Review, 18.02.2016

Wehrhahn Metro Line
Düsseldorf

Passengers on the Düsseldorf Metro will be able to journey through the city in an entirely new way come 20 February – the Wehrhahn link, a new underground line, will open its doors after 15 years of planning and construction. The task was carried out by netzwerkarchitekten from Darmstadt and the artist Heike Klussmann. Since 2001, they have worked with architects and artists along with city authorities to realise and devise an overall design concept for the six stops on the new route. The idea was to use the line as a site where art and architecture are inseparably bound – intersecting, inspiring and complementing one another and leaving a strong collective stamp on the space. Remarkably, there will be no advertising in any of the stations across the entire line. The artists commissioned for the series are Ralf Brög (Heinrich-Heine-Allee), Ursula Damm (Schadowstraße), Manuel Franke (Graf-Adolf-Platz), Enne Haehnle (Station Kirchplatz), Thomas Stricker (Benrather Straße), and Heike Klussmann (Pempelforter Straße). Instagram: @wehrhahnlinie

Project, 09.12.2015

Dreischeibenhaus Düsseldorf
Reinventing an Icon of German Architecture

Since the 1960s the Dreischeibenhaus has defined Dusseldorf’s skyline with its height of 94 meters. It is among the most significant examples of post-war modernist International style and a symbol of the so-called Wirtschaftswunder in West-Germany. Located in Düsseldorf’s city center, the sleek steel and glass building forms an ensemble with the Schauspielhaus and the Kö-Bogen. It´s unusual silhouette is shaped by three slim construction blocks, featuring curtain wall façades made of aluminum and glass, and narrow sides cladded with stainless steel. The building has now been completely refurbished by HPP Hentrich-Petschnigg & Partner with the intention to preserve and highlight its original character from the 60s, which is particularly visible in the iconic lobby with a dark green marble floor, high steel walls, colorful risers, Barcelona-styled chair furniture and even a glass phone box. Beside measures to maintain the old charm, new features were also added to the building, including terraces on the rooftop and the new restaurant Phoenix on the ground floor, hosted by the building owner Patrick Schwarz-Schütte and designed by Etienne Descloux and Irina Kromayer.

Feature, 27.11.2015

Making Heimat. Germany, Arrival Country
German Pavilion at the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale

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The Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) has been chosen to curate the German Pavilion at the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2016 presenting the exhibition “Making Heimat. Germany, Arrival Country”.

The current refugee situation is part of a massive worldwide flow of migrants. It leads people from the countryside into cities. What are the challenges facing cities with incoming refugees and migrants? Where in Germany are the preferred “arrival cities” located? How do newcomers become socially integrated citizens? And how can architecture and urban design contribute to this process? Taking as a starting point the hypotheses put forward by the Canadian journalist Doug Saunders in his best selling non-fiction book ‘Arrival City’, the DAM team – comprising Peter Cachola Schmal, general commissioner and director of the DAM, Oliver Elser, curator at DAM and the project coordinator Anna Scheuermann, with Saunders as advisor, examines these questions in the exhibition “Making Heimat” in the German Pavilion. How, in the future, can Germany’s “arrival cities”, such as Offenbach am Main respond and hypothetically shape the conditions that create a good ‘Arrival City’? The 15th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia runs from May 28 – November 27, 2016.

Project, 27.10.2015

DEMO:POLIS – The Right to Public Space
Akademie der Künste, Berlin
12.3. – 29.5.2016

Praça do Toural, Guimarães, 2012 © Photo: Rita Burmester. Project: Maria M. Oliveira and Centro de Estudos

Praça do Toural, Guimarães, 2012 ©
Photo: Rita Burmester. Project: Maria M. Oliveira and Centro de Estudos

Following the two major exhibitions “Return of Landscape” in 2010 and “Culture:City” in 2013, Berlin’s Akademie der Künste is now working on their next project coming up in spring 2016 titled, “Demo:Polis”. This exhibition is dedicated not only to the future of public space but the right to this real, physical space. While the Internet simulated a virtual public sphere, its promise was disappointed by Wikileaks and Edward Snowdon’s revelations. In contrast to this, people are again voicing their views with relative anonymity by demonstrating in real public spaces. Today, social media and real public space are the new framework for self-determination. Neo-liberalism has made the real public sphere a target for commercial interests: from advertising, sponsored events and the sale of publicly owned property, almost every public privilege and property have been sold. As cities grow denser, building projects encroach more and more on public space, an issue in which citizens demand to have a greater say in. As an ambitious endeavor on a highly complex issue, always close to failure – just like the constant fight over the right to setting the rules for the meaning and use of public space – “Demo:Polis” will include an exhibition, a catalogue and a series of conferences and parliaments, bringing together multiple approaches and working principles.

