July 27, 2017 - Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) - The Evidence Room
e-flux Architecture
July 27, 2017
July 27, 2017

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)

Interior perspective of The Evidence Room with models of Auschwitz gas column and gas-tight hatch, plaster casts, and model of gas-tight door. Photo: Fred Hunsberger, University of Waterloo School of Architecture.

The Evidence Room
June 25, 2017–January 28, 2018

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)
Toronto Ontario
Canada

www.rom.on.ca

Widely acclaimed as a critically important work on its debut at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition of the 2016 Venice Biennale, The Evidence Room examines the chilling role architecture played in construting the Auschwitz death camp.

The exhibition features reconstructions of key objects central to the research work of Dr. Robert Jan van Pelt, one of the three exhibition principals. His careful analysis of the architecture of Auschwitz, introduced as evidence in a landmark court case, established that it was purposefully designed as a death camp. This ground-breaking research became a source for a new and emerging discipline—architectural forensics—which encompasses architecture, technology, history, law, and human rights. The Evidence Room is a compelling illustration of the role of architectural forensics as a means to establish the past and capture collective memory.

Designed by Waterloo architecture professors Donald McKay and Anne Bordeleau, The Evidence Room includes full-scale reconstructions of three key components of the Auschwitz gas chambers—a gas column, gas-tight door, and gas-tight hatch—augmented by more than 60 plaster casts of architectural evidence, including blueprints, architects’ correspondence, contractors’ bills, photographs, and drawings. Constructed entirely in white, the installation compels visitors to recognize the enormity of the calculated architectural decisions which culminated in the creation of a death chamber, and the reconstructed elements serve as silent material witnesses to the horrors of Auschwitz. 

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