grade scale Oral examination
Annen vurderingsform, definer i kommentarfelt Pass / Fail

See Work and learning activities