Forgetting Alanna Heiss: foundations of istanbul modern young architects program

Acar, Zuhal
The Young Architects Program is an annual exhibition of architectural installations that was initiated in 2000 as a joint project of the Museum of Modern Art and the P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, which was founded in New York as the Institute of Art and Urban Resources by Alanna Heiss in 1971. The Institute was founded with the aim of transforming abandoned and underutilized spaces across the city into art studios and exhibition spaces for artists. In establishing the Institute, Heiss pioneered a new medium for the interaction between architecture and art, in that she not only provided spaces for artists, but also wrote new architectural programs for what were leftover urban spaces. The assumption in this study is that a revisiting of the works of Heiss, specifically in the 1970s, will provide an intellectual background for an interpretation of the İstanbul Modern Young Architects Program. The analysis conducted in this thesis of the seminal exhibitions, programs and events organized by Heiss illustrates the rejection of the established structure of “museum”, both as a building type and as an institution. It is claimed here that the “museum” can be replaced by an alternative display setting in which the object of the exhibition includes the space it’s in, embraces it and uses it. Exhibitions of this type are referred to as “architectural installations”, requiring both the organization of spaces and the arrangement of visual materials, and this study places such installation at the intersection of architecture and art, believing that the convergence of these two disciplines has the power to produce new forms of spatial transformations that can contribute to both disciplines. Moreover, it is the assumption of this study that the essence of the work of Heiss has now been forgotten by the Museum of Modern Art, and suggests that the Young Architects Program of İstanbul Modern has exacerbated this current amnesia regarding the work of Alanna Heiss.
Citation Formats
Z. Acar, “Forgetting Alanna Heiss: foundations of istanbul modern young architects program,” M.Arch. - Master of Architecture, Middle East Technical University, 2015.