For Mauricio Pezo and Sofía Von Ellrichshausen, the architect's job is about much more than dealing with functional issues, as well as social issues, sustainability, and safety. “Of course architecture from its very essence is solving problems, and the problems constantly change,” says von Ellrichshausen in this interview with The Architectural Review outside their Vara Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale. “But probably the life span of architecture is many times larger than the problem that it addresses initially. Therefore we think of architecture more in terms of this larger span and hopefully it might embody a set of values and not necessarily propose a solution.”
Pezo von Ellrichshausen’s Vara Pavilion for the 2016 Venice Biennale is described by the architects as “a series of exteriors within other exteriors.” Breaking down this crypticness, what emerges is a maze-like complex of circles – ten of them – formed with steel, cement, and painted plaster, which collectively create a series of walls, but no roof, thus forming a pavilion that is open to the elements from above. The 324 square meter pavilion’s title, “vara,” refers to an imprecise and obsolete Spanish unit of measurement, that was employed during the country’s conquering of America to trace and measure cities. Each of circles of the Vara Pavilion is a diameter of the unit, ranging from two to eleven.
“Concrete has the ability to be primitive and technological, massive and levitating, to combine the properties of steel with those of mud,” says Rowan Moore in his list of The 10 best concrete buildings created for The Guardian. Through examples spanning three continents, Moore unites old standbys with unexpected wonders, all of which show the varied possibilities inherent in mixing water, aggregate, and cement. In a list that incorporates examples from Classical times to the present, Moore establishes concrete’s unique ability to adapt to different times, styles, applications, and treatments.
Examples by Le Corbusier, Álvaro Siza, Lina Bo Bardi, and Marcel Breuer demonstrate that concrete is anything but workaday or utilitarian. Moore’s list affirms that a material simultaneously strong and light, durable, sustainable, and fire-resistant, can scarcely be considered anything short of miraculous. Of course, ten buildings can only provide an abridged version of concrete’s possibilities, and Moore cheekily apologizes for some of the obvious omissions. Check out the full list here.
Chilean art and architecture studio Pezo von Ellrichshausen’s “Finite Format” exhibition is currently on display at one of the most important cultural sites in the Czech Republic: The House of Art of Ceske Budějovice. Composed of more than 480 paintings (Finite Format) and six ink drawings (Infinite Motive), the installation aims to demonstrate the firm’s “underlying method to understand not only the artistic qualities in a work of architecture but also the architectonic attributes of a work of art,” according to the architects.
In parallel, Pezo von Ellrichshausen also carried out a workshop with 14 architecture students from the Technical University of Liberec to conceptualize and construct a twelve-square-meter scale model for the "Infinite Motive" installation. Using the circle as the basic element, the architects reflect on how “architectonic intentions may be diluted by means of the repetition of a single figure with a diverse range of dimensions.”
Now for its third year, Portugal's famed Faculty of Architecture of the University of Porto (FAUP) will host "Porto Academy" - a week-long summer session of lectures, workshop studios and trips open to students internationally that provides the opportunity to work with the profession's finest. Planned to take place from July 20th through the 27th, this year's class will have the chance to work closely with the architects of Pezo von Ellrichshausen, Menos é Mais and many others. See a complete list of participating architects and find more details, after the break.
What influence do art and space have on the contemporary architectural design process? MoMA's most recent exhibition on architecture and design Conceptions of Space strives to answer this question. Themed under the umbrella of spatial relations, Curator Pedro Gadanho ruminates on the subject in a broad and philosophical sense. The exhibition delves into the topic using an interdisciplinary approach, incorporating research from French philosopher Michel Foucault on the subject of the expanded field. The exhibition aims to explore the relationship between the development of space and its deep-seated roots in the creative arts.
Yesterday at the Illinois Institute of Technology's (IIT), Pezo Von Ellrichshausen was awarded the prestigious Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP) for Emerging Architecture. Selected for their finely crafted, concrete Poli House, which serves as both a summer residence and cultural center on the Coliumo Peninsula, the Chilean firm was the first practice ever to receive the prize.
As an accompaniment to their ongoing Sensing Spaces Exhibition in London, the Royal Academy of Arts has produced six wonderful films interviewing the architects involved in the exhibition, unearthing what motivates and inspires them as architects, and what the primary themes of their exhibition projects are.
The above video features both Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura, who both designed their Sensing Spaces exhibits with the other in mind. Siza explains his preoccupation with the joints between the natural and the man-made through his Leça Swimming Pool complex, and the way the rock formations informed his interventions. He also introduces his one-time protégé Souto de Moura's Braga stadium as expressing the same understanding of the natural and man-made.
