"One of Los Angeles’ most vibrant creative cultural centres, the Materials & Applications exhibition space is redefining what an architecture gallery can be. Part architecture gallery, part public art display, and part workshop for experimentation and learning, the venue provides an outdoor exhibition space for new architectural ideas, while inviting the public to participate in creating its installations."

Uncube Magazine  |  Sept 25, 2014



Materials & Application (M&A) is a non-profit cultural organization dedicated to exploring the role of architecture in the public sphere through critical exhibitions and programs. We work to bring new ideas and creative experimentation into public space and public dialogue.

Materials & Applications primarily produces two types of public programs: an annual exhibition of one-to-one architecture, and a topical program clusters or event series through which to explore an issue or area of interest in greater depth. Since 2003, M&A has produced more than 20 site-specific installations and over 100 programs exploring new ideas in art, architecture, and design. 


Our Mission

Our mission is to advance provocative, engaging, and critical ideas about architecture through exhibitions, performances, and public programs, in order to investigate the visible and invisible role architecture plays in our world today. Our definition of architecture is not limited to the building or the built environment, but encompasses a wide array of mediums, scales, and forms, including tools, text, software, materials, policies, economies and imaginaries.


Our Exhibitions & Public Programs

Exhibitions and public programs are the vehicle by which we explore provocative and engaging ideas about architecture and its role in our world today. Materials & Applications develops its public programs starting from an idea and proceed from there. It is of special importance that we develop ideas jointly with our partners, and create dialogue between our organizations, partnering artists or organizations, outside experts, and our audiences. We begin with an original idea, and proceed to develop this in sustained conversations about formats, event types, selection of artists and architect teams, financing, schedule and production. 

We are a small operating team, which allows us to be flexible and agile in developing our public programs, but also limits our ability to take on most projects that come our way. Almost all our projects require one to two years of planning, and we prefer to develop our work slowly rather than output intensely.

Materials & Applications does not make financial contributions to projects that have already been planned. We are not a foundation or funding body. All our projects are not-for-profit and we aspire to present them for free. Very rarely, we will solicit donations as entry.

Our institutional partners and collaborators include Armory Center for the Arts, Cal State Long Beach Art Museum, Getty Pacific Standard Time, Mak Center for Art and Architecture, LA Forum for Architecture, Neutra VDL House, Council for Watershed Health, the Los Angeles Poverty Department, Common Field, Human Resources, Women’s Center for Creative Work, and 2426 Set amongst others. 

Our past projects include a temporary mini-golf project, a golden vortex in Silver Lake, a dance party in a giant bird cage, a conversation on how buildings can own themselves, a cake-off, a publication launch party, an instructional performance on urban hideouts, an investigation into zoning and its applications, a reading group on the picturesque, and a one-day foam furniture installation.


Our History

Materials & Applications was founded in 2003 as a collaborative space for experimentation and research in the parking lot of a Los Angeles home. The core team was composed of Jenna Didier and Oliver Hess, with important contributions from Bruch Chan and Brian Janescko. Since then, propelled by a community of artists, architects and designers, Materials & Applications remains one of the only independent spaces in Los Angeles for art and architecture dedicated to foregrounding contemporary ideas through one-to-one architecture.

From 2003-2014, Materials & Applications was based in our Silver Lake courtyard. Today, our projects are itinerant and take place in landscapes, sites, and spaces throughout Los Angeles. Since 2015, M&A has been helmed by Jia Gu (Director) with a generous team of part-time staff and volunteers, and support from the Board of Directors and the Contemporary Council of M&A.

 Gwyneth Shanks,  From Above | Looking Down , 2017, Los Angeles. Courtesy of the artist.

Gwyneth Shanks, From Above | Looking Down, 2017, Los Angeles. Courtesy of the artist.