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Table of contents
- FRIZZ Das Magazin Offenbach Januar by Frizz Offenbach - Issuu
- Ein Austauschjahr
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In fact, the two functions were totally close to each other. This has had a profound impact because in this open shell, blocklike or protective characteristics were gone. Moreover, owing to the low-budget situation, people no longer build for several generations. You do have a family, but can well imagine that they will all move out at some point. In the old days, when you founded a family, you also had to build a house, which was a kind of island for everyone, and where generations up to grand-ma and great-grandpa lived. But for us, somehow, it was a good thing that this requirement had gone.
Another point is that we were aware of everything that was going on around us. The kids noticed what I was working on and I could hear them when they were fighting or playing. Florian Nagler primarily deals with the interdependencies between location, use, construction, and form. In this regard, the physical presence of things has been at the forefront of his concerns right from the beginning, likewise the work of his office Florian Nagler Architekten. Since , he has been working as an independent artist.
His creative work centres on the transformation of the sensual perception of landscapes into often large-sized sculptures, somewhere between essential reproduction and abstraction. Florian Nagler und Peter Lang; Photo: Ein Haus ist ein pragmatischer Aktionsraum und kein Schutzraum. Und auch keine Belastung. A house is a pragmatic action space, not a protective space. Neither is it a burden. Woher kommt die Auseinandersetzung mit der Geometrie? Kommt sie aus der Wohnebene, die das Quadrat stark zelebriert?
Man setzt sich an den Tisch, der in der Mitte steht und merkt physisch, dass man sich im Zentrum des Hauses befindet. How come one is confronted with geometry? Does it come from the living floor, which is a powerful celebration of the square? Indeed there is a cross-shaped room on that floor. I find it very interesting, personally-speaking, when I come for a visit. You sit at the table, which stands in the middle, and become physically aware that you find yourself right at the centre of the house.
The plastic house is a half immaterial building without any solid walls. That is why it does not have any protective rooms. However if you sit there, you do get the feeling that you are quietening down and that you find yourself in the central point of the house. Und dieser Tisch ist auch heute noch das Zentrum. An diesem Tisch passiert alles. Das hat total funktioniert.
Ich hab dann diese Quadratserie angefangen, bei der mich der Tisch und die Hausstruktur sehr beeinflusst haben. Es lag am Durchblick durch die um 90 Grad gewendeten Polycarbonat-Platten. Wenn du da durchschaust und den Kopf drehst, dann entspricht das dem Aufbau meiner Bilder. I can tell that by looking at the guests. The sitting position is uncomfortable because the benches have no backrest but all the same, the benches invite enjoyment to a degree.
And this table is still the centre today. The children have grown up already but they always come back to this centre. People think it is a pity that I am in my newly-completed atelier and they cannot use the table in the old atelier any longer. Everything happens at this table. Life happens, deals take shape there, customer appointments and visits by friends take place there, as well as family life.
Basically, it also inspired my next step: If you look through them and turn your head, then this equates the composition of my pictures. Ist das auch in der Zeit entstanden? Hatte das ebenso mit der Arbeit zu tun, die ihr am Haus gemacht habt? Ihr habt das Schindeldach selbst gedeckt und dabei auch die Schlagschnur benutzt? Man kommt immer nur durchs Machen auf Ideen. Did that also emerge at that time? Did it also have to do with the work that you two did on the house?
You laid the shingle roof yourselves, and perhaps with the help of the chalk line marker? You only ever get any ideas by doing. When I worked on the shingle roof during the day, I asked the carpenter if he could leave his chalk line for me. While I was laying the entire roof, the idea for the pictures came to me. What does an artist? He tries to communicate and to explore his fascination. Why do I like it so much?
And that house made it all wonderfully possible. Mind you, one thing did not work at all: I would never have expected it, because they are already studying. Wir haben die Kinder nicht losbekommen! Aber sie kommen permanent wieder nach Hause. Meine Kinder But they are constantly coming back home. I have also talked about architecture with them.
Many groups are coming to visit and the question of the influence exerted by architecture is often raised. My chil- Karriere ins Positive beeinflusst. Das Soziale hat funktioniert, die Kinder waren gut untergebracht, die Familie hat funktioniert, die Arbeitssituation war gut. Und schwuppdiwupp haben meine Karriere und mein Arbeitsleben auch sehr gut funktioniert. Man hat gemerkt, dass dieser Arbeitsanzug passt und nicht improvisiert ist.
