christian kerez, incidental space, installation view, swiss pavilion at the 15th architecture exhibition
photo by oliver dubuis

 

 

 

in recent years, architects’ creative latitude has been greatly reined in by an enormous—and growing—burden of rules and regulations. against this backdrop, the venice architecture biennale is becoming ever more, a relevant venue to discuss the critical and experimental practice of architecture. the fact of the exhibition space’s 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 recognized and put to use. in this case, autonomy is not to be understood as the self-referential l’art pour l’art, but as a protected opportunity for deviance, a pre-requisite for the success of new forms of socialbility in a highly technologicalized world of such complexity that no one can have a sole overview anymore.

 

this is the point in which architect christian kerez enters, erecting ‘incidental space’ as a fundamental research within the swiss pavilion for the 15th international architecture exhibition in venice. curated by sandra oehy and commissioned by the swiss arts council pro helvetia, the interactive installation is aimed at investigating the possibilities—both in terms of technical feasibility and the limits of our own imagination—of how to think, build and experience architecture differently.

venice architecture biennale 2016 swiss pavilion christian kerez designboom
‘incidental space’ underlines how depiction of the built environment can alter the very nature of architecture
photo by oliver dubuis

 

 

 

realized as an architectonic structure, ‘incidental space’ is an experience that takes place at a specific location, justifying itself there—standing only for 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. here, kerez attempts to explore the outer limits of what can be achieved in architecture today, asking questions such as: ‘how can you use the medium of architecture to contemplate an architectural space that is entirely abstract and as complex as possible?’, and ‘how could this kind of imaginary space even be visualized, and how could it be produced?‘.

venice architecture biennale 2016 swiss pavilion christian kerez designboom
detail of the dynamic cloud-like structure
image © designboom

 

 

 

the goals for this project were not to develop a built environment using any construction method, design method or spatial program. rather, kerez brings forth an atomized space—a small space with maximum possible complexity and with infinite interior extension. a space whose visual character cannot be something easily decoded, ensuring that it does not depict or represent any other space, but defies univocality and withdraws itself from any unambiguous legibility. ‘incidental space’ in no way corresponds to what architecture has been considered to be architectural space.

detail of the digitally rendered structure
image © designboom

 

 

 

positioned with the swiss pavilion’s sala di pittura, the spatial model is the result of the coupling and sequencing of craftsmanship and digital processes. kerez utilized various technical translation assistants to render a detail-rich architectonic space appears, revealing the greatest complexities possible. as a result, the installation symbolically stands in various conditions of aggregation as a cloud of data.
christian kerez swiss pavilion venice architecture biennale designboom
the installation explores how the use of digital processes can be employed to create built spaces
photo by oliver dubuis

 

 

 

lining the walls of the swiss pavilion’s sala di scultura, is a monumental wallpaper that offers a digital scan—not just mere illustrations but the building plans for the space—and corresponding photographic details of the physical model, scaled 1:1 in relation to the actual built structure. as ‘incidental space’ is highly complex in visual terms, decoding it presents a challenge to the viewer: thanks to the sheer multiplicity of possible readings, in its material presence a moment of resistance is produced, stimulating reflection.
christian kerez swiss pavilion venice architecture biennale designboom
the installation reflects architectural production as an interdisciplinary practice of architecture beyond the building
photo by oliver dubuis

 

 

 

in its entirety, ‘incidental space’ reflects the potential of architectural production as an interdisciplinary practice of architecture beyond the building. it 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.

the exhibition was commissioned by swiss arts council pro helvetia
image © designboom

 

 

 

for more images, follow designboom on our dedicated instagram account @venice.architecture.biennale

christian kerez swiss pavilion venice architecture biennale designboom
entrance into the ‘incidental space’
photo by oliver dubuis
christian kerez venice architecture biennale designboom
visitors are invited to climb through a centrally positioned structure
image © designboom
christian kerez swiss pavilion venice architecture biennale designboom
‘incidental space’ is a small environment with maximum possible complexity, and with infinite interior extension
photo by oliver dubuis
christian kerez swiss pavilion venice architecture biennale designboom
christian kerez attempts to explore the outer limits of what can be achieved in architecture today
photo by oliver dubuis
christian kerez swiss pavilion venice architecture biennale designboom
christian kerez, incidental space, installation view, swiss pavilion at the 15th architecture exhibition
photo by oliver dubuis
christian kerez swiss pavilion venice architecture biennale designboom
christian kerez, incidental space, installation view, swiss pavilion at the 15th architecture exhibition
photo by keystone/gaëtan ballychristian kerez swiss pavilion venice architecture biennale designboom
christian kerez, incidental space, installation view, swiss pavilion at the 15th architecture exhibition
photo by oliver dubuis
christian kerez swiss pavilion venice architecture biennale designboom
architect christian kerez with swiss pavilion curator sandra oehy
photo by keystone/gaëtan bally christian kerez swiss pavilion venice architecture biennale designboom
‘incidental space’ sits within the swiss pavilion’s sala di pittura
photo by oliver dubuis
christian kerez swiss pavilion venice architecture biennale designboom
christian kerez, incidental space, installation view, swiss pavilion at the 15th architecture exhibition
photo by oliver dubuis
christian kerez swiss pavilion venice architecture biennale designboom
a monumental wallpaper that offers a digital scan of the building plans for ‘incidental space’
photo by keystone/gaëtan bally christian kerez swiss pavilion venice architecture biennale designboom
photographic details of ‘incidental space’ line the walls of the sala di scultrua
photo by keystone/gaëtan bally christian kerez swiss pavilion venice architecture biennale designboom
entrance to the swiss pavilion and christian kerez’s ‘incidental space’
photo by keystone/gaëtan bally

 

 

 

swiss pavillion credits:

 

commissioners: swiss arts council pro helvetia – marianne burki, head of visual arts; sandi paucic, project manager for swiss participation venice biennale
deputy commissioner: swiss arts council pro helvetia – rachele giudici legittimo, project coordinator for swiss participation venice biennale
exhibitor: christian kerez
curator: sandra oehy

 

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