Recherche et Publications

Some architectural writers of the 20th century

In 1972, Nikolaus Pevsner published the book ‘Some architectural writers of the nineteenth century’. The current state of architectural theory, history and criticism asks for an update to his study: overspecialization in the architectural humanities has made combinations of historical research, critical judgments and theoretical speculation quite difficult. Nevertheless, only some decades ago many important ‘architectural writers’ were active in the architectural culture of the Western World. The aim of this monographic research is to define their intellectual projects, and to interpret their ideas on architecture before the fragmentation of its cultural and scientific field.

The fate of architectural singularity

In an essay from 1989, American writer John Updike asked himself if architecture can be criticized. ‘Isn’’t one duty of architecture’, he wrote, ‘simply to be different – to give us a sense of change and renewal in our lives?’ Updike as such unwittingly defined architecture as the production of ‘singular objects’, in for example the postmarxist vein of a philosopher like Jean Baudrillard, who declared, in a conversation with Jean Nouvel: ‘A work of architecture is a singularity, and all these singularities can create holes, interstices and voids in the metastatic fullness of culture.’ Given the worldwide – mostly visual – ‘success’ of architecture, this critical tradition has without a doubt come into affliction, not in the least because its roots in old and often premoderns traditions has remained unexposed.

1989: a year in the life and work of OMA

The year 1989 can be regarded as a turning point for contemporary Western architecture: after the fall of the Berlin Wall, its social power and pretensions were gradually replaced by a mere ‘cultural’ presence; instead of creating or defining urban environments, architects fell back on the construction of ‘merveilles’. One architectural firm embodied this shift emblematically: the Office for Metropolitan Architecture of Rem Koolhaas. A micro-historical inquiry into the projects of OMA from 1989 – such as the Très Grand Bibliothèque, the Sea Trade Center, the completion of the IJ-plein social housing project, but also the Villa dall’Ava – can help to circumscribe this historical, theoretical and critical evolution.

The Genesis of the Rotterdam Kunsthal

To this day, the reception of the architecture of OMA has been largely dominated by the ideological discourse of its co-founder, Rem Koolhaas. Following the example of Koolhaas’ various writings and statements, the discussion of his work still tends to the generic, tuning out those myriads of questions concerning form, inevitable in the process of designing and execution. By focusing on one of the office’s built projects—the Kunsthal in Rotterdam—this research intends to highlight the specificity of the single work of architecture and thus liberate it from the grasp of its author’s own reading. The building’s genesis—i.e. the process of its design and realization—is to be reconstructed. Thus providing the evidence of the “making” of the Kunsthal and form as its major concern, the investigation aims at opening new ways of seeing Koolhaas’ theoretical positions and the relationship between the “thinker” and the architect, whose interests are inevitably opposed to abstraction.

The reciprocal relation between architecture and philosophy: historical and contemporary moment of connection

There is an abundance of literature – architectural and philosophical, and especially post-modern – in which a relation between architecture and philosophy is at work, with one engaging the other directly, or simply in a marginal or implicit manner. Especially contemporary architectural discourse, be it by theoreticians, practitioners, or critics, frequently resorts to philosophical thought, themes, and references in order to discover, clarify, and express deeper dimensions of the architectural work – at least when not merely used as a legitimization tool which imports an aura of authority from the philosopher. Indeed, for architects, philosophy seems implicit to some point of architectural activity, and especially of its thought, while in philosophy it has grown from a sporadic marginal and/or metaphoric reference to a problematic part of aesthetics theories to an attractive mystery for multiple philosophical sub-disciplines, and one mode of their practical consequential engagement upon the world.

Despite this importance, any inquiry into this relation is immediately and surprisingly struck by the manifest lack of literature about the relation itself and its implications. Why does architecture resort to philosophy? How? What comes about? What does this say about architecture? What can it say about philosophy? And, venturing beyond description into prescription, should there be this relation, and if so how ought it be carried out? What are the recurring problems, what are the appealing promises, what are the unexplored potentials?


Articles de journaux

2023

Rogue and Trickster. Luigi Moretti, Real Estate and the Villa Triptych

M. Bonomo 

Burning.Farm. 2023-12-13. Vol. 2, num. 2, p. 1-14.

Patronage as Collaboration. Dante Bini’s Villas in Sardinia

M. Bonomo 

Dimensions. Journal of Architectural Knowledge. 2023-12-04. Vol. 3, num. No. 5/2023: Collaborations: Rethinking Architectural Design, p. 179-204. DOI : 10.14361/dak-2023-0511.

The City of Janus: A Close Reading of Hannes Meyer’s Freidorf

S. Savio 

Burning Farm. A Journal on Architecture and Domestic Space. 2023-10-10. 

2022

The Depot Effect

C. van Gerrewey 

Log. 2022. num. 55, p. 38-47.