Then in a flash my career and professional life also went very well. I do not know if I would stand here today if I had not been able to work in your great house.
One could see that these work clothes fitted and had not been improvised. It has also Architektur aufgewachsen zu sein, und diese in unse- influenced my career in a positive way. Now I must take up arms for ren drei Projekten miterlebt zu haben. Es hat auch meine architecture. Social aspects went well, the children had a good roof over FN: Dabei geht es darum, Ressourcen nicht zu verschwenden, aber auch darum, Dinge einfach zu halten. Deshalb versuche ich, richtig einfach zu bauen. Dieser war Arbeits- und Wohnraum zugleich und ich genoss dort den einfachen Pragmatismus.
Sie haben das einfach strukturiert, und dadurch hat auch das Arbeiten gut funktioniert. Dann habe ich mir gedacht: Wie hat das deine Arbeit beeinflusst? The next work clothes that we made together were not at all an architectural project at first. You told me that you wanted to spend half a year in Patagonia and take square metres of blank canvas with you so that you could paint regardless of what the rest of the world was doing. For my part, I learned enormously from this project. We discussed in advance what would be needed to work in such a secluded manner, and we spent a lot of time puzzling it out.
Our opinion was that we should reduce what was needed to survive to the absolute minimum. When you returned, the first thing you said was that, as regards the absolute survival minimum, we had deceived ourselves. It seemed that other people had a much lower absolute minimum. You on the contrary, apparently had the most luxurious accommodation within a radius of thirty kilometres. I learned a lot from this seeing that, since then, I have tried in all my commissions to trim back on demands and concentrate on essential items.
This is about not wasting resources, but also about keeping things simple. This is why I try to build in a really simple way. This was the guiding principle for the third project, too. It was both a workspace and living space and I just enjoyed its easy pragmatism. Some forty sweaty, hungry lumbermen lived there and they had to cope in that confined space.
They organised themselves according to a simple structure and thanks to this their work also went well. Then I thought to myself: I need something just like this for the trip. What impact did this have on your work? I have the feeling that in terms of art your pictures went more in the direction of landscape painting; and presumably this had less to do with the house than with the landscape there. Although you can dream about certain things, and conceive them in some abstract way, and even film them, in the end you still do not have anything tangible.
It was always possible to get them outside or bring them back to the atelier, so that the canvas might not get blown away or any number of flies start running around its surface. The house has vindicated my work inasmuch as, since then, I have been able to realise everything if I look for a structure for myself and pull it off. Perhaps this is also a feature of good architecture.
FRIZZ Das Magazin Offenbach Januar by Frizz Offenbach - Issuu
You can improve on the use of your life energy, i. The plastic house revolves around short distances, and it is laid out in such an intelligent Vielleicht ist das auch ein Merkmal guter Architektur. Man kann Lebensenergie, also das Potenzial eines Arbeitstages, besser einsetzen, wenn das Umfeld und die Wege stimmen. In dem Plastikhaus gibt es kurze Wege und es ist so intelligent angelegt, dass man beispielsweise nicht immer daran arbeiten muss.
Wenn du nicht drei Treppen hinunterlaufen musst, um deine Kleidung von der Waschmaschine zum Schrank zu tragen, hast du dir schon mal viel gespart. Zeit, die man anders sinnvoll nutzen kann. Zeit zu haben ist Luxus, aber Raum zu haben, ist auch Luxus. Du hast das dann perfekt abstrahiert, obwohl du noch nie in Patagonien oder mit mir malen warst. Der Container hat in Patagonien funktioniert. Das ist ja unsere Arbeit als Architekten. Wenn das gegeben ist, kann ich mich viel besser auf die Arbeit konzentrieren, dann habe ich viel mehr Potenzial.
Aus der Erfahrung im zweiten Projekt habe ich gelernt, dass unsere heutige Architektur viel zu kompliziert ist. Deshalb fand ich es sehr spannend, als drittes Projekt noch einmal ein Atelier zu bauen. Wenn ich dort hineinkomme, denke ich mir: Es ist ein Traum. Woher kommt diese Ruhe, die in dem Haus vorherrscht, beziehungsweise, warum kommt man so zu sich, wenn man dort ist?
