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.
In this fourth episode of GSAPP Conversations, third-year GSAPP Master of Architecture student Ayesha Ghosh speaks with Swiss architect Christian Kerez, who delivered the opening lecture of the school's Spring 2017 Semester. Kerez's recent projects include Incidental Space at the Swiss Pavillion of the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, an amorphous structure which raised questions of the limits of imagination and technical feasibility in architecture today.
The office of Peter Zumthor has been selected to design an expansion to the Beyeler Foundation, located just outside Zumthor’s childhood home of Basel, Switzerland. The Swiss architect was chosen from a prestigious shortlist of 11 firms to add to the existing museum building, designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop and completed in 1997.
“The sky above Basel, the city and its surroundings–those are the landscapes of my youth,” said Zumthor. “It is heart-warming to be able to design a major building here.”
Kerez, Herzog & de Meuron and Studio Gang Shortlisted to Design London's Royal College of Art's Battersea Campus
London's Royal College of Art (RCA) have revealed seven invited shortlisted practices for its new state-of-the-art £108million Battersea South campus. Featuring a smattering of architects from Europe, including Herzog & de Meuron and Lacaton & Vassal, and from the USA, such as Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Studio Gang, the organisation intends to announce the winning scheme in October 2016.
As part of ArchDaily's coverage of the 2016 Venice Biennale, we are presenting a series of articles written by the curators of the exhibitions and installations on show.
All architecture is exhibitionist. Exhibitions are not simply sites for the display of architecture, they are sites for the incubations of new forms of architecture and new ways of thinking about architecture.  – Beatriz Colomina
An architecture biennale can be more than a place to simply represent and celebrate the status quo in architectural production. The Biennale’s state of exception and its spatial distance from where people normally work open up a space for examining and critically questioning the conditions of everyday work and production. Although, technologically speaking, more is possible today than ever before, in recent years architects’ creative latitude has been greatly reined in by an enormous—and growing—burden of rules and regulations. Against this background, the architectural exhibition is becoming an ever more relevant medium for a critical practice of architecture. Understood in these terms, an exhibition is no longer just a place for representing architecture ex post facto, as it is still often treated today. Instead, the fact of the exhibition space’s autonomy, and its distance from the “real” world of public and private architecture, has a potential that is increasingly being recognized and put to use. Exhibitions are becoming a place for researching and producing an experimental and critical architectural practice: a place not for the presentation of finished products, but for the production of content. The simultaneous limitations and license to experiment lent by the exhibition space focuses the object of research, allowing for the emergence of new insights, interpretations, and meanings. This calls into question the supposed boundary between architecture and the exhibition. Inquiry becomes a form of display.
Christian Kerez will close the 2nd Critical Distance cycle organized by the Lisbon Architecture Triennale. The Swiss architect is this year invited to represent his country at the 15th Venice Architectural Biennale. In his architecture, Kerez explores the structural elements as the most visible element of his buildings, strongly illustrated in projects such as a school in Leutschenbach, Switzerland, or a skyscraper in China.
The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia has nominated Christian Kerez, a Venezuela-born, Swiss architect, to represent Switzerland at the 15th Architecture Biennial in Venice in 2016. The exhibition will be curated by Swiss art historian Sandra Oehy, and will be on display at the Biennial from May 28 to November 27, 2016. Switzerland will also be represented by <<Salon Suisse>>, a platform for discussion and debate on contemporary art and architecture.
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.
LocationLeutschenbach, Saatlenfussweg 3, 8050 Zürich, Switzerland
Architect in ChargeChristian Kerez
TeamChristian Scheidegger (project manager), Lukas Camponovo, Andrea Casiraghi
Structural EngineerDr. Schwartz Consulting, Zug, Joseph Schwartz with dsp, Zurich, Walter Kaufmann, Mario Monotti
Construction ManagementBGS, Rapperswil