2021

An unnatural exception. Profile: Piet Oudolf

C. van Gerrewey 

De Groene Amsterdammer. 2021-08-26. Vol. 34.

A Large, Finite Permutation of Specific, Discrete Variants: Dan Graham’s Children’s Pavilion at Chambres d’Amis (1986)

C. Van Gerrewey 

Konsthistorisk Tidskrift. 2021-06-23. Vol. 90, num. 3, p. 159-187. DOI : 10.1080/00233609.2021.1942978.

Laugh(ing) of(f) the lyre

A. Patrão 

Drawing Matter. 2021-03-22. 

Signature

A. Patrão 

Drawing Matter. 2021-02-15. 

Construire l’utopie en miroir. Entretien avec Jean-Louis Cohen

S. Savio 

Tracés. 2021-02-08. num. 2, p. 26-28.

Soziale Kondensatoren. Kommunehaus, Arbeiterklub, Hybrid und Co.: Architektur als Medium soziokultureller Gestaltung

T. Pataky 

werk, bauen + wohnen. 2021. num. 11, p. 13-18.

2020

L’architecture sous rayons X. Entretien avec Beatriz Colomina

S. Savio 

Tracés. 2020-09-04. num. 11, p. 36-37.

Benjamin’s Flu

C. Van Gerrewey 

Architectural Theory Review. 2020-08-27. Vol. 24, num. 2, p. 184-187. DOI : 10.1080/13264826.2020.1804981.

Koolhaas’ Revision of Foucault’s panopticon; or how architecture and philosophy just met

A. Patrão 

Architecture Philosophy. 2020-06-10. Vol. 5, num. 1, p. 59-76.

Nous en savons désormais trop. Déchiffrer la lecture de Penser

C. van Gerrewey 

Matières. 2020. num. 16, p. 228-237. DOI : 10.5169/seals-984520.

Papiers de conférences

2023

Villa: Type or Model? Framing a Contradiction in the Context of Post-war Italy

 

2023-06-19. The Fifth Typology. A Symposium on Type and Architecture, Lausanne, Switzerland, April 4-5, 2023.

2022

Rem raconte

C. van Gerrewey 

2022-11-17. L’architecture au moyen de la fiction. Histoire, théorie et projet, Paris, France, November 17-18, 2021.

One Critic, One Architect: The Birth of the Reader

C. van Gerrewey 

2022. European Architectural History Network, 7th International Conference, Madrid, 15.07.2022-18.07.2022.

2021

The ideal critic

C. van Gerrewey 

2021-11-26. Kunstkritiek door de ogen van een schrijvers, Brussels, Belgium, November 26, 2021.

Obliged to be Honourable. The Transgressions of OMA/Rem Koolhaas

C. van Gerrewey 

2021-11-18. Transgression: A New paradigm?, Online, November 17-19, 2021.

Truth Content: SANAA’s Rolex Learning Center at EPFL

C. van Gerrewey 

2021. International Conference on Architectural Criticism “On the Duty and Power of Architectural Criticism”, Online, October 9-17, 2021.

Reviews

2023

Broadway im Hinterhof. Théâtre de Carouge von Pont 12

S. Savio 

werk, bauen + wohnen. 2023. num. 1/2.

2022

Struggling with Gravity. Province Headquarters by XDGA

C. van Gerrewey 

A+. 2022. num. 293, p. 114-121.

Back to Brick: Bovenbouw & Sergison Bates

C. van Gerrewey 

A+. 2022. num. 294, p. 34-38.

2021

Built Upon Love. Francesca Torzo’s Z33

C. van Gerrewey 

Journal of Civic Architecture. 2021-12-01. Vol. 8.

Mourir, c’est un art

C. van Gerrewey 

A+. 2021-06-28. 

Struggling with gravity. XDGA’s Province Headquarter

C. van Gerrewey 

A+. 2021. 

Beim Wort genommen

T. Pataky 

werk, bauen + wohnen. 2021. num. 9, p. 49-50.

2020

Ettore Sottsass & Andrea Branzi

C. van Gerrewey 

De Witte Raaf. 2020. num. 208.

Tauba Auerbach. S v Z

C. van Gerrewey 

De Witte Raaf. 2020. num. 207.

Matt Mullican. Representing the Work

C. van Gerrewey 

De Witte Raaf. 2020. num. 207.

Francesca Torzo, Z33

C. van Gerrewey 

De Witte Raaf. 2020. num. 207.

Philippe Van Snick. Territorium

C. van Gerrewey 

De Witte Raaf. 2020. num. 206.

Pierre Huyghe

C. van Gerrewey 

De Witte Raaf. 2020. num. 205.

Bernd Lohaus. Im Sein Bei

C. van Gerrewey 

De Witte Raaf. 2020. num. 204.

