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Oil gets a black ribbon

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An unusual angle, unseen archives, a beautiful catalogue; all the ingredients are in place for "Sorry, Out of Gas", an exhibition that is both plentiful and accessible. But what really makes an impression as soon as you walk in is the strange structure that supports and animates it.

With a simple premise, the oil crisis of 1973, Mirko Zardini, director of the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), designed an exhibit that speaks to the beginnings of eco architecture.

Borrowing its title from the signs that many gas stations in North America displayed at the time, "Sorry, Out of Gas" showcases more than 350 objects, architectural drawings, photographs, publications, television footage and historical artifacts. To present these, CCA called upon architect Gilles Saucier from Saucier + Perrotte. While staying true to his architectural language, he imagined a black structure that would infiltrate the CCA rooms, bringing them together while disrupting their usual flow.

For the visitor, this black ribbon evokes a pipeline or an oil leak. Hung from the walls, hugging the corners, displayed like a cantilever, the structure supports the proposal that it contains: the sometimes utopian search for an architecture that typifies a futuristic and somewhat fantastic era, one that is a visionary and a pioneer of methods to come.

The exhibit display is accompanied by beautiful graphic illustrations by Zab Design & Typography from Winnipeg.

Translation by Jennifer Edwards

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