Exhibtion Credits

March 28, 2024 – May 4, 2024

Learning from Berlin (CT)

With the rise of the automobile in the mid-century, roadways became a uniquely American destination and a new form of architecture and urbanism arose to cater to the automotive traveler. This turnpike style is often disregarded as kitschy, touristy, or capitalistic, but the residue of this auto-centric era creates an ephemeral backdrop for highways in the current day. Learning from Berlin (CT) explores and commemorates Americana highway architecture using Berlin, CT as a local case study. The iconic Berlin Turnpike is a quintessential example of roadway infrastructure, a veritable ruin of a bygone era and once regarded as one of the greatest neon strips in the Northeast. We see the turnpike as an undervalued source of typological inspiration and an example of turnpike urbanism that holds valuable lessons about architecture as a semiotic tool. Relying on existing forms of Americana roadside pastimes, the exhibit is displayed as a series of miniature golf holes, each representing an iconic facade from the turnpike in its heyday. A miniature golf course is a microcosm of symbology and iconography in built form, and much like the architecture of the turnpike, the holes are totemic, whimsical, ironic, and fundamentally memorable. However, these totems are but cheap fabrications, representing the past character of the Berlin Turnpike where iconography and intrigue reigned supreme.

Exhibtion Credits

Curators: Paddy Mittag-McNaught, Max Ostrow, Thomas Chen, Ellen Zhu, Calder Birdsey

Graphic Design: Cindy Duan, Orlando Porras

Supported by: Yale School of Architecture North Gallery, Berlin Historic Society, Berlin Putter’s Paradise.