Archigram’s Plug-in City, Constant Nieuwenhuys’ New Babylon and Yona Friedman’s La Ville spatiale rank among the incunabula of the 1960s. Combining visionary architecture, pop culture, art, and situationist rebellion, they became known far beyond the narrow confines of urban planning. However, there had been no exhibition dealing explicitly with megastructuralists’ vision. In 2008, MEGASTRUCTURE RELOADED for the first time presented these visionary designs in context. Aside from Archigram, Constant, Friedman, the radical Florence groups Superstudio and Archizoom, whose designs at the end of the 1960s constituted an ironic response to the megastructuralists, were included. The exhibition was not intended as a documentary representation; instead the megastructuralists were to be tested for their currency and relevance for the problems of contemporary urban design and mega cities. We focused on the connection between architecture and visual art, as well as on actual architectonic and urban-design issues.

The exhibition featured installations by the contemporary artists José Dávila (MX), Simon Dybbroe Møller (DK), Ryan Gander (GB), Franka Hörnschemeyer (D), Gordon Matta-Clark (USA), Victor Nieuwenhuys & Maartje Seyferth (NL), Tobias Putrih (SI/USA), Tomas Saraceno (AR), Katrin Sigurdardòttir (IS/USA) and Tilman Wendland (D). With the exception of Gordon Matta-Clark’s 1975 seminal masterpiece Conical Intersect, these subject specific installations were developed directly for the exhibition and reflected the megastructuralists' visions.

Cover of the fourth issue of Archigram magazine

MEGASTRUCTURE RELOADED was part of the long-term research and exhibition project Utopia Revisited, which includes workshops, symposia, publications and exhibitions throughout Europe. The project started 2006 with the exhibition Ideal City - Invisible Cities encompassing works by 40 international artists in public places and several institutions in Zamosc, Poland and Potsdam, Germany (June – October '06, curated by Sabrina van der Ley & Markus Richter). In 2011, the exhibition We are all Astronauts. Universe Richard Buckminster Fuller reflected in contemporary art at MARTa Herford, curated by Markus Richter in cooperation with the MARTa team, continued the artistic research on late modern visionary architecture and urbanism.

Sabrina van der Ley & Markus Richter
2008, updated 2011