Architecture relies on machines. They make the structures of our cities livable. In their absence, buildings would lack basic services like water and power. There would be no heating, cooling, lighting, fire safety, and elevators. Repairs and maintenance would be impossible; digital and communication technology also out of the question. The capacity to support life would be severely diminished. Architecture would be reduced to basic shelter.
Christian Kerez’s work is best known for the conceptual inventiveness he brings to ageold problems of form and tectonics. What is less known is the architect’s equally refreshing approach to mechanical systems. Here, Kerez talks about the Leutschenbach School in Zurich, and his ideas to integrate the air and other building services into this densely packed design.
One might argue that the development of mechanical technology has changed the way architects talk about the relationship between the environment and form. The story here is not that mechanical technology enabled healthier workplaces, greater productivity or more efficient use of resources; rather, it has given architects the chance to create new forms and typologies in relation to new narratives about the workplace as an environment.
We cannot beat Banham, but we can update you on what happened since 1972, when Rayner Banham published his seminal The Architecture of the Well Tempered Environment. C-Lab did extensive new research on the relation between installations, buildings and architecture…
The November storms in Amsterdam were no fun, but at least they produced enough wood to print our next issue. In two weeks Volume 37 will be released, dedicated to mechanical systems, but today we can already give you a sneak preview.