See videos from the 5 other Sensing Spaces participants after the break
This past week London’s Royal Academy of Arts (RA) celebrated the opening of, what many claim to be, one of the most “epic” and “enchanting” exhibitions of 2014: Sensing Space: Architecture Reimagined. With a series of large scale installations by some of profession’s most acclaimed architects, such as Eduardo Souto de Moura, and Kengo Kuma, the immersive exhibition creates an atmosphere that encourages visitors to become part of the experience and open their minds to the sensory realm of architecture.
"Architecture is so often the background to our lives," stated curator Kate Goodwin. "We often don't think about it - it's practical and functional, but when does it do something more?"
A preview of the installations, after the break.
French developer Christian Bourdais has enlisted eight architects to develop vacation homes on a 50-hectare nature reserve about two hours south of Barcelona. So far, so normal. However, each participant in the "Solo Houses" experiment was given what every architect dreams of (and hardly ever receives): carte blanche. The results, from the likes of Sou Fujimoto, Pezo von Ellrichshausen, and more, are stunning. See them all after the break...
Colorado’s Biennial of the Americas has invited artists and architects from across the Americas to participate in the second edition of Draft Urbanism: a citywide exhibition that examines the evolving relationship we have with our cities. This year, four architects - plan:b arquitectos (Colombia), Pezo von Ellrichshausen (Chile), June14 Meyer-Grohbrügge&Chermayeff (New York/Berlin), and Alex Schweder (New York) - were commissioned to each design and build a large-scale installation that address site-specific urban challenges and key planning issues presently facing downtown Denver.
With urban challenges ranging from Denver’s over abundance of surface parking lots to the effects of an 8-lane thoroughfare that splits the downtown core, these four installations aim to portray a deep understanding of the city’s history while proposing innovative ways in which art can address our urban future.
Read on to learn about the installations and view a short film for each by Cristobal Palma.
The Royal Academy of Arts’ (RA) in London will soon be transformed into a multi-sensory “architectural maze” with the construction of seven installations by seven world-famous architects for the exhibit, Sensing Space: Architecture Reimagined. Participants, handpicked by curators Kate Goodwin and Drue Heinz, include Alvaro Siza, Eduardo Souto de Moura, Pezo von Ellrichshausen and Kengo Kuma.
The bold, yet seemingly simplistic geometric structures designed by architects Mauricio Pezo and Sofia von Ellrichshausen of Pezo von Ellrichshausen are turning heads internationally, as the Chilean firm has been announced as the recipient of the fourth annual Spotlight Award. Presented by the Houston-based non-profit Rice Design Alliance (RDA), the international award spotlights “exceptionally gifted” architects during the early phase of their professional careers.
The monograph 2G presents a new way of approaching Chilean architecture. In the wake of the interesting publications of Mathias Klotz (2G 26, 2003), Smiljan Radic (2G 44, 2007) and Cecilia Puga (2G 53, 2010), now comes that of Pezo von Ellrichshausen, a firm that has proven itself around the world for its consistently outstanding, contemporary works (you can see some examples here).
LocationCamino El Venado 1130, San Pedro, San Pedro de La Paz, Región del Bío-Bío, Chile
Architects in ChargeMauricio Pezo, Sofia von Ellrichshausen
Project: Field Location: Arts Quad, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA Client: AAP, Escuela de Arquitectura, Cornell University Architects: Mauricio Pezo, Sofia von Ellrichshausen, Yehre Suh Collaborators: Sae-Jun Ahn, Laura Amaya, Jesica Bello, John Best, Irina Chernyakova, Constanza Cortes, Karen Drummund, Monica Alexandra Freundt, Thea von Geldern, Lisa Hollywood, Amanda Lee Huang, Soyoung Jung, Kyle Keene, Jina Kim, Viola Diane Kosseda, Weonyoung Joy Lee, Chris Leonberg, Timothy Liddell, Jacqueline Liu, Hana Ovcina, Mia Ovcina, Mansi Ajit Pandey, Anna Pelavin, Hilary Pinnington, Mitchell W. Pride, Lorena Quintana, Ashley Reed, Samuel J. Reilly, Landon Gary Robinson, Hira Sabuhi, Johann Schweig, Courtney Song, Jerome Soustra, Rachel Tan, Margarita Urquiza, Mauricio Vieto, Zhiqiang Wang, Christopher Werner, Sonny Meng Qi Xu, Soo Jung Yoo, Milena Zindovic Photography: Karen Brummund, Mauricio Pezo, Irina Chernyakova, Jesica Bello Project year: 2009 Construction Year: 2009 Surface: 30.000 m2 Budget: 3000 USD
This installation establishes an optical exercise extended into a landscape format. Field is a continuous and homogenous installation of 2800 red sacks filled with straw (21” wide x 32” high) that covered the entire Arts Quad of the Cornell University Campus, in Ithaca (NY). The sacks were distributed in a 10 feet by 10 feet regular grid that followed the natural slope of the ground surface.