Imagining the Modern serves as the first HAC Lab, a series of critical initiatives at the Heinz Architectural Center. Each lab invites a team of designers to examine and present issues of architectural and planning importance to Pittsburgh and the region. For this inaugural laboratory, over,under explored the Steel City’s remarkable legacy of midcentury modernism. The exhibition was experimental, and included aspects that were designed to evolve over the length of the show.
Conceived in three parts, the exhibition could be visited in any order. An introductory information space outlined the major sites of intervention in Pittsburgh—and the larger national context of urban renewal in the postwar era. Three media rooms featured artifacts from the era—such as films, documents and photographs—that traced the stories of Pittsburgh’s modernism. The workspace, the site of live interaction, functioned as a studio for Carnegie Mellon’s School of Architecture during the fall semester. In the spring it became the locus of monthly salon discussions. Along with curating the exhibition, over,under published a series of three broadsheets for public dissemination and produced a speculative proposal for the retrofit of Allegheny Center, a large project of the era.