In one of his 1922 travel essays for the Toronto Star Ernest Hemingway wrote, in a typically thewy tone, of “a small, steep country, much more up and down than sideways and all stuck over with large brown hotels built [in] the cuckoo style of architecture.” This was his Switzerland: a country cornered in the heartland of Europe and yet distant from so much of its history. A nation which, for better or worse and particularly over the course of the 20th Century, has cultivated and become subject to a singularly one-dimensional reputation when it comes to architectural culture and the built environment.
For many centuries, the demands of gravity appeared to give architecture one requirement that was largely unquestionable: that structures must rise vertically. However, with the advent of steel it was revealed that this limit had not been provided by gravity but by our own limited technologies. In this text, originally published by Domus Magazine in Italian and shared with ArchDaily by the author, Alberto Campo Baeza reflects on the architectural freedom offered by steel structures and the arbitrariness they bring to architectural space.
Isaac Newton was resting under an apple-tree in his garden when an apple fell on his head. Being endowed with such a privileged head and thoughts faster than lightning, he rose forthwith from his afternoon nap and set about calculating the acceleration of gravity.
Had Sir Isaac Newton had a little more patience and had he taken his time in getting to his feet, he might have noticed how, following the apple, a few leaves also fell from that same apple-tree, and while they fell, they did so in quite a different manner to the apple.
From the Publisher. Valerio Olgiati asked architects to send him important images that show the basis of their work. Images that are in their head when they think. Images that show the origin of their architecture.
The list comprises the 44 most unique architects living today: David Adjaye, Francisco Aires Mateus, Manuel Aires Mateus, Alejandro Aravena, Ben van Berkel, Mario Botta, Alberto Campo Baeza, Adam Caruso, Peter St John, David Chipperfield, Preston Scott Cohen, Hermann Czech, Roger Diener, Peter Eisenman, Sou Fujimoto, Antón Garcia-Abril, Go Hasegawa, Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Steven Holl, Anne Holtrop, Junya Ishigami, Arata Isozaki, Toyo Ito, Bijoy Jain (Studio Mumbai), Momoyo Kaijima, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto (Atelier Bow-Wow), Christian Kerez, Hans Kollhoff, Winy Maas (MVRDV), Peter Märkli, Jürgen Mayer H., Richard Meier, Glenn Murcutt, Ryue Nishizawa, Valerio Olgiati, John Pawson, Cecilia Puga, Smiljan Radic, Richard Rogers, Kazuyo Sejima, Jonathan Sergison, Stephen Bates, Miroslav Šik, Alvaro Siza Vieira, Eduardo Souto de Moura, Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, Peter Wilson (Bolles + Wilson), Peter Zumthor.
Through this installation, Swiss architect Valerio Olgiati explores the ambiguous and complex “common ground” of inspiration and imagination in architecture. Images, selected by architects from around the world, represent the infinitely varied forms of visual material that are collected in their imaginations and subsequently transformed through the creative process.