Du bist einmal in das Plastikhaus gekommen und hast mit deinem Daumen vermessen, wie viel Platz noch da ist. Ich werde nie vergessen, wie du in deiner Silhouette in einem unbeobachteten Moment dagestanden hast und ich mir dachte: You have to take care of relatively few things because it is well planned. If you do not have to go down three flights of stairs to carry your clothes from the washing machine to the wardrobe, you have saved yourself quite some trouble: To have time is a luxury, but to have space is also a luxury.
I came to you and told you that I needed a container as an atelier, with at least 60 square metres. You then made a perfect abstract representation of this, although you had never been to Patagonia and you had never gone painting with me. In spite of this, it worked out well and for me this is the greatest achievement.
You just sat at your computer, or at your desk, or in your garden and thought it out on the basis of the parameters that I had given you, such as pressure with wind speed of kph. The container functioned in Patagonia, it stayed upright. I could work in it and I felt safe. But I do find it incredible that you could build something so concrete on the basis of a purely theoretical discussion. It amazed me that you managed to use the small amount of space available in such a way that it generated a feeling of great freedom.
Thanks to these storable panels with their free-standing canopies, one enjoys incredible opportunities. If this is a given, then I can concentrate on my work a lot better, and as a result my potential is much greater. The experience gained from the second project taught me that contemporary architecture is far too complicated. In terms of structural engineering, it is much too sophisticated, overburdened with far too many wishes that are projected on the results. That is why I found it very exciting to build an atelier once more for the third project. It is not just an atelier, but rather a three-naved house with a storeroom, atelier and workshop.
Our premise was to build as simply as possible, and that is what we achieved. We used single-layer brickwork, whitewashed on the inside and plastered on the outside; the roof is a simple wooden bearing structure. Three structures that blend well are joined together, creating a beautiful rhythm. Inside, they are not trimmed down to the absolute minimum but rather generously designed for space. There you can see that space, even if it is composed of the simplest things, can have a very luxurious feel. When I walk in there, I think to myself: It is light, the proportions are beautiful, and it is spacious.
It is a physical experience similar to that which I had in the plastic house, where you could feel concentration exuding from the geometry. I find it very interesting that even a tinkered house can possess such strength. With the third project, however, it was different because it involved strong, thick walls. Presumably this stems from your fine feeling for spatial proportions. Once you came into the plastic house and measured how much room was still available with your thumbs. I shall never forget how you stood, silhouetted, in an unobserved moment, and I thought: What is needed, and what is not?
I, as a painter, saw the negative surfaces and thought it was perfect. It is similar in the new atelier. I am amazed by the proportions. That is why I always ask visitors: The actual ratio does 27 on zu sein. Was braucht man und was nicht? Deshalb frage ich die Besucher immer: Die Halle ist ein bisschen breiter als hoch. Das gibt genau diesen Kick, den ich auch beim Malen suche, und bei dem es interessant wird. Die Malerei hat sich auch verbessert, weil ich jetzt Serien aufstellen kann.
Jetzt kann ich mehr in Serien arbeiten, weil ich mehr Zeit habe. Das ist schon toll, dass ich 20 Tonnen in das Haus fahren kann. So hat sich das Familienleben verlagert. Das ist immer eine Kommunikationskette. Ich merke, dass die Menschen Vertrauen finden, wenn die Architektur nachvollziehbar ist. Im Plastikhaus war die Konstruktion nachvollziehbar.
Das hat dem Wohlbefinden extrem gedient. Und die unterschiedlichen Materialien?
Das eine ist ein Holz- und Plastikhaus, das andere ein richtiger Mauerwerksbau. Wir waren in einem Haus, welches das Gegenteil von unserem ist. Also von der Geometrie, von dem Kreuz mit dem Schwerpunkt? Das kommt vom Raum und von der richtigen Nutzung. Es knackst, es ist kalt und glatt. The hall is a little wider than it is high. This gives it precisely the kick that I am also looking for when I paint, and that is when things get interesting.
The new atelier has worked out very well because there I forget the time and do not feel the need to go outside. What about sculpture, which was not so important for you for a long time? Indeed, it was not at all important for me at first. Now however I am building large sculptures, five to six metres high, simply because it is possible. Of course, before that I could have built a crane as an aid for the pieces, but it did not occur to me. And sculpting is running wonderfully well in parallel to painting.
