BAUKUNST | Tendency & Fact
1 — 30 October
Opening: 7 — 9pm
Architecture is a concrete matter, yet its limits are blurry. There is always mist surrounding its physical contours, a foggy atmosphere matching the uncertainties of present-day society. This exhibition introduces the work of Baukunst, its research and teaching practice, simultaneously developed at its base in Brussels and at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. It uses models, animations, and films to examine architecture, finding new ways to explore and understand the advantages (and disadvantages) of the
performative objects that construction is made of. The projects on display deal with wind, sun, humidity, and other physical forms through which energy moves. Architecture is called upon to interact with such physical phenomena and can be much more than mere artefact. It can subvert established categories of inside and outside, form and structure, visible and invisible. The experiments presented in this exhibition demonstrate how resourceful architectural research can be.
The accomplishment of this approach relies on the lively and often humorous way in which sophisticated technology is understood. Instead of taking for granted the functional and one-way-only paradigm of past engineering, these architectures see their functions hijacked, the designers perform détournements and extract useful knowledge from apparently closed resources. Artistic strategies are fundamental to such ambitious steps, often operating first in the conceptual realm before materializing ideas in intriguing results. These research strategies do not necessarily abandon the day-to-day harshness of the building site, the hard reality of clients, regulations, financial constraints, and even the simple technological limitations of the construction industry. Technology is real, but research and experimentation can push its boundaries and build an enchanted and appealing world that transforms the blurry tendencies of the present into concrete facts.
The exhibition tackles energy, today’s hot topic. While building our environment, architecture plays a fundamental part regulating climatic agents and human/non-human behaviours. These experiments are not designed to take a moral stance on energy, but they explore architecture’s potential to be meaningful in a moment of cultural redefinition. Technology soon may become obsolete; giving elusive challenges definitive content and form risks stripping fascinating objects of their transformative power. This defines a high-risk/high-gain approach to research: its capacity to operate on a knife’s edge.
The output of these exploratory experiments are not the achievements of technical gadgets but the capacity to expand architectural perception, to enhance the performance of buildings by incorporating blurry and unexpected solutions. Such ambiguity is key to addressing the energy predicament—to find the necessary answers, we need to keep searching. This exhibition is a contribution to dealing with such a chimera.
BAUKUNST: Tendency & Fact is part of the programming vector For the eyes but not only.
Baukunst was founded in 2010 in Brussels, Belgium, and from 2017 in Lausanne, Switzerland. A conjunction of sciences and arts, the office engages the architectural medium as a dialogic tool for gathering different forms of knowledge. Baukunst operates and creates built environments through the construction of performative objects; staging real and mnemonic, living and non-living agents.
Coordinator: Architecture Curating Practice
Introduction: André Tavares
Exhibition design: Baukunst, Chevalier Masson
Guest editor: Accatone
Films: Atmoslab, Baukunst, Artefactorylab Olivier Campagne, Maxime Delvaux
Models: Baukunst, Julien Dutertre
Co-Production: A+ Architecture in Belgium, BOZAR Center for Fine Arts Brussels
Special Thanks: Amélia Brandão Costa, Anthony Butcher, Pauline Clarot, Philémon Léchot, Ricardo Lima, Carlo Menon, Rodrigo Costa Lima, Lucas Shooner, André Tavares, Mathilde Vandervorst Icare Chevroulet, Lucia Decalf, Jonas Elben, Hamza El Graoui, Elitsa Ilieva, Christian Kalmus, Fabien Maes, Amandine Thierry-Nanasi, Matthieu Sistek, Sebastien Wegmuller (EPFL Studio)
Partnership: Saint Lazarus Carpentry
Support: École Polytechnique Fédérale Lausanne, panoramah!, Porto Academy, Wallonia-Brussels Federation, Wallonia-Brussels Architectures, artebel