Project, 01.09.2015

STADT/BILD
Image of a City
16.09. – 08.11.2015

The autumn of 2015 marks the second collaborative project between four of Berlin’s leading art institutions: Berlinische Galerie, Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, and Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin will present a total of four thematically related and coinciding exhibitions. Titled STADT/BILD (Image of a City), the project approaches the notion of “the city” as thematic cluster from various perspectives. Architects Brandlhuber+ Hertweck, Mayfried will devise a spatial intervention in the Berlinische Galerie. The Dialogic City: Berlin wird Berlin sets out to question the museum as an institution, its acquisition policy, conditions of exhibiting, and different constraints. Xenopolis at Deutsche Bank KunstHalle will focus on the city as a living organism that does not belong to anyone in particular. Working under the hypothesis that there is no such thing as one coherent city, curator Simon Njami explores the multiplicity of cities. At the heart of the exhibition Welcome to the Jungle at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, a “jungle” serves as a desired imaginary space, symbolizing the subconscious, potentially dangerous counterpart of the controlled urban environment. The jungle marks a maximum distance from everyday life, as the name of the best-known discotheque in the history of West Berlin illustrates. With Fluids. A Happening by Allan Kaprow, 1967 / 2015 the Nationalgalerie presents a comprehensive reinvention of Allan Kaprow’s Happenings from 1967 in the public sphere. Originally constructed out of ice blocks, Fluids explored the questions of authorship, participation and communality, temporality, and choreography. Berlin-based artists are invited to react to this process-based work. Their versions of Fluids will appear in different locations around Berlin on successive days during the Berlin Art Week.

Feature, 25.08.2015

A SPACE IS A SPACE IS A SPACE
Deutsches Architektur Zentrum
11.09. – 08.11.2015

Dense City ©Joanne Pouzenc

Dense City / Photo: © Joanne Pouzenc

How to rethink space and matter? – a question posed by the Bureau des arts plastiques et de l’architecture and the Deutsches Architektur Zentrum DAZ in the context of their collaborative project “In Extenso – Erweitert”. Three invited French curators – Karima Boudou, Céline Poulin and Agnès Violeau – teamed up within the program “Jeunes Commissaires” to approach the answer within a performative and narrative exhibition titled A SPACE IS A SPACE IS A SPACE in Berlin. To probe notions of social context, public space and performance as possible discursive platforms, the curators worked with artists, architects and writers – including Kader Attia, Rosa Barba, Jason Dodge, Jean-Pascal Flavien, Jimmie Durham, Markus Miessen, Joanne Pouzenc, Michael Riedel, Vanessa Safavi, Rosemarie Trockel and Clémence de la Tour du Pin. The exhibition, accompanied by a lecture and performance programme, includes the launch of a special edition of the art and literature magazine JBCQVF addressing concepts such as participatory democracy, anthropological space and “idleness” as described by Giorgo Agamben.

Collage I

Rosemarie Trockel, “German Issue”, 2014 © Rosemarie Trockel, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015 Courtesy Sprüth Magers; Clémence de la Tour du Pin. butyougotolooklikedevilhorns, Printed document, magnet on fridge (w. Antoine Renard) 2015; Kader Attia, “The Modern Genealogy” 2012- 2015, Courtesy the artist, private collection and Galerie Krinzinger

A SPACE IS A SPACE IS A SPACE
Opening: 10. September 2015, 7 pm

Deutsches Architekturzentrum DAZ
Köpenicker Str. 48/49, Berlin

Feature, 24.08.2015

By Artists for Artists
Benefit Auction for the Schinkel Pavillon
19.09.2015 + 17.10.2015

Isa Genzken, Weltempfänger, 2013, courtesy the artist and Galerie Buchholz, Cologne and Berlin // Robert Longo, Untitled (Tiger Head 3), 2011, Courtesy the artist

Isa Genzken, Weltempfänger, 2013, courtesy the artist and Galerie Buchholz, Cologne and Berlin // Robert Longo, Untitled (Tiger Head 3), 2011, Courtesy the artist

The Schinkel Pavillon – which opened in 2007 – is one of Berlin’s most important exhibition spaces for contemporary art. It is currently in urgent need of support for its preservation, expansion, and long-term planning. To this end, 54 internationally renowned artists have donated artworks for the benefit auction, ‘By Artists for Artists’, among them are John Baldessari, Paul McCarthy, George Condo, Fischli/Weiss, Isa Genzken, Andreas Gursky, Philippe Parreno, Cindy Sherman, and Rosemarie Trockel. The auction and preview will take place at Villa Grisebach, followed by a second round in October at Christie’s in London. The funds raised by the auction will generate the financial basis for Schinkel Pavillon that will allow it to maintain the high quality of its programme and carry out its exhibition calendar for the upcoming years. In addition, the exhibition space will expand to include another floor. Through extensive and much needed restoration, the Schinkel-Klause, made famous under Erich Honecker, will be returned to life as a meeting place and an interface for performance, installation, artist’s talks, lectures, and art education. Information about the auction, including a complete list of works, is available at www.schinkelpavillon.de

Villa Grisebach, Berlin
Auction 19 September 2015, 5 p.m. / Preview 7–18 September

Christie’s London
Auction 17 October 2015, 1 p.m.