My painting has also improved because I can now display series. Before, I used to paint a picture and then had to put it away. Now I can work on series more often because I have more time. I have more options to just let the pictures stand. It is great that I can drive twenty tonnes into the house. Without any problem, I can hang a heavy chain hoist from the ceiling. But I can also dismantle all the changes quite simply and create a White Cube mood by driving everything out again.
In fact, my children have followed me into the atelier and work there almost constantly. Family life has relocated itself in this way. My art dealers also come to the new hall, because the work that emerges there matches the space. In the eyes of visitors, the working method is logical and hence the price of the art pieces is understandable. This is always a chain of communication. Buyers can also understand why the pictures are so large. It makes sense to them. At the moment, many groups interested in architecture are also coming. I have noticed that people gained confidence if the architecture was comprehensible.
Then they feel good and enjoy staying around. Whenever I go into a place without knowing how I can leave it, then I get a feeling of discomfort. The construction of the plastic house could be fathomed out. This served wellbeing extremely well. And what about the different construction materials? What is their impact on haptics? One house is made of plastic and wood, the other of proper brickwork.
That makes a difference, naturally. Recently, I talked to my wife about it. We were in a house that is the opposite of ours. In her opinion, it would be difficult to let a feeling of snugness develop there. Then I asked her how it was when we received visitors in our plastic house, in which there was relatively little. Visitors always said that they could not have imagined it beforehand, but it was very cosy. But does this feeling of snugness come from materials or from spatial arrangements? That is to say from the geometry, the cross with a centre of gravity? This comes from space and its proper use.
Polycarbonate per se is not so beautiful. It squeaks, it is cold and smooth. But if you consider one feature of polycarbonate, which makes it give out a beautiful, diffuse light across the rooms, then it makes sense and it is better than a glass pane. If you sit behind a glass pane and the sun is shining, at some point it will get too warm. This does not happen with polycarbonate. I do find that correct use is decisive. Wenn du hinter einer Glasscheibe sitzt, wird dir bei Sonnenlicht irgendwann zu warm. Das passiert bei Polycarbonat nicht. Ich finde schon, die richtige Nutzung sei entscheidend.
Heute laufen Besucher durch das Haus und sagen: Aha, die OSB-Platten sind nicht so hart, da kann man gut darauf gehen und stehen. Das Wohlbefinden kommt also auch durch den richtigen Einsatz von Material. So ist das auch in der neuen Halle mit dem Betonboden. Der wird oft gestreichelt.
Ein befreundeter Bauleiter meinte: Er wollte, dass ich das wegkratze. Jetzt versteht er, warum ich es nicht gemacht habe. Wir kennen uns jetzt lange. Das war ein Lernprozess und sozusagen die Idee: Ich finde es eigentlich interessanter, mehr auf den Raum und das Material zu setzen. Beispielsweise tut der Sturz, den der Handwerker trotz mehrfacher Hinweise hingemacht hat, dem Ganzen keinen Abbruch. Was ich festgestellt habe, ist dass die Akzeptanz der Handwerker vom Plastikhaus zum Atelier gestiegen ist. Das war in der neuen Halle kein Problem. Today, visitors run around the house saying: For example, it you are standing on a tiled floor in the kitchen wearing socks, it is more unpleasant than standing on OSB.
Wellbeing thus also stems from the proper use of material. In the new hall, this is also the case with the concrete floor. People often stroke it. It is only a beautiful concrete floor but in this case it is exactly right. It is just fun to look at the whitewashed wall. A friend of mine, who is a building site manager, argued that if the wall was not perfect, it would be ugly.
For him, a whitewashed wall was something of inferior value. Three weeks ago, he came again and had a go at me because I had not removed old concrete stains. He wanted me to scrape them away. But now he understands why I did not do it. It is important for concrete to be fluid at first before it solidifies. We have known each other for a long time. You have always been very good, but over the years your ideas have sharpened up. I can still remember how you wrestled with a joint in the plastic house and the apprentice had to re-sand it down.
In the new hall, the design is such that it can tolerate some disregard for details. That was a learning curve and so to speak: I could not manage this anymore, checking every joint in fifteen simultaneous projects. Actually I find it more interesting to focus on the space and materials. Details have to be simple and crude, so that any craftsman can handle them, and they remain in the background. This has been my personal development, from master of detail to — I do not want to say it — scorner of detail. But I try to solve the conundrum by other means. It also goes to prove the quality of a house, if three small points are wrong but in spite of this the house is great.
