dialogue #27

House A (Antonias Workshop)

Like in the round before, a paper collage was composed by the painter Dominique Jehle, using as inspiration the areal picture of the site of a project by the architects Stich & Oswald. Again it was sent by mail to the architects and interpreted by them in a fast concrete relief, using modelbuliding left-over materials as formwork.

Unlike in round I though, in this round, there occurred a misunderstanding: Where as the paper collage depicted the site of an unbuilt project close to Basel, it was interpreted in concrete as another (built) project, 140km away, close to St.Gallen.

The simultaneity of representation of a spatial conditions and intrinsic qualities of the resulting objects is common in architectural plans and in painting. The method of the repeated mail communication produces a cadavre-exquis-like transformation of a site, or a transformation of the perception of a site. Context becomes intention, which is again the context for an intention, and so on. And due to the misunderstanding, this transformation happened in its extreme: Textures grew into buildings, spatial proportions became soft and water was solidified as trees.

The „error“ was only discovered weeks after the relief was sent back to the artist and regarded by both parties as an enrichment of the work. The miscommunication raised the question to which extent our production is real by itself or only becomes real through the perception of the spectator.

Coordinates: 47°27’48.6“N 8°57’55.6″E

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A thousand tries

When confronted with the topic of “representation of intentions”, we were interested in the process of the translation of an abstract thought into a drawing, in the dialogue established between mind and representation. When an architect draws and redraws slight variations of an idea over and over, often on the same piece of paper, layers of lines are put one on top of the other. Each trace is the expression of a series of thoughts, constraints, questions, and intentions. Each line informs the next, and then the next; but also new parameters and possibilities appear, creating a rich density of superimposed layers.


The result is a blur, often indecipherable for everyone but the person drawing it, which is both one, and a thousand projects. The act of repetition, again and again, allows the variable of time to materialize in the final result. Imagine a dancer practicing a move in a loop. Or an actor rehearsing his or her lines. Every time with a different modulation of the voice, facial expression, articulation of the silences, and body moves. The final result of this process is the realization of just one of these attempts, and at the same time, of all of them. It is one of the thousand possible tries, but implicitly containing the other nine hundred and ninety-nine.


In applying this line of thought to an urban context, we were reminded of this photograph of the Piazza del Duomo in Milano, taken by Mario de Biasi in 1951. In it, there are implicit all the footsteps needed to create this paths, even those that are not visible. The geometry that emerges is the representation of a sum of layers, of the traces of people going by, of their needs and choices. It is a captured instant of an ongoing process.


As a result, there is an interesting contraposition between the lines drawn on the snow by a collective of thousands and the underlying pattern of the stone pavement designed by an individual, Piero Portaluppi.



11.03.2018 Barcelona

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