Interview, 18.08.2015

Summer Reading Picks
Melancholy and Architecture: On Aldo Rossi

With “Melancholy and Architecture: On Aldo Rossi”  by Diogo Seixas Lopes we learn about obligations to express, “that there is nothing to express”. An interview with the author, who met Rossi by means of a misdemeanour…

Diogo Titel II

San Cataldo, Photo: Nuno Cera

Italian architect Aldo Rossi (1931–97) is, without question, one of the most influential architects of the second half of the 20th century.  In your book titled “Melancholy and Architecture: On Aldo Rossi” – recently published by Park Books and celebrated by the critics – you look at the significant contribution the architect has made to architectural discourse, offering a new perspective on the long cultural history of melancholy. How did you meet Aldo Rossi?

Diogo: My first memory of Aldo Rossi is stealing a pocket monograph of his work published by Gustavo Gili, in the early 1990s. It was a childish stunt, in a bookstore that was setting up shop at the architecture school in Lisbon. I did not know much about architecture, but at least I recognised the name of the architect. Maybe I was drawn by the image of the cover, which I think was the Teatro del Mondo. If I were to believe in certain kinds of biographic explanations, and that is not the case, I met Rossi by means of a misdemeanour.

While the influence of melancholy on literature and the visual arts has been extensively studied, its presence in architecture has been largely overlooked.  Why did you choose to shed light on this specific dark side of architecture?

Diogo: Aldo Rossi frequently mentioned a text by Raymond Roussel, explaining how he had written some of his books. Roussel describes a very methodical process, while his works are anything but clear-cut. A lot of the choices I made, or for that matter anyone else in a similar situation, were of technical nature. Choices of structure and content, choices of form really. True, I was also drawn by a personal proclivity for certain states of mind. And then, the idea to portray Rossi as a dark star of architecture. But, as it is often said, the work should speak for itself.

San Cataldo, Photo: Nuno Cera

San Cataldo, Photo: Nuno Cera

Exploring Rossi’s entire career, you trace out the oscillation between enthusiasm and disenchantment that marks Rossi’s work, and closer explore of one of Rossi’s landmark creations, the Cemetery of San Cataldo in Modena. An emotion built in stone?

Diogo: Your question seems to derive from the famous dictum by Goethe, about architecture being frozen music. I never liked that expression much, it seems too formal and – frankly – too German. Sure, you cannot or – in my point of view – should not discuss the work of Rossi without taking into account a deeply emotional aspect associated to it. That is also what makes his case so interesting, the disruptive side of his personality. But then there is the rest. There are the buildings, the projects, the texts, the drawings and so forth.

Melancholy and Architecture – on Barbas Lopes. As a practicing architect yourself, is there a presence of melancholy in your work? – As the “Teatro Thalia” comes to mind.

Diogo: Originally, I wrote this as a doctoral dissertation at ETH Zurich. It was roughly done at the same time of the project and construction of Teatro Thalia, in Lisbon. Barbas Lopes is a partnership with my wife – Patrícia Barbas – and an architectural office dealing with the basic facts and figures of the trade . There is no underlying theme, just the specific conditions of each work. But contaminations do happen, and we are firm believers in them. In the case of Thalia, by some strange coincidence, they happened to be about ruins and memories retrieved from oblivion.

Melancholy and Architecture: On Aldo Rossi
Diogo Seixas Lopes
Park Books (2015)
ISBN 978-3-906027-47-0

Feature, 13.08.2015

CAN DESIGN CHANGE SOCIETY?
Symposium and Pop-up Exhibition by “project bauhaus”

PB_Tomas Saraceno_1254x836

Tomás Saraceno, A translucent tropospheric cloud allowing for investigations into the potentials of sky-life. At Reykjavic Marathon, 2007 © Tomás Saraceno, 2007

The centenary of the Bauhaus in 2019 is still a few years ahead, but preparations are already taking place around the globe, demonstrating the ongoing relevance of its avant-garde ideas. „project bauhaus“ – an international initiative by designers, curators and researchers from Europe, the USA and Asia – was recently founded in order to conduct a lively debate on the currency of the Bauhaus. In the five years leading up to the anniversary, „project bauhaus” aims to take critical stock, offering a new question each year, beginning in 2015 with the question: Can design change society?

