04 October 2017


Does Permanence Matter?

Ephemeral Urbanism

Architekturmuseum der TU München, Munich

– 7 January 2018



The exhibition “Does Permanance Matter? Ephermeral Urbanism” on show at the Architecture Museum at Munich’s Technical University looks at the question of how long-term or permanent urban planning should be. The Oktoberfest in Munich and the Burning Man Festival in Nevada are just two examples for temporary structures accommodating small to medium-sized numbers of people in the short term. Refugee accommodation also represents ephemeral structures that have the goal of taking on a specific functional task.


Our current world situation increasingly presents us with the challenge of dealing with more or less spontaneously emerging masses of people. Globalisation allows free mobility to many people on the one hand, but on the other, it shifts catastrophes and conflicts to other parts of the globe, triggering flows of forced relocations. The exponential increase in the world’s population is making the matter worse – the UN expects that the population of the globe will be 11.2 billion people by the year 2100.

The exhibition is dedicated to the theme of ephemeral structures, which at times enable people to oppose infrastructural framing. This is described as “ephemeral urbanism”. The curators, Marcelo della Guistina and Stefan Gruhne, showcase the different causes and contexts in which such temporary architecture arises. The motivations are very different; there are political events such as movements of refugees and religious events such as pilgrimages and also social and economic needs. And the different forms of existing structures are on show, from nomad tent cities to markets and oil platforms.

The exhibition is based on the research results gathered by Rahul Mehrotra of Havard University, Cambridge and Felipe Vera of the Centro de Ecología Paisaje y Urbanismo in Santiago de Chile.

The subject matter is explored in more depth in various presentations, and, in a children’s workshop, younger people can build their own paper palaces by folding and sticking paper and cardboard.


Nº 279
Embodiment in Design

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