RE. Architecture as permanent transformation

29 Sep 2018
S AM Swiss Architecture Museum, Basel, CH
Basel, Switzerland

Architecture is not only about building anew. New construction only account for a fraction of the building activity. An overwhelming part of construction deals with the transformation of existing buildings. In that sense architecture is never really complete, but always in a state of transformation. Most landmarks of architectural history are no longer in their original state, but have been altered throughout the decades. As in the past large buildings like churches and palaces could not be completed within the lifetime of their initial designers, the designs were often changed before they were even completed. But even when buildings do get completed the way they were designed, they are far from final. They are like a baby being delivered, with their entire lives yet ahead of them. Their actual biography is yet to be written. In most cases they will be used in their intended way only for some time. Often they take on new functions once new needs or economical models emerge. If these new functions do not fit in the existing spaces, the design will need to be changed. If the economical conditions underlying the building changes as well, the building may have to be replaced by one shaped according to a different economy. The act of design of architecture only captures the initial part in the life of a building, the first phase of circular activity which contains practices of re-designing, re-using, re-programming and re-cycling. This constant activity of re-making has to be considered as essential to architecture as the act of making it in the first place, or the act of making architecture has to be understood as the tip of the iceberg of its overall body.

S AM presents architectural symposium with five Future Architecture participants.