The beauty of the hardness | Íñigo García Odiaga

Escuela Leutschenbach en Zürich, Switzerland Christian Kerez |Fotografía: Christian Kerez
Leutschenbach School in Zürich, Suiza, 2009, Christian Kerez | Photography: Christian Kerez

A pair of publications and four buildings finished of exquisite form have presented to the public the work and the path of the born architect in Maracaibo, Venezuela, but of Swiss training, Christian Kerez.

After obtaining his degree in 1998 in the federal institute of technology of Zurich began his professional march like photographer of architecture. There are architects whose training depends of form determinante for example of the offices in which they began his professional life, or of his relation with the school in which they studied or maybe of the social context in which they began to work. In the case of Kerez are precisely the years lived like photographer those that have marked his form to understand and materialise his architecture.

His photographic work visits paulatinamente edificaciones industrial, preys, electrical head offices, tunnels or highways in which the sense infraestructural and his links to the landscape present a balance in which the constructive hardness of these works seems to fit with the most brutal side of the nature.

Somehow these photographies in which the buildings turn out to be taken off of any ornamental element or hub cap, confirm that the beauty of these owes exclusively to the functional fact and to the rational concretion of the constructive process that to elevated these buildings.

Escuela Leutschenbach en Zürich, Switzerland Christian Kerez | Fotografía: Christian Kerez
Leutschenbach School in Zürich, Suiza, 2009, Christian Kerez | Photography: Christian Kerez

This taste for the linguistic cleanliness and for the story of the functionality of his buildings has guided Kerez’s work.

Buildings like the chapel in Oberrealta in Switzerland, his first work, which raises in a small plateau on the high valley of the Rhine. Though formally it looks for the common icon of a current house, his materiality solved only in concrete, it turns out to be fundamental to raise this small building to the scale of a sculpture or of a monument. His simplicity and his modest dimensions amplify the relation of the building with the natural environment and the spectacular Alpine mountains that surround it.

Capilla en Oberrealta, Suiza, Christian Kerez
Chapel in Oberrealta, Suiza, 1993, Christian Kerez | Photography: Christian Kerez

The second project constructed by Christian Kerez’s office was a building of apartments in Forsterstrasse in the city of Zurich. The building is what might be named a house of concrete and crystal. Walls and forged of concrete closed by big carpentries of glass they give response to a plant free and opened in that the elegance in the construction and the austerity in the use of the materials they provide to the building of a certain aura of atemporalidad.

The environment of the building, a residential neighborhood with wide wooded spaces returns to have a great importance in the expression of the set. The green one of the trees and the daylight they are reflected in the smooth surfaces of the glass and in the polished one of the encofrados of concrete, provoking a variegated transparency that comes up to the interior of the housings

Edificio de Departamentos en Forsterstrasse, Suiza, 2003, Christian Kerez
Departments Building in Forsterstrasse, Suiza, 2003, Christian Kerez | Photography: Walter Mair

Other one acts of housings that this work extends is the so called house of an alone wall, raised also in Zurich. This house for two families takes advantage of the typical wall medianil of the one-family housings to provide to the building of all his expressiveness but also of all the necessary functions. This dividing wall is a structure, but in view of his thickness and his broken geometry it lodges also the humid quarters or the stairs. The simplicity of the concept and the reduction of the architecture to an alone element demonstrate as Kerez it remains faithful to his enclosed ideology in the most limited projects.

His work more celebrated up to the moment is a school building constructed in Leutschenbach. To liberate the major quantity of soil of the plot, I group all the spaces up to raising a piled up building, in which three floors of classrooms use as socle to a great foyer on the one that rests the building of the gymnasium. Compositivamente the building plays with this uncertainty that generates the idea of being three buildings or alone one. The structural solution based on a structure reticulada of concrete, which once constructed somehow already will be the finished building, centres the whole attention. Kerez takes to the structural elements of this building the solutions that he had learned of the Swiss engineers of highways for his years of photographer. Solutions based on the austerity of resources to settle in a best possible way the raised problem.

Casa con una Pared en Witikon, Zurich, Suiza, 2007, Christian Kerez
House with a Wall n Witikon, Zurich, Suiza, 2007, Christian Kerez | Photography: Walter Mair

With these resources Christian Kerez has elaborated an own speech, in which maybe the most out-standing thing is the search of the essential thing, which generates emaciated architectures, with a certain brutality, but which is loaded besides a poetical beauty that attracts the spectator as a magnet.

íñigo garcía odiaga. architect
san sebastián. april 2011

Article is published 2011.04.25 _ ZAZPIKA

Íñigo García Odiaga

Doctor Arquitecto y profesor asociado de Proyectos Arquitectónicos, ETSASS. Editor de NOMU. 1/5 del estudio de arquitectura VAUMM. Vivo en Donosti.

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