You do not notice at all whether a window reveal is sealed all around or not anymore, because the mighty deed is so powerful. For example, the lintel that the craftsman insisted on putting in despite repeated instructions does not do any harm. Although it is there now, it was not really needed. What I have noticed is that acceptability for the craftsmen increased between the plastic house and the atelier.
Normally they would complain that they could not do something because it would not work. In the new hall this did not arise. Just a bunch of conventional, trusted forms. With the hall this was not an issue. Rather the opposite, suddenly it was like: This is not so daft after all. Lauter konventionelle und vertraute Formen. Das war in der Halle kein Thema. Aha, das ist gar nicht so dumm. A short introduction to that: Manuel Castells describes society in our information age as a network society with an endless expansion and permanent reconfiguration — let us call this the meta-level; and others even speak of cities as innovation networks and cities as a strategic resource — I would call it the physical, built-environment level.
What do networks mean to you at this meta-level of Castells and what does it mean for urbanism at the builtenvironment level that journalists are talking about?
As a practice based in London and Zurich and operating in Europe, it is necessary to construct an elaborate network of support and information every time we build a project. Therefore I can say that our practice is fundamentally based upon these networks. So, at the practice level — at that meta-level — it feels like architecture for us is really based upon networks. I think that applies to the urban scale, too, and I find this really interesting, in particular because of the direction of our teaching practice, which is based upon a belief in the European city, its sustainability, evolution, and transformation.
I think that the idea of network is fundamental to the success of the European city. Many complicated words and phrases are used in these kinds of discussion in different parts of the institute, but in the end it is about making places and making relationships, which are quite basic but fundamental to urban life. We like to keep things simple in terms of how we describe it, and that is why we teach at the urbanism institute.
We are trying to encourage students to appreciate urbanism as a set of ideas about making spaces, housing people, and making the spaces between buildings as important as the buildings themselves. It is not a theoretical study, it is an emotional, very subjective, real-life approach. It is a way of operating that has networks built in, on a daily basis. It is a lot about the physical spaces, and atmospheres, and other such things. And of course we are also concerned with the question of content, and always work on a special theme.
At the 32 moment it is live-work housing, and we take the challenge very seriously and try to go beyond conventional ideas of housing, which you can see all over Europe and elsewhere. We are always trying to push things towards a kind of extreme. But I think this point about interrelationship does link to our interest in learning from history and the past, transforming those conventions — and that exposes the networks even more. So, as you just described, they are fundamental in a project where we would integrate living and working, or another situation where we would be questioning what communal living means.
It is a relief to hear your answers because it is quite a bit like the architecture you build, or the architecture you teach. When we see those buildings, they have something timeless or solid, and in comparison to this network society, which is faster, temporary, flexible, and adaptive, your architecture has something more stable.
For me, the focus remains on permanence. Just because our age is dominated by transient digital communication, it does not mean that architecture has to follow and represent that. This is what we are interested in, because it is connected with an idea of the culture of architecture; years of evolution must mean something.
What we are interested in is continuity. Ihre Arbeiten sind vielfach publiziert und ausgestellt worden. In , together with Jonathan Sergison, he set up the Sergison Bates office. Their work has been published and exhibited on many occasions. Thanks to the awards of the Heinrich Tessenow Gold Medal for Architecture and the Erich Schelling Medal for Architecture , the office has gained international recognition. Seit leitet er mit Prof. In , together with Thomas von Ballmoos, he set up the von Ballmoos Krucker office, based in Zurich.
Das bewohnen wird neu betrachtet. The studio Krucker Bates explores themes of urbanism and housing in the European cityand beyond. Studio Krucker Bates is a place of experimentation where convention and preconceived methodologies are challenged, historical and everyday references are widely used and encouragement is given to a way of designing spatially and without linearity.
But architecture is very slow, it takes five years to make a building and during these five years things can change so much. The moment you start discussing an office building with a client, they always ask which table would be used by whom. But by the time the building is finished, there may be other people in these office spaces, and it is our task to make structures that will last for the next hundred years or so. Ultimately, I think this is the real meaning of sustainability.
People still like living in buildings from the nineteenth century, as those in Schwabing for example, and it is because the spaces and the dimensions are comfortable, and pleasing, and efficient. These are the things that are important in buildings over time. We say that it is a nice floor plan, a really good floor plan that makes a building really sustainable, not the insulation on the outside. The bedroom then becomes an important space, a bedsit for your children when they come back from university and cannot afford to live on their own. It is all about transformation and evolution, rather than formal concerns.
