The Modernika exhibition offers visitors an opportunity to (re)discover Modernist and International Style architecture. Taking as its starting-point the legendary Expo 58, with its contribution to spreading the American way of life in Belgium, the exhibition demonstrates the various ways in which the American dream manifested itself.
It is structured around themes such as the vertical city, the huge rise in car ownership, private houses and suburban residences, prefabricated homes, social housing and the ultimate American dream.
Some of the examples illustrating these themes are the City Administrative District, the Hilton and Martini Towers, the high-rise Prévoyance Sociale headquarters, the D’Ieteren establishments, the Model District and the Ieder Zijn Huis programme, Glaverbel and the Manhattan district in Brussels, Antwerp’s BP Tower and Administrative Centre, as well as Albert Bontridder’s houses.
The aim behind the exhibition is to showcase the wealth of architectural creations produced from Expo 58 to the 1980s. Although these works are often criticized because they are associated with the demolition of older districts and with major urban developments, they do include constructions of great merit. The influence of American architecture in Brussels is characterized by unprecedented artistic forms and research, buildings of unparalleled height and remarkable technical prowess.
With Modernika, we aim to modify feelings towards this recent heritage, which is nevertheless imbued with optimism, a progressive ideology and enthusiasm for technical developments.