15th International Architecture Exhibition Venice : Christian Kerez, architect and professor at ETH Zürich, was commissioned by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia to exhibit at the Pavilion of Switzerland for the Venice Architecture Biennale. The exhibition is curated by art historian Sandra Oehy. Titled ‘Incidental Space’, Kerez‘s exhibition space autonomy, and its distance from the everyday world of public and private architecture, has a potential as a base for autonomous thinking and acting that is increasingly being recognised and put to use.
Incidental Space is intended as fundamental research and its aim is to investigate the possibilities-both in technical feasibility and the limits of our own imagination-of how to think, build and experience architecture differently.
It is in pursuit of this knowledge that Kerez declares architectonic space as a postulate: architecture can be presented through the medium of architecture itself. He builds a space as an architectonic project in Bruno Giacometti‘s Swiss Pavilion. This space is an experience that takes place at a specific location and justifies itself there. It is meant to stand for only itself, as a claim or a thesis; not to serve as an illustration of some other space beyond itself, or gesture toward some particular tendency in architecture.
With this as a starting point, Kerez’s ‘Incidental Space’ attempts to explore the outer limits of what can be achieved in architecture today. How can you use the medium of architecture to contemplate an architectural space that is entirely abstract and as complex as possible? How could this kind of imaginary space even be visualised, and how could it be produced? The goal of this project was not to create a built space using any specific construction method, design method, or spatial program.
Instead, with the help of an abstract architectural objective, it aimed to produce an ‘atomized’ space, a small space with possible maximum complexity and with infinite interior extension-a space whose whose visual character cannot be something easily decoded, that doesn’t depict or represent any other space, that defies univocality and withdraws from any unambiguous legibility. In short, Christian Kerez sought to create a space that in no way corresponds to what architecture has hitherto considered to be architectural space.
With this project, Kerez reveals the extent to which the depiction of architecture can alter the very nature and possibilities of architecture. Incorporating the ephemeral aspect of an exhibition ‘Incidental Space‘ could only be achieved at this specific moment in time using the latest technologies and all available resources, extend research groundwork and expertise of an extensive network of collaborators. In this sense, it positively reflects the potential of architectural production as an interdisciplinary practice of architecture beyond the building. This reality demands for an intensive exchange between research and architectural practice, as well as highly technicalized interdisciplinary collaboration among architects, engineers, art experts and specialists in digital production.
Photo Courtesy : Christian Kerez