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Contemporary Cartography

3 Jun–30 Aug 2019
Main Gallery

Contemporary Cartography was a public exhibition at the Building Centre, open from 3 June 2019.

Mon  Fri: 9.00am – 6.00pm
Sat: 10.00am  5.00pm

Contemporary Cartography examines how we navigate, document and shape the built environment today through the work of four practices; James Corner Field Operations, ScanLAB Projects, Studio MUTT and Smout Allen.


Introduction to Contemporary Cartography © Chris Jackson

Maps delineate space and can both conceive and compound geographical, cultural, political and social boundaries as a physical manifestation in the built environment. Often used as a drawing tool, maps can be conflated with plans – neutral forms of data representation that simplify the interrelation of time, space and experience in place making to a singular vision.

The exhibition proposes a re-engagement with maps and acts of cartography as creative, generative processes – positive cultural tools with the potential to reimagine our environments. Through the projects displayed, it hopes to encourage a reflection on different practices of spatial representation, what they tell us about the world we live in and how they help transgress ‘boundaries’ in a variety of senses – both physical and social.

Installations are placed on a giant ‘Dymaxion Map’, created by architect and polymath Buckminster Fuller in 1954 to critique the accepted representation of the earth. By removing visual hierarchies from the presentation of the globe, the map reveals countries as one unified landmass in an ocean; encouraging an alternative view of the world and global social relations.

The projects exhibited on it explore how cartography opens up new ways of seeing complexity in the world and engenders multiple design possibilities. They address the technologies and measuring tools of cartography, questioning their legacy and influence on our experiences of the landscape.

The accompanying events programme explores broader themes through acclaimed international projects, architects and theorists.


Studio MUTT introduce the Ordnance Pavilion © Chris Jackson



Smout Allen introduce Liquid Kingdom © Chris Jackson

Contemporary Cartography is curated by the Building Centre exhibitions team and supported by the Built Environment Trust. It is part of the 2019  London Festival of Architecture.


With thanks to the Contemporary Cartography programme supporters, Medite Smartply


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