We design something, and five or six years later when it is completed it is no longer new, anyway. The whole point is that architecture as a formal invention is really not so interesting. Form is interesting, for sure. I think your point about a well-proportioned space also points to ideas about what a window should feel like, or how a room should feel. The elaborations of this digital architecture may neglect some very important aspects of thresholds, and security within a space.
We have been working to get that right over thousands of years, so I think it is very important to engage with the reality of our digital world. For example, I find it fascinating that while we live in a world where you can wander around with a laptop, houses are still designed for some kind of ideal nuclear family, where rooms have specific functions, and the most important room is the living-room.
It is unbelievable how slow and uninteresting that is! So our approach to teaching is simply to say that we are interested in making good spaces. But we also need younger architects to say: What can you do with an apartment plan? We reject conventional plans. If we see some real-estate plan, all beautiful and open plan, we ask: Where is it going to take you?
We Have you ever thought about bringing architecture into other fields? When you say that architecture is slow, it takes up to five years to complete something, it reminds us of another discussion at the beginning of , brought up by Rem Koolhaas. He stated that architecture is too slow, [an awkward way to look at the world and an inadequate medium to operate on it, ed. You are talking about real estate development, or maybe project development. Is there anything in architectural thinking you could transfer to other fields or that it would make sense to transfer into other fields?
Two things, one is, at the moment, in our office we have a lot of bigger areas, for example hospitals or something like this; nd then it is less about architecture but it is still a kind of architectural thinking if you think about how to develop a hospital to last the next fifty years. This is a task that we have just at the moment, which is somehow impossible to solve but at the same time to give a kind of concept, in what way you could do that. Of course, we have no idea what these buildings will look like if we do it in twenty years but this is still architectonic thinking of course.
In that field it is quite clear. And the other thing is if you look what all these people are doing after their studies: And still this idea of what you learn here, about space, about sensitivity, and things like this, I think it is something, a way of being in the world which, if we are doing good teaching, could even lead these people in other fields quite easily. That is what we observe quite a lot.
Normally these people have to have an office, win competitions, and do buildings, but that is a minority in the end. This is why we should keep on this way of teaching that should not be too much on technology, more giving a way of maybe being in the world, how we perceive things. I have just finished judging the Mies van der Rohe European architecture award and you could say that there was not a lot of architecture in the winning project — or in fact in any of the shortlisted projects.
All the projects the jury selected relied heavily on some narrative that was as important as the architecture, and the winner, the DeFlat Kleiburg housing in Amsterdam, epitomises this idea that architecture is everything. This is a project for the reuse of an existing superblock, which turned modernist ideas almost completely on their head, yet offers a radical idea of affordable housing.
The architecture was careful but almost invisible. To me this is interesting; it is another aspect of what Bruno is describing, it recognises that architecture is about much more than form and materiality, which are both so important, but need a story to hold a project together and give it meaning This is something that we talk to our students about a lot, to encourage them to place themselves in the world, to place themselves within the theme that we are working on.
As a young architect, you need to have a great deal of empathy and to learn that empathy is fundamental. Well, as I say, it is about offering a counterpoint. In the end it is architecture; one has to have some ground in it. You can tell that these buildings are going to last a lot longer than the latest software. I personally believe that they will, because if our country is that stupid and says that they cannot remain, we will collapse as a culture. It is just unfortunate that the Conservative government are behaving as they are, using EU citizens as bargaining chips.
But just as we set out to be a European practice, we have no intention of ever being anything other than that; so from our point of view the question is really about how we adapt to changing circumstances. We will just have to do what is necessary. If that means we have to set up another office in Brussels, then that is what we will do. We mourn the fact that a decision has been made by a slim majority of very provincially-minded people based on the incorrect information they were given on something that has such a fundamental impact on our culture, and even on the way we interact.
So, there is an issue of principle, as well as a practical one. I will continue to regret the situation we find ourselves in, but I live in London, where the majority voted to remain in the EU, because of course Londoners experience on a daily basis the wonderful richness of our multicultural society. In practical terms what Brexit means is that it will probably cost us more money and require more administration to employ people.
