Emilio Ambasz Institute: MoMA opens its doors to green architecture
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Emilio Ambasz Institute: MoMA opens its doors to green architecture

Emilio Ambasz

Emilio Ambasz Institute: MoMA opens its doors to green architecture
By Editorial Staff -

The Emilio Ambasz Institute for the Joint Study of the Built and the Natural Environment is to be located on MoMA’s Midtown Manhattan campus, within the Department of Architecture and Design. The institute will be devoted to studying the relationship between the built and natural environments, and fostering dialogue around the issue. A key goal is to highlight the planet’s ecological problem through attention-grabbing digital initiatives focused on the close relationships between architecture and ecology. The institute will also develop new creative approaches to promoting design for a more sustainable future at all levels, from landscapes to object design.

“We are immensely grateful to Emilio Ambasz for this generous gift,” says Glenn D. Lowry, director of the Museum of Modern Art. “As a visionary in the field of green architecture, Emilio has been leading the charge on the issues of architecture and ecology for years. The Ambasz Institute will no doubt serve to further the important work that both he and the Museum of Modern Art have been doing in the field, and I look forward to tackling these crucial issues.”

Emilio Ambasz, who recently received his fourth Compasso d’Oro award for his work as a visionary inventor, has set the benchmark for every professional working towards a more sustainable future. According to Tadao Ando, Ambasz is the father, poet, and prophet of green architecture. He was the one who first got architects focusing on nature and the environment. In his book Green Architecture, James Wines calls him the “Messiah of green architecture” In 2014, the Istituto di Studi Avanzati (ISA) at the University of Bologna awarded him the ISA Medal for Sciences. On March 5, 2021, the same university will award him an honorary degree in architecture at a special ceremony.

“The Western notion of Man’s creations as distinct and separate entities – in contrast with Nature – has exhausted its intellectual and ethical capital. We need to conceive of an architecture that stands as the embodiment of a pact of reconciliation between nature and building. We must create alternative models of the future proposing a better life to guide our actions, if we do not wish to perpetuate present conditions. I believe that any architectural project not attempting to propose better modes of existence is unethical. This task may stagger the imagination and paralyze hope, but we cannot subtract ourselves from its pursuit.”  Emilio Ambasz

Ambasz and MoMA have been collaborating for over fifty years. Ambasz has been a special guest at numerous exhibitions and installations. The Museum of Modern Art’s creation of the Emilio Ambasz Institute is a confirmation of its commitment to promoting awareness of sustainable architecture. The institute will also be an important agent for promoting dialogue through public conferences and symposia, many to be held online.

“Issues of ecology and the ongoing climate crisis are the most urgent challenges of our time, not only for architecture, but for humanity as a whole,” says Martino Stierli, chief curator of Architecture and Design at MoMA. “I am thrilled that with the new Ambasz Institute at MoMA, the Department of Architecture and Design will be uniquely positioned to shape discourse and foster necessary change in the field of design toward a more equitable and ecological future.”

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