Beitrag zur Ausstellung: 2019
Kuratoren: Jantje Engels, Marius Grootveld mit Drawing Matter & the Architecture Foundation
Mitarbeit: Edoardo Signori
Kerzenwerk: Exagon AG, Zürich
Thoughts on the exhibition
Our model is a fusion between Emil Hoppes design and our own building, the “Hohes Haus West” in Zurich Wiedikon, right next to our office. Rather than being an exact copy thereof, our proposal is an adaptation of the building within the given context, a fusion between the historical basis and our own experiences, visions and desires.
One has to understand the historical and cultural context in which our images are but also Hoppes images were crafted. Emil Hoppe, a student Otto Wagner’s, was born in the late 19th century in Vienna. His life marks the period in which large parts of Zurich were built and designed. Likewise the district around our high-rise building in Zurich Wiedikon was planned and executed around the time when Hoppe and his colleagues were active. So the context we faced was the context of late 19th century Zurich. Heavily influenced by the effects of industrialisation the city sought to answer prior unknown needs of industry, infrastructure and housing by applying foreign urban visions. The visions of Georges-Eugène Haussmann and of the Vienna School heavily influenced our city; therefore we have our own experiences with the historical and cultural background of the sketch and can relate to it.
The larger context:
As previously mentioned, cities at that time, one of which is Zurich, had to react to the late blooming of industrialisation which took hold of our city around 1850 with the construction of the central station. Especially Zurich had to react to a thriving industry; desires of being the economically leading city in Switzerland resulted in a need for social, logistical and economical infrastructure; in short the city had to be extended fuelled by heavy industry and the national railway lines.
We are not the only ones to think of the city, its topography and certainly its built matter as a palimpsest; as a piece of parchment which is constantly scraped off, re-written and altered. The origin of the palimpsest lies in ancient Greece where they used wax-coated tablets to write on.
On the basis of an old writing there comes a new phrase. Once the expression is found and written on the palimpsest it is again subject to change and altering. Our proposal, by inscribing it in the writing of time, is also subject to change. Ephemeral like a piece of wax, it can be melted down, scratched and remoulded.