Skip to topic | Skip to bottom
Hiaz.DecosterdAndRahmr1.1 - 05 Jul 2005 - 13:16 - TWikiGuesttopic end

Start of topic | Skip to actions

Hans Ulrich Obrist:
So it was more "micro" than XXL?

Philippe Rahm:
It could be XXL in the sense that we were also interested in the links with climate, that is, the global climate when it runs counter to micro-events in specific places. The first competition in which we participated was in 1994. It involved a prefabricated garage, and the principal question was: How do you make a prefabricated concrete garage today? We won this competition with our concept of accepting the reality of concrete as an imperfect and somewhat corrupted material, conceived in block forms in such a way that it doesn't have a beautiful gray surface, or it is damaged when the forms are removed - the corners are always somewhat nicked. The architect customers of this concrete products company always asked for perfect, smooth, homogeneous concrete with clean corners. This did not respond to the reality of the material that the manufacturers knew. The architects were seeking in reinforced-concrete expression a type of pure expression that was not compatible with the reality of the material.

We, on the other hand, responded by accepting and utilizing all the physical and constructive parameters of the concrete. So we were reversing the commonly accepted idea. We were proposing to add iron oxide to the concrete, which made it even stronger but, since it was not controlled, could also create stains and transform the texture of the concrete. That opened its up to an understanding of the chemical and physical reactions of materials under the effect of the environment. It also opened its up to all the questions of efflorescence, the earthenware effect, creep, and salpetrization - which are questions of architecture because they are questions of maintenance of materials over time - problems of entropy.

Hans Ulrich Obrist:
How do you envisage the role of the context in architecture? Can we make comparisons, via the question of context, with the art of the 1990s, in which there was a great deal of discussion about context, from contextual art to Koolhaas's "Fuck Context"?

Philippe Rahm:
We don't take the cultural context or the historical context into account. The context is there as a physical environment that can he either natural or artificial. There is also the idea of architecture as something that no longer ends in a spatial definition or an environment but which integrates all the parameters that condition this architecture. It is a spatial or climatic transformation of the territory, and this transformation also interferes with the organic, with the organism, with the person. The interior of the body, the envelope of the body, and the outside world are interdependent. We are not looking for any contextual, pictorial, or narrative relationship. That is also how it differs from the architecture of the 1990s. In our work there is no question of context, except on a physical or chemical level. In 1996 we designed a house in which the concrete eroded over time, gradually - crumbled, and then returned to the earth. We chose as the base a concrete rich in potassium and phosphate, the two primary nutritional substances that form the basis for the growth of plants. Our idea as that the deterioration of the structure, Robert Smithson's entropy, was no longer something detached and abstract, it was fully a part of a logical relationship with the environment. So the deterioration of a structure is no longer a cultural deterioration.

This is also the work that Gilles Clement is doing with plants, and to which we have often been close since 1995. We are still working together. We are now designing a park ill San Sebastian, in Spain. The idea behind this erodible house project is the eating of one's own house, the idea of a building that disintegrates and falls into ruins in the ground, and the elements of these ruins then become the chemical components of humus and feed the plants, which then perhaps give rise to trees, then apples that ill be eaten. There is an alimentary, link with our house. It is selfdestructive and nourishing. This is a genuine reversal of, or a departure from, the cultural parameters usually projected onto deterioration.

-- HiazHhzz - 21 Apr 2004
to top

You are here: Hiaz > DecosterdAndRahm

to top

Copyright © 1996 - 2006 by hiaz. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding TWiki? Send feedback.