Humanity has long felt driven to build ever upwards, to conquer the sky. The desire to erect constructions that are visible from afar, that act as symbols of prosperity, progress, development and power, is implicit in the very idea of architecture. The exhibition Towers and Skyscrapers. From Babel to Dubai evokes the natural fascination that inspires us to construct tall buildings and explores our urge to build ever higher.
Starting from the myth of the Tower of Babel - a Bible story that has inspired artists throughout the ages and symbolises the loss of the human scale, the failed utopia, excessive ambition - the show provides a glimpse of the world of skyscrapers from a range of different perspectives: history and myth; engineering and construction challenges; integration into the landscape; and sustainability and future challenges. CaixaForum Madrid hosts an original new look at the world of towers and skyscrapers, illustrated by some 200 works, including models, photographs, filmed interviews, etchings, paintings, drawings and projections.
Towers and Skyscrapers explores the human propensity to take on seemingly impossible challenges and overcome material obstacles, from ancient times (the first elevated constructions of a religious nature) to the present. The show particularly focuses on the triumph of North America in the late-nineteenth century and the worldwide spread of skyscraper-building since the 1970s, a phenomenon that has led to a situation in which two-thirds of all the highest buildings in the world are located in the Far East and Middle East. This is an enthralling slice of living history that invites us to touch the sky, from the Tower of Babel to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, whose 828-metre height makes it the tallest building in the world today.
Towers and Skyscrapers. From Babel to Dubai. Dates: 10 October - 5 January 2013. Place: CaixaForum Madrid (Paseo del Prado, 36). Organised and produced by: ”la Caixa” Foundation. Curators: Robert Dulau, Head Curator for Heritage, France, and Pascal Mory, architect and professor of Architecture.