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Neil Denari

Displaced Buildings in Aperiodic City

May 27–June 25, 2017

Commissioned by the Steven Myron Holl Foundation, Displaced Buildings in Aperiodic City was the result of the collective efforts of Neil Denari’s architecture studio, NMDA. The exhibition drew its inspiration from fully designed, yet never constructed buildings. It explored abstraction and liminal spaces, through the intensive process behind drafting and rendering buildings. The installation featured 34 ink-and-paper sketches and 12 detailed inkjet prints of projects designed since 1988, making it a project 30 years in the making. Aperiodic City was a rare opportunity for an architect’s studies, design concepts and creative process to be explored by a public audience.

Following the show in Rhinebeck, New York, Displaced Buildings in Aperiodic City traveled to two partner galleries in Ohio: Banvard Gallery in Columbus, and 1Point618 Gallery in Cleveland.

Click here to visit NDMA’s website.


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Aperiodic City is an urban accumulation organized around self-similar proto-blocks. It is at once like all cities in that it is made up of building forms that vary only slightly across an expansive field. But like no other city, it is also based on a system rather than a meta-plan. It is an idea that is neither emergent nor parametric but simply vaguely repetitious, incredibly persistent, and appearing in more than one form (proto-block). It is an idea city and a city of ideas.

A number of buildings designed over the last seven years have been displaced from their original context as a life-enhancing act, given that their material lives never began. Designed for specific contexts in various cities, they now occupy peculiar voids in Aperiodic City. In this new context, these buildings take on new meanings, yet they retain all the attributes of their original locations. But the location is not strictly limited to place, it also includes time, and in this, they are all imbued with ideas that are located on an endless curve that strangely oscillates through architecture and urban culture.

–Neil Denari, 2017

In a world of fake news and alternative facts, one might think twice about prospecting in fictions, but fictions let architects say what they want to say. They allow us to get to the moral of the story without being too weighed down by the heavy mantle of fact or footnote. They permit us to provoke architecture, using stories that surpass current reality to illuminate future opportunities.

–Sarah Whiting, 2017


Neil Denari (b. 1957, Texas) is principal of Neil M. Denari Architects Inc. and Interim Chair of the AUD at UCLA. In 2015, he was elected to The College of Fellows of AIA. Among his many awards is the Los Angeles AIA Gold Medal, received in 2011. His work has been included in many exhibitions, including the solo show “The Artless Drawing” in 2010 at Ace Gallery LA and the 2013 group show New Sculpturalism at MOCA Los Angeles. His work is permanently held by eight major museums around the world.

Traveling Exhibition


August 23 – October 10, 2017

The Steven Myron Holl Foundation is pleased to send  the exhibition Neil Denari: Displaced Buildings in Aperiodic City on a tour of the United States, beginning at the Ohio State University’s Banvard Gallery, in Columbus, OH.

11 inkjet prints, decades of original sketches and a Denari-designed 16 foot table were all reimagined for Banvard by the architect, and overseen by curator Sandhya Kohrer.  Displaced Buildings will be on display August 23 through October 6 at the Banvard Gallery, with an opening reception August 30.

With the support of AIA Cleveland and Kent State University, the show will then travel to 1Point618 Gallery in Cleveland, where it will be on view from November 1 through January 1.  During this time Denari will also visit Kent State as a guest lecturer.

The Steven Myron Holl Foundation has enjoyed great success with its former travelling exhibition, José Oubrerie’s Chapel of the Mosquitoes, which continues to tour galleries in the US, and will be featured at Museum-Hotel in the coming months.


November 2017 – January, 2018


The Steven Myron Holl Foundation was happy to collaborate with AIA Cleveland, 1Point618 Gallery, and Kent State School of Architecture to bring Displaced Buildings in Aperiodic City to Cleveland, OH.  

The show was both an arts exhibition for the city of Cleveland, and an educational opportunity for local architecture students.  Neil Denari gave a lecture and visited architecture studios at Kent State’s School of Architecture, and was honored at an AIA Luncheon with 1Point618 Director Robert Maschke.

Accompanying Events

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