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05-5-2006 - 27-07-2006​

Models for architecture by the Architecture Class, 2006.

The students of the Post-Graduate Master Class of the Städelschule Architecture Class, under the leadership of Ben van Berkel and Johan Bettum, exhibit a collection of physical models under the title, Pre-Tectonic Constructs, in the Krings-Ernst Gallery in Köln, from 05.05.06 to 27.07.06. The models are the result of research and experiments conducted over a period of one semester into the possibility of physical models to participate in engendering abstract organisational constructs for the production of architecture.

The models are not architectural or sculptural forms; rather, they belong to the creational realm that comes before the designing of buildings and physical forms. In their bare outline, the models invite us to imagine how it would be to experience moving from one area to another within the bounded space. The possibility for imagining these transitions rely on the models setting forth relationships and suggested plastic transitions between the various internal zones that are formed by the articulated geometry.

This reveals what it is all about: geometry. For each model, the attempt has been to produce the richest and most suggestive regulated starting point for the making of architecture. Each model is generated from a highly regulated geometric system that attempts to bring together difference, or differential multiplicity, and other architectural considerations, such as in how a local geometric event, a particular curve, intersection or fold, may contribute to the overall structural soundness of the total system. In some cases, the model is even highly suggestive of an aesthetic quality, if not captured in the materiality of the model, then rendered in the vibrant air and light that the model exudes.

Eventually, one is best served by observing each model as an instance of a design system – or, as the parlance is in the Architecture Class, a design model. A design model is the sum total of what one brings to the design process as an architect. Of course, every architect would then have a design model, the difference for the Architecture Class lies in how it cultivates and systematises this approach to the task of designing buildings.

As opposed to designing buildings by making a form and negotiating how the various functions of the building can be accommodated within, the Architecture Class attempts to generate the architectural space and form from the inside, from how spaces are related to one another within the physical boundary-envelop set out for the project.

Eventually, if it is good architecture, is another question. The models presented in Pre-Tectonic Constructs are merely that, constructs that precede the making of architectural form and building. That makes them precious: they are the true building blocks for an architect, the first instance for an architectural design.

Architectural models – or better: architectural modelling is in the widest sense ‘the mother of invention’ in architecture. Through architectural modelling, be it digital or physical, architects imagine, construct and project; they organise a space that is to come. Modelling requires thought about construction, spatial imagination and a comprehension of themes or problems specific to architecture as a discursive field and autonomous discipline. Not the least, modelling is an exploration in the possibility of producing possible architectural effects.

In general, the models embody one of various ways to address and execute architectural design, but through its specificity, the work attempts to contribute to a better understanding and more inventive approach to produce architectural spaces for our time. The work tries to fulfil this ambition through a carefully orchestrated methodology with which architectural spaces are seen to emerge from the interplay between physical form, structure and other architectural variables.

The work seeks to be explorative, experimental and open to the possibility and necessity that we, as architects, must invent for the space of tomorrow.