The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art
Martino Stierli is The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at The Museum of Modern Art, a role he assumed in March 2015. Mr. Stierli oversees the wide-ranging program of special exhibitions, installations, and acquisitions of the Department of Architecture and Design. As the Swiss National Science Foundation Professor at the University of Zurich’s Institute of Art History, Mr. Stierli focused his research on architecture and media. His project The Architecture of Hedonism: Three Villas in the Island of Capri was included in the 14th Architecture Biennale in Venice. He has organized and co-curated exhibitions on a variety of topics, including the international traveling exhibition Las Vegas Studio: Images from the Archives of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown (2008–14).
Mr. Stierli’s first monograph, Las Vegas in the Rearview Mirror: The City in Theory, Photography, and Film was published in 2010. He also authored a book on Robert Venturi’s two-year tenure at the American Academy in Rome in the mid-1950s and has published essays on topics including Mies van der Rohe’s use of photomontage, the relationship between Dadaism and avant-garde architectural montage, modern architecture and urbanism in Brazil, Rem Koolhaas’s Delirious New York, and urban photography in Edward Ruscha’s books. He has written extensively on contemporary architectural practice, including the work of Herzog & de Meuron, the recent global boom in high-rise buildings, and the architecture of Johnston Marklee. His scholarship has been recognized with a number of prizes, among them the ETH Medal of Distinction for Outstanding Research (2008), the Theodor Fischer Prize by the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich (2008), and the 2011 Swiss Art Award for Architectural Criticism. In 2012, Mr. Stierli was a fellow at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles.
Mr. Stierli has taught at various Swiss universities, including the universities of Zurich and Basel as well as ETH Zurich. He studied art and architectural history, German, and comparative literature at the University of Zurich, where he received his MA in 2003. From 2003 to 2007, he was part of the graduate program Urban Forms—Conditions and Consequences at ETH Zurich, from which he received a PhD in 2008.
Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi (1927-2023) was a pioneer of architectural modernism in India, and the first architect from the region to be awarded the Pritzker Prize in 2018. His work was prominently featured in the 2022 MoMA exhibition, The Project of Independence: Architectures of Decolonization in South Asia, 1947–1985, during which he participated in an online conversation with Martino Stierli, The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design. Following Doshi’s passing at the age of 95, in January 2023, we are publishing this wide-ranging conversation accompanied by Stierli’s reflection on the architect’s life and legacy.
Despite protests and petitions from leading architects and architectural historians across the world, the Hall of Nations was surreptitiously demolished overnight on April 23-24, 2017. In this essay, Stierli bids farewell to architect Raj Rewal’s iconic building—a hallmark of modernist architecture in post-independence India.