In 1953 the sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi, the artist-photographer Nigel Henderson, and the architects Alison and Peter Smithson joined up with the pioneering structural engineer Ronald Jenkins to create the radical and still highly influential exhibition Parallel of Life and Art. This historic collaboration was first forged during the design and building of the iconic Hunstanton School in Suffolk which was conceived by the Smithsons in 1949.
Capturing the time and process of the building of Hunstanton, this display brings together an extensive range of previously unseen photographs by Henderson, drawings and proposals by the Smithsons, engineering milestones by Jenkins, and sculptures by Paolozzi. Curated with direct reference to the innovative design and commissioning process of Jenkins’s office at Ove Arup & Partners in 1951, the display highlights how this office project became the test-bed of ideas for the group’s design and installation of Parallel of Life and Art, which underpinned the creative and intellectual sensibility and culture that the critic Reyner Banham would infamously label "New Brutalism" in 1955.
This display has been curated by Victoria Walsh and Claire Zimmerman, assisted by Helen Little, Elena Crippa, and Ricky Bowtell. Installation design and execution: Geoff Thun and Dan McTavish of RVTR, and Westby and Jones, Ltd.
This project was made possible with generous support from Arup and The University of Michigan (College of Literature, Science and the Arts, and Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning).