‘Creation from Catastrophe: How Architecture Rebuilds Communities’, RIBA, London


Makoko Floating School, Nigeria 2013, NLE architects

Image: Makoko Floating School, Nigeria 2013, NLE architects, Author's own photo


An architectural exhibition is undoubtedly a curatorial challenge. Most exhibitions address artists and sculptors, focusing on paintings, installations, prints or photographs. The presence of genuine artworks is generally taken for granted. As absent buildings, distant projects and unexecuted plans are more difficult to visualise, so architectural exhibitions are more rarely realised; however their potential for impact, structured through powerful spatial experience, is arguably much greater.


‘Creation from Catastrophe’ unearths optimism and opportunity in the devastation of natural and man-made disasters, documenting death tolls and destruction but emphasising possible results of rebuilding, reconstruction and regeneration. The show hones in on ten case studies across four continents, an ambitiously wide scope, both chronologically and geographically. From plans to rebuild London after the Great Fire in 1666 to