At the moment we assure our staff members that we are absolutely committed to doing what needs to be done. However, we are concerned about what Brexit will entail in terms of taking part in architectural competitions, in terms of the legalities of insurance… These things could create a lot of problems for us. I would say that over the last ten or fifteen years, architecture in Europe has grown in a positive way because of the cross-fertilisation, the ability architects have had to work outside their own boundaries.
Brexit is a loss for everybody, and most within the architectural profession realise that. But you are using software in your office. Are you doing many competitions? Of course, our practice relies fundamentally on technology as a tool, but it does regard it as a kind of culture. I think it is the same for both of us: I do not know how to draw on a computer. Both Jonathan Sergison and I were educated at a time when computer-aided drawing was not taught at school, so we still draw by hand.
Is it the same for you? Yes, most of our work is based on competitions. We operate in quite a few different countries and competition systems vary, but in the end almost all our work is the result of some kind of competition. Open ones or invited ones? We prefer the invited ones Which is really fascinating to observe. Because, what you find as words in your teaching for the students is: These are the opposite of a fast, digital, and virtual world. Yes, sure and then the office must be big enough.
That is also a tremendous discussion: Sometimes it is better to take part in the open ones, because all the good offices are doing the invited ones. Compared with Germany or the UK, Switzerland has a great competition system, but it also takes a lot of effort. The quality expected and effort required are really high. In the end, every young architect has the same chance to win a competition and to build up their practice.
Architecture is about empathy, it is about emotion, it is absolutely human. In practical terms, Germany generally shortlists twenty practices, compared to, say, Belgium, where we do a lot of work and where competition shortlists tend to involve five practices. If I have the choice, obviously I choose the shorter shortlist Computers suck the life out of the drawing. Coming from this theoretical level down to your practice: How does Brexit affect your work? Well, we are a European practice and we declared that many years ago — when we started teaching outside our own country and also working on projects abroad.
Over fifty per cent of our building work is currently outside the UK. In previous years, it was seventy-five per cent, so it is a little bit more equal these days. We have a second office in Zurich, where Jonathan Sergison is based. What does Brexit mean?
Brexit has become a sort of fundamental challenge to our principles and our structure, because at this stage there is a 34 Is there a reliable chance for young architects to participate in open competitions? It is quite impossible. You could write another chapter on this subject.
Maybe it is not for the yearbook, but it is really discouraging for young people. On the other hand, some of the applications that we submit, as we have now for Freiham, are only judged on the basis of quantitative criteria, and not a single one is about quality. That is why all these big offices are always invited, and why all the others, and particularly the young, have no chance.
That is the reality here. What are the Swiss doing better than the Germans? Earlier you mentioned that you were doing a study on hospitals of the future. Will you be developing a project related to that? I gave a lot of lectures about this, and now they do not like me anymore here No, this is a bit of a hobby.
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It is an interesting challenge, as you are not just responding to a competition brief, but working at a much more strategic level. And of course our work is paid — too little, I would say. Sometimes we can afford to do things like this. The Belgian example is a positive one. The competition system for public projects is organised by the Flemish Bouwmeester, whose office will receive portfolios from any architect in Europe, which are assessed and kept on record.
When a client comes to the Bouwmeester for assistance in finding an architect, the Bouwmeester will offer ten portfolios that they believe are appropriate. The client then selects five out of those and a competition is set up. The shortlisted practices are paid for their work, and the winner gets to build the project. It is a very open, very democratic procedure and, in fact, even the presentations are often public, with the competitors in the same room, together with the client. Should there still be any competitions?
I mean, you do like competitions but there are also other ways to win clients. High-end, quality architecture is always won through competitions, I think. It is only very rarely that you get a direct commission from a client. I would say that the UK has one system worth talking about: As long as no-one starts designing, and of course some always do, the principle is that you are choosing a team, an attitude, and that involves a little bit less energy on our part. In Zurich, where you have to design a floor plan, which means every single building regulation must be complied with, even the number of stairs in a back staircase, it takes weeks and weeks of very forensic work.
In an interview situation you need a different kind of energy, as you are connecting directly with the client. On the evidence of past performance, I know that if we get in front of the client, our chances of winning double. All these different ideas about how competitions should be run, every country should implement all of them somehow.
Of course, in Switzerland competitions are a little too much about designing a complete project, which takes some hours. It is too perfect in the end. And here in Germany it is the opposite, with bad juries choosing bad projects, which does not promote quality. They are like different ecosystems. In Scandinavia they even invite students for competitions, like equal offices. What is your opinion about that? We know that many juries state that at least one out of five should be a young office.