Buren. Kijken kijken kijken

C. van Gerrewey 

De Witte Raaf. 2020. num. 204.

The Last Judgment Sculpture. Anthony Caro

C. van Gerrewey 

De Witte Raaf. 2020. num. 203.

Mondo Mendini

C. van Gerrewey 

De Witte Raaf. 2020. num. 203.

Livres

2022

matières 17: Barres

C. van Gerrewey 

Lausanne: EPFL Press, 2022.

Elegir arquitectura

C. van Gerrewey 

Barcelona: Puente Editores, 2022.

2021

Savoir supérieur : Le Rolex Learning Center de SANAA à EPFL depuis 2010

C. van Gerrewey 

Lausanne: EPFL Press, 2021.

Higher knowledge : SANAA’s Rolex Learning Center at EPFL since 2010

C. van Gerrewey 

Lausanne: EPFL Press, 2021.

OASE 108. Ups & Downs. Reception Histories in Architecture

J. Agyin; J. Engels; D. Peleman; C. van Gerrewey 

Rotterdam: nai010, 2021.

Thèses

2021

Inventory of Problems: The Genesis of the Rotterdam Kunsthal by OMA/Rem Koolhaas, 1987-1992

T. B. Pataky / C. van Gerrewey (Dir.)  

Lausanne, EPFL, 2021. 

Chapitres de livres

2023

May 2021

S. Savio 

Unearthing Traces. Dismantling imperialist entanglements of archives, landscapes, and the built environment; EPFL Press; Centre d’Art Neuchâtel, 2023.

2022

Transparency and obstacle in architecture, from Le Corbusier to Rem Koolhaas

C. van Gerrewey 

The Limits of Transparency; Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2022.

November 24, 2020

C. van Gerrewey 

Seven Questions; Berlin: Ruby Press, 2022.

Truth Content: SANAA’s Rolex Learning Center

C. van Gerrewey 

On the Duty and Power of Architectural Criticism; Zürich: Park Books, 2022.

Loosely Fluttering in Space

C. van Gerrewey 

Olivier Goethals: Play Sincerely; Amsterdam: ROMA, 2022.

Transparency and Obstacle in Architecture. From Le Corbusier to Koolhaas

C. van Gerrewey 

This Obscure Thing Called Transparency. Politics and Aesthetics of a Contemporary Metaphor; Leuven University Press, 2022. p. 280.

2021

Against Rationalism

C. van Gerrewey 

Grand dessein du rationalisme; Brussels: Accattone, 2021. p. 66.

2020

Seven aims and claims of the architectural model

C. van Gerrewey 

Isle of Models. Architecture and Scale; Zürich: Triest Verlag, 2020.

‘Luc Deleu says farewell to architecture’, ‘The Red House’

C. van Gerrewey 

Luc Deleu & T.O.P. Office: Future Plans 1970-2020; Antwerp: Flanders Architecture Institute, 2020.

Présentations

2023

Villas through Press. The Endorsement of the Escape by Hoepli and Görlich in Postwar Italy

M. Bonomo 

Doc.days EDAR, Lausanne, Switzerland, April 24, 2023.

Some Houses Are Worth Reading Twice. The Greenhouse Effects Of The House Latapie, 30 Years After

T. A. Pratas Borges 

Course “Theory and Architectural Culture”, Lausanne, Switzerland, April 6, 2023.

‘How To Build a Villa By The Sea’ The Implicit Project of Villa-mania in Post-war Italy (1948-1973)

M. Bonomo 

Doc Talks Lightining, Zurich / Zoom, January 24, 2023.

“Red Delight in Green Silence.” Hannes Meyer and the Ideal City of Freidorf (1919-1924)

S. Savio 

The Fifth Typology. A Symposium on Type and Architecture, EPFL, April 4 and 5, 2023.

Constructing the Dream Villas on Display in Italy in 1933 & 1964

M. Bonomo 

Studying Architecture Exhibitions Doctoral Workshops, Gent, Belgium, January 19, 2023.

“A Modernist Marriage of Consumption and Art.” Hannes Meyer in Ghent (1924)

S. Savio 

Studying Architecture Exhibitions, Ghent University, Belgium, January 19, 2023.

2021

Slow Learners

C. van Gerrewey 

Re-Worlding Lecture, Hasselt, Belgium, November 25, 2021.

Everyone Civil Servant! the social organization of the settlement cooperative ‘Freidorf’

S. Savio 

Last supper: a roundtable on cooperatives, social condensers, labor of love, EPFL, Superstudio with Roberto Gargiani, November 3, 2021.

Hannes Meyer: Between Mass Propaganda and Social Critique

S. Savio 

5th Rencontres of EDAR: Digital Minds, EPFL (online), June 11, 2021.

