Striving to adapt the progressive ideas of the pre-war modern movement to the specific human needs of post-war reconstruction, Alison and Peter Smithson were among the most influential and controversial architects of the latter half of the twentieth century.
Alison (1928-1993) and Peter (1923-2003) Smithson were at the heart of the debate about the future course of modern architecture. They were among the younger members of CIAM and were founding members of Team 10.
Their polemics and designs - in which they focused on the burgeoning consumer society and the role of urban planning - laid the foundations for New Brutalism and the Pop Art movement of the 1960s.
A central concern for the Smithsons was the design of the dwelling. They introduced the new concepts of "place" and "territory" to counterbalance Le Corbusier's "machine for living." To the Smithsons, a house was a special place which had to meet the ordinary requirements of everyday life while being suited to its specific location.
This exhibition shows the evolution of the Smithsons' approach to the "art of inhabitation." It extensively documents almost all their designs for individual dwellings, especially their optimistic House of the Future of 1955-1956, and the series of alterations and additions to the fairy-tale Hexenhaus (Witch's House) in Germany from the mid-1980s on.
The exhibition was organized by Max Risselada and Dirk van den Heuvel of the Faculty of Architecture at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft).
The exhibition was previously shown at the Design Museum in London. The exhibition has been redesigned for Witte de With and supplemented with a section in which the work of the Smithsons is set alongside work by other famous architect couples: Charles and Ray Eames, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand, Jean Prouvé and Charlotte Perriand, and Gerrit Rietveld and Truus Schröder.
On 14 May there will be a debate about the work of Alison and Peter Smithson in Witte de With. The keynote speakers at the symposium are Beatriz Colomina, Dirk van den Heuvel, Ben Highmore, and Louisa Hutton. Roemer van Toorn will chair the proceedings.