Survival Architecture and the Art of Resilience

Survival Architecture and the Art of Resilience

October 15, 2022 through January 8, 2023

What does home mean to you? The question lies at the center of the new exhibit coming to the High Desert Museum, Survival Architecture and the Art of Resilience. It features the ideas of artists, designers and engineers looking to the future and considering what human shelters might look like in the face of challenges like climate change.

Survival Architecture and the Art of Resilience, opening Saturday, October 15, is a traveling exhibit organized and curated by the Oakland, California-based nonprofit Art Works for Change. In moments of change, what constitutes a home might evolve quickly. The exhibit features the work of artists and designers drawn from around the world whose design innovations – high-tech and low-tech, extravagant and affordable – are meant for helping individuals adapt during turbulent times. By combining science, technology, architecture and art, the exhibit encourages us to consider our understanding of safety and security.

Survival Architecture evaluates two- and three-dimensional designs from four perspectives – circular, portability, visionary and resilience. Circular structures are created from materials that can be reused indefinitely. Portability makes designs versatile. The exhibit highlights visionary concepts that change the way we think about shelters. The resilience of designs is also examined, as some objects can adapt to dynamic environments.

In the exhibit, film and photographs depicting the effects of environmental stresses on traditionally designed architecture are shown alongside innovative solutions with common materials such as cardboard and aluminum. Survival Architecture includes a piece by Tina Hovespian titled Cardborigami. The unique, three-dimensional structure is a shelter big enough for two people, sustainable and naturally insulated. ZO-loft Architecture and Design presents a rolling aluminum frame with expandable polyester resin tents with the ability to provide insulation from recycled materials.

The exhibit is possible with support from 




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“Human resilience is a central theme that I hope visitors will see in Survival Architecture. Environmental disasters can demolish structures, but they cannot demolish communities. Our communities are not immune to changes, as environmental shifts are affecting the High Desert, too, including extreme wildfire and drought.”

 – Museum Donald M. Kerr Curator of Natural History Hayley Brazier