Reference : Concretion, abstraction : the place of design processes in today architecture practic...
Scientific congresses and symposiums : Paper published in a book
Engineering, computing & technology : Architecture
Concretion, abstraction : the place of design processes in today architecture practice. CASE STUDY : SANAA
Vandenbulcke, Benoît mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département d'Architecture > Recherche en projet d'architecture >]
Proceedings: First International Conference on Architecture and Urban Design (1-ICAUD)
1 st International Conference on Architecture ans Urban Design, Epoka University
19-21 avril 2012
[en] architecture design process ; SANAA ; Sejima ; Nishizawa
[en] Observing contemporary architecture, as a practitioner and teacher, we become aware of the difficulty to understand the constitutive rules of a project and even when one can identify some, they are often limited in reach. The qualifiers for the word architecture have multiplied over time: minimalism, hygienism, socio-participationism, formalism, high-tech, low-tech, sustainable and eco are some examples. After one century of avant-gardes, architectural practice has been scattered in uncountable styles and streams. This has lead to a free market situation in which architects and teachers are confronted by an almost endless catalogue of approaches and styles: between multiple-choice and pragmatist refusal, this context provokes an issue with arbitrariness and relevance. Today the design processes are fundamental for the understanding of architectural projects, since universal rules of composition (harmony) and common ideals (beauty) have failed to support them exhaustively. A possible stable common ground to all constructed projects remains in the act of construction. Where architects like Peter Zumthor or Herzog & de Meuron search a new way to use and interpret the materials and their use in our globalised world, SANAA work seems to remove materiality from architecture. This absence creates a kind of timeless spatiality which is not necessarily open or closed. However, this approach is not a negation of matter (in the sense of Semper), as making matter disappear implies a very strong commitment to materiality and very sophisticated technological solutions. This paper bears relevance for both practitioners and teachers at two levels: it explores the theoretical relevance and the practical tools of an outstanding referential architect. It explores, with the specific tools of the architect, the design process of their projects through the question of the construction. The analysis is based on both their writings and the realized projects.

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