Model Architecture

By Peggy Roalf   Thursday September 29, 2022

Now at XNA Airport, Bentonville, Arkansas
First seen in NYC with her seven-story Memphis-style mural for the 2018 NYCxDesign Festival, at Industry City, Camille Walala has since gone even larger and 3-D with her colossal new installation at the XNA Airport in Bentonville, Arkansas. Her now but retro graphics, in brilliant colors and black borders that can be seen from planes coming in for a landing, completely encase two utility buildings adjacent to the terminal

The London-based French artist produced the massive 3-D mural for OZ Art NWA; which was organized by Justkids in partnership with XNA Airport to “give visitors a taste of the energy here, and an impression of the art experiences that are part of life in Northwest Arkansas,” said Olivia Walton of OZ Art NWA. “Anchored by museums, hospitality, and outdoor adventures,” she continued, “OZ Art NWA advances the experience of adventure by incorporating beautiful and inspiring art into everyday life across the region and celebrating the diversity of art around us.”

The striking installation is reflected inside the airport terminal as well, greeting passengers through a lounge space designed by the artist (left). The interior installation was created to give visitors an opportunity to get a close-up experience with the artist’s work.

Walala’s mission begins with the notion that there can’t be enough joy in everyday life. A multidisciplinary artist working across the fields of art, architecture, textile art and graphic design, Walala’s practice has taken her all over the world to transform homes and workspaces with her signature tribal-pop style. Drawing on influences including the Memphis Movement, the South African Ndebele tribe, and op-art master Victor Vasarely, Walala has an irrepressible enthusiasm for playful, graphic patterns that invoke a smile in all who view them.



Tuesday, October 4, 5:30 pm: Model Behavior at The Cooper Union

Archtober 2022 begins next week and the first exhibition to weigh in is Model Behavior at The Cooper Union’s historic Foundation Building. Curated by Cynthia Davidson of Anyone Corporation, and presented by  The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art,  the show considers how architectural models contribute to shaping social behaviors. AboveOlafur Eliasson, Ice Lab, 2020. 3D printed, dimensions variable. These models are made from 3D scans of individual ice blocks that washed up on Diamond Beach in Iceland. The 3D-scanning process preserves the specific physical characteristics and natural phenomena of the ice for Eliasson to us in future artworks. Courtesy Studio Olafur Eliasson. The Cooper Union; Installation Photo: Christina Moushoul.

It features more than 70 works and objects by 45 artists and architects, including six installations commissioned specifically for the windows of The Cooper Union’s street-level colonnade. Objects on view represent a multitude of disciplines ranging from toys and scientific models to physical architectural models as well as animated digital models, videos, photographs, renderings, and augmented reality.

Among the artists represented are: Olafur Eliasson, Isamu Noguchi, Ekow Nimako, and Thomas Demand together with architects Peter Eisenman, Darell Wayne Fields, Greg Lynn, Forensic Architecture (Eyal Weizman), First Office (Anna Neimark and Andrew Atwood), MALL (Jennifer Bonner), Ensamble (Débora Mesa and Antón García-Abril), and Höweler + Yoon (Eric Höweler and Meejin Yoon), as well as School of Architecture graduates Stan Allen AR’81, David Gersten AR’91, Jürgen Mayer AR’91, Jesse Reiser AR’81, and Nanako Umemoto AR’83, and faculty member Michael Young. 

The windows, each set in a three-foot-deep niche, are treated like shop windows filled with dioramas and objects that are visible from the sidewalk. This installation site is another examination of how models prompt social behavior, as visitors may or may not choose to further explore the exhibition by entering the Foundation Building. Above Right: Besler & Sons, Barn Raising, 2022

“Model making is central to all architectural education and practice, but our role as architects and educators is to consider the societal and environmental impact of design, and that starts with this foundational and iterative component of the design process,” says Hayley Eber, Acting Dean of The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture. 


In tandem with the exhibition, the School of Architecture presents two public lectures: art historian Annabel J. Wharton in conversation with Sylvia Lavin on October 10, architect Kiel Moe in conversation with Sanford Kwinter on November 8, both in The Great Hall in the Foundation Building. Above: Cameron Wu, Circumvolute 00, 2021

The Cooper Union Foundation Building, 7 East 7th Street, New York, NY Info Free and open to the public; proof of vaccination and booster are required

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