Two or Three Projects I Know on Cooperative Living

S. Savio 

DocTalks, ETH Zurich (online), November 23, 2021.

Hannes Meyer, Arieh Sharon und die gemeinnützigen Organisationen (1919-1948)

S. Savio 

Kolloquium ‘Geschichte der Arbeitswelten und der Gewerkschaften’, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Archiv der sozialen Demokratie, Bonn (online), December 17, 2021.

2020

Jean et Jean face-à-face: le dialogue entre l’architecture et la philosophie à travers Baudrillard et Nouvel

A. Patrão 

Séminaire HEPIA: Penser et Habiter le Monde, Geneva, Switzerland, December 14-18, 2020.

Projets d'étudiants

2023

L’usine imaginaire. Transformation d’un monument industriel en centre de création dans le vieux Port de Rio de Janeiro

E. Ribadeau Dumas 

2023.

Repair! Reclaiming Berlin’s Workers’ Housing through Collaborative Transformation

T. Martens 

2023.

« Domesticolare »: éclectique de l’espace domestique

C. Kempter 

2023.

Yanaka – Vers un renouvellement urbain socialement durable

S. N. Heini 

2023.

La Halte: un quai pour l’inclusion et la réinsertion sans tabous

L. Flury; G. Hasler 

2023.

Paris, Transit: plate-forme alimentaire du dernier kilomètre

M-A. Farrell; M. Rossi 

2023.

Les mécanismes cinématographiques: un ballet entropique dans les entrailles d’un parking

L. Duchamp 

2023.

Dialectique de la répétition. Logements étudiants à Londres

N. Benarroch 

2023.

2022

L’État dans la ville. Campus pour la fonction publique à Québec

G-É. Adam 

2022.

Janus. Revalorisation d’un quartier lausannois de la fin du XIXe siècle

L. Benjamin; B. Merz 

2022.

Rénovation à la carte – une réhabilitation personnalisée du bloc communiste, Bucarest

A. Bosman 

2022.

De l’habitant au passant. Stratégie d’habitat pour la coexistence (Kreuzberg, Berlin)

B. Burget 

2022.

Le Clos Fleuri. Étude de transformation d’un bâti rural dans une zone périurbaine

P. Castella 

2022.

rePanser Noailles: réhabilitation d’immeubles anciens à Marseille

A. De Vaulx 

2022.

Séquences pour un centre-ville sensible, social et identitaire à Nyon

S. Deliyski 

2022.

Université libérée d’architecture de Berne. Università liberata di architettura di BernaBefreite Universität der Architektur in Bern

G. Gasser 

2022.

Frames. Stratégies de cohabitation urbaine à Lugano

M. Helfenstein 

2022.

Après l’apocalypse. Un commerce dans l’ère digitale

S. Lendi 

2022.

CMPS45: architecture pionnière pour en finir avec le campus de l’EPFL

S. Nicolas 

2022.

Centre d’art contemporain des Coulisses

N. Paris 

2022.

Voix d’habitantes, le bâti d’une maison des femmes à Genève

A. Pestalozzi Nolte; O. Pinto 

2022.

Minimum Transgressif. Festival temporaire à Choindez

L. Stähelin 

2022.

Le Town Hall Virtuel, une architecture pour l’internet immersif

R. Trivelli 

2022.

Jardins de Sarkandaugava. Un sentier à travers l’inachevé en Lettonie

B. Zavadska 

2022.

2021

Une Maison sans drame : infrastructure pour la prostitution de rue

C. Wernli 

2021.
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[Dé]dramatisation d’une corrala du Quartier de Lavapiés, Madrid

L. Virgillito 

2021.
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“The New Tempelhof Experience”, transformation d’un aéroport nazi en un lieu de vie expérimental et alternatif pour les Berlinois

M. Rozenberg 

2021.
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Engager l’architecture: la Maison-Matrice somme site d’expérimentation d’un processus contributif

J. Estoppey 

2021.
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Le Vent d’Est – Centre pour « Commuters »

R. Barth 

2021.
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Saint Louis, les stratégies du « blight »

P. Audemard D’Alançon 

2021.
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« Cargo »: une figure de pierre au cœur de la zone ferroviaire de Renens

P. Allaz 

2021.

Documents d'enseignement

2022

Hannes Meyer and ‘Freidorf’ (1919-1925): a project for a settlement cooperative

S. Savio 

2022.

2021

Co-opérative de colonisation ‘Freidorf’ à Muttenz (1919-1924)

S. Savio 

2021.

2020

The panopticon, an architectural-philosophical object

A. Patrão 

2020-12-01.

Média

2020

Conversation avec Rem Koolhaas

C. van Gerrewey; C. Catsaros; A. Oosterman; R. Koolhaas 

2020.