During an international symposium accompanied by a pop-up exhibition this September in Berlin, „project bauhaus“ provides an open forum to debate this question by placing valid positions in the context of historical models. It puts into question, if the aspiration of the Bauhaus and the classical avant-garde to positively change society through design has been validated – and takes a closer look at goals, roles, design methods, and the social construct in which designers are embroiled today. The participants of the symposium include: Gui Bonsiepe, Lilet Breddels, Bureau d’Etudes, John Grin, Boris Groys, Dorothea Hauser, Reinhold Martin, Philipp Oswalt, Planbude Hamburg, Christian Salewski, Tomás Saraceno, Bernd Scherer, Lara Schrijver, Luigi Snozzi, Margarete Vöhringer, Karin Wilhelm, Zones Urbaines Sensibles a.o.

Pop-up Exhibition: 3 – 20 September 2015 / Opening: 2 September, 7 p.m.
Symposium: 18 + 19 September 2015
Haus der Kulturen der Welt
www.projekt-bauhaus.de

Interview, 11.08.2015

BUREAU N meets BUREAU A in Lisbon

“We are architects, but we also like architecture”, says Daniel Zamarbide, one of the two founders of BUREAU A, a recent – and unusual – transplant to the Portuguese capital, especially while the number of emigrants from the country continues to rise.

BureaA_Collage

BUREAU A’s new space in Lisbon (left) and B.I.G. Biennale des espaces d’art indépendants de Genève (2015), Photo: Dylan Perrenoud (right)

We met with BUREAU A in their new space, a bright and huge old flat located on Rua dos Anjos in central Lisbon, to learn about what brought them to this capital on Europe’s periphery – and what keeps them busy these days.  Earlier this summer, Swiss architectural duo Leopold Banchini and Daniel Zamarbide moved their office BUREAU A from Geneva, the heart of Swiss Romandie, to Lisbon. The move wasn’t prompted by business or personal reasons, nor did they develop a passion when visiting the city, as one might suspect. Daniel hadn’t even been to Lisbon before…

It was more of a decision to step out of our comfort zone, in response to the number of highly qualified young Portuguese architects applying for a position with BUREAU A, and because of an interest in Portugal’s traditional craftsmanship, still highly regarded and increasingly preserved. Why not move your studio and come to your collaborators, instead of having them come to you?

What is your story?

We founded BUREAU A in 2012 as a multidisciplinary platform, aiming to blur the boundaries between architectural research and related projects. With a team of seven in Lisbon and one still in Geneva, we’re seeking to expand our activities to diverse programs, ranging from architecture and landscape design to scenography, installations, and self-developed initiatives. You may remember our mountain shelter, a wooden cabin concealed inside an artificial rock and transported to a remote site in the Swiss Alps, which paid tribute to the central character in the novel Derborence by Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz. Or our intervention in the streets of Hanoi, where mounted a seven-storey mobile performance space and street kitchen on a tricycle. More recently, we finished our Fountain2015 project – a pissoir for a public space in Zürich made out of Portuguese marble.

What is keeping you busy these days?

We are working on more than 10 international projects simultaneously, besides different teaching and lecturing positions, lots of traveling and – very relevant to our work – the constant consumption of architectural culture and history. Leopold is in Paris right now, for our involvement in PerformanceProcess, a project that marks the 30th anniversary of the Swiss Cultural Centre (CCS) in Paris, opening this September. We have been invited to create the spatial design for a 12-week performance programme where each week is dedicated to a different artistic concept. Another project keeping us busy is one that will bring us to Germany: the exhibition Orientations. Young Swiss Architects, a project by the Swiss Architecture Museum, presented by the M:AI Museum für Architektur und Ingenieurkunst in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Are you looking to explore any unusual architectural forms?

Oh – we’re obsessed by waterfalls, which will be relevant for a challenging commission by the arc en rêve – centre d’architecture in Bordeaux coming up soon…

BUREAU-A_Spiruline_2014©DylanPerrenoud_small

Spiruline (2014) – A garden folly by BUREAU A in a public park of Geneva – Quoting the water cascades of the Villa Aldobrandini. Photo: Dylan Perrenoud

As for Lisbon, where BUREAU N first arrived five years ago but BUREAU A is still finding their way around, Daniel tells us that being a foreigner new to the city has formed his working process: “Still working as a tourist – without being one.”

We will keep in touch with BUREAU A, in the hopes that we can collaborate very soon – a joint venture may be in the cards…