There are techniques to involve young practices. I do not believe that removing the competition system would help young architects. In the end, it is about providing more opportunities for them to be able to compete in a reasonable way, rather than against five hundred people. For me it is certainly acceptable that in a list of five or six architectural practices you should have at least one young office.
This is a good way of doing things. That is a bit like the Swiss system. They normally invite ten to twelve practices, and at least two are really young unknowns with a nice port folio, and the jury say: Sometimes they even win or get a prize, and then they get invited a second time. That is how we started. But, going back to networks, these larger-scale projects are a phenomenon that has become more evident in the last ten years, and one of the consequences is more frequent collaboration between architects. And that, I think, is very exciting. The larger scale urban strategic projects are being designed by teams of two or three offices working together.
Eventually, each practice may work separately on an element of the project, but the establishing of the overall strategy is a joint effort. That neatly closes the circle that started with networks: I realise now that many of our projects involve collaborations with other architects these days. Ten years ago that hardly happened and I remember it was always difficult to convince a client that a project is so big that it should not be designed by one architect.
Past examples point to the need for projects to be more heterogeneous and richer, coherent but diverse in their collective identity. We built a project in Vienna together with an Austrian architect and established a really positive approach to working in urban fringe areas through our collaboration. I think it is important for architects rather than urbanists to work on large scale projects. This is architecture on another scale, and it is important not to leave it to the technocrats and traffic planners. It is part of our BK: This is why we now have these bigger jobs. They see quality that is not driven by technology, or by short-term thinking as investors would.
The most positive thing is that clients now see it as acceptable. It is all very well architects thinking it is a good idea because we are always ahead of the situation. They need simple things to operate but they are positive about the idea. This is a positive outlook for the future of young architects, if this process of collaboration, of opening up the profession, continues. If you were to sum up your thoughts in a sentence for the students, what would it be? This was all for the students I think it is important to understand that empathy is at the heart of everything you do as an architect.
There is not much encouragement in contemporary society or architecture to develop that. It is certainly one of the tasks we set ourselves when we started creating a studio environment where people feel they belong. It is a joint endeavour: Die Tugend der Wissenschaft ist Neugier — nicht das Wissen. The virtue of science is curiosity, not knowledge. Schriften zum Design, Otl Aicher, , 2. Otl Aicher, The World as Design: Du hattest das Vorwort geschrieben. You had written the foreword.
All the same, the magic of that place could still be felt everywhere. Er war ja selbst kein Architekt, hat aber die kleinen Pavillons auf seinem Anwesen in Rotis gebaut. So richtig erlaubt ist das eigentlich nicht. Aicher sagte, es gehe ihm beim Entwerfen darum, etwas zu probieren.
Dann schrieb er noch: He was not an architect, actually, but did build the small pavilions on his property in Rotis. Thus he broke free of the boundaries of his professional capacity, without any formal licence. Strictly speaking this was not really lawful. But the pavilions are beautiful.
Aicher said that when he was designing, he was trying things out. He wanted to see: Was wir als Entwerfer denken, entscheiden und tun kann nichts anderes sein als das, was wir selbst sind. Unsere erdachten und geplanten Artefakte sind letztendlich wir selbst. An impartial quest is indeed the basis of our work. What we think, decide, and do as designers cannot be anything else than what we are ourselves. Thus we cannot design anything else than an expansion of ourselves. This is restrictive and liberating in equal measure. The artefacts that we conceive and plan are, ultimately, ourselves.
Im Kern des Schaffens schafft der Architekt Beziehungen, bewertet diese und entscheidet. Hierbei wird seine Haltung sichtbar. Und jede Haltung ist angreifbar. Wenn er versucht, keine angreifbare Haltung einzunehmen, dann ist er kein Architekt. This amount is subject to change until you make payment. For additional information, see the Global Shipping Programme terms and conditions - opens in a new window or tab This amount includes applicable customs duties, taxes, brokerage and other fees.
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A book that has been read and does not look new, but is in excellent condition. No obvious damage to the book cover, with the dust jacket if applicable included for hard covers. No missing or damaged pages, no creases or tears, no underlining or highlighting of text, and no writing in the margins. Some identifying marks on the inside cover, but this is minimal. Very little wear and tear.
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