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“Besides, History: Go Hasegawa, Kersten Geers, David Van Severen” on view at CCA


May 30, 2017
by Canadian Architect

“Besides, History: Go Hasegawa, Kersten Geers, David Van Severen”, installation view, 2017. Photo: CCA, Montréal

“Besides, History: Go Hasegawa, Kersten Geers, David Van Severen”, installation view, 2017. Photo: CCA, Montréal

The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) presents the exhibition Besides, History: Go Hasegawa, Kersten Geers, David Van Severen, curated by Giovanna Borasi, CCA Chief Curator. The exhibition presents a conversation initiated by the CCA, with the conviction that studying architecture’s ideas involves using the past and the present as tools to envision the future.

The conversation, which took place over the past year, involves Go Hasegawa (Go Hasegawa and Associates, Tokyo), Kersten Geers and David Van Severen (OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen, Brussels), and the history of architecture. This dialogue is now on view in the CCA’s main galleries until October 15, 2017.

Besides, History examines the role that history plays in contemporary architecture practice. The invited architects reread, redraw, translate, and appropriate from the past and from each other in order to construct relationships and meaning out of a constellation of references. Collected from many historical periods and geographies, these references—Andrea Palladio, John Hejduk, Aldo Rossi, Kazunari Sakamoto, and others—reveal a very different attitude of inquiry, more directly related to the architects’ aesthetic research without becoming strictly operational or literal.

Go Hasegawa, David Van Severen, Kersten Geers, and Giovanna Borasi in conversation, 2017. Photo: Photograph by Jean-Marc Abela

Go Hasegawa, David Van Severen, Kersten Geers, and Giovanna Borasi in conversation, 2017. Photo: Photograph by Jean-Marc Abela

“The architects in this current generation operate with the belief that everything has already been done but nevertheless argue that we should build something meaningful for our time,” explains Giovanna Borasi. The exhibition galleries form a statement in response to this by creating a space where visitors can experience the conversation that took place between the architects in the presence of history. “Typical historical categories such as authorship are challenged as one architect appropriates the work of the other and represents it with his own tools, comparing it with his own work to reveal similarities and differences. Objects from the CCA collection are included to show the recurrence and familiarity of certain ideas.”

“Besides, History: Go Hasegawa, Kersten Geers, David Van Severen”, installation view, 2017. Photo: CCA, Montréal

“Besides, History: Go Hasegawa, Kersten Geers, David Van Severen”, installation view, 2017. Photo: CCA, Montréal

The conversation is presented in seven thematic galleries:

  • Through Your Eyes is an introduction curated by Italian photographer Stefano Graziani, who has photographed key works by both architecture offices. His selection introduces the cultural contexts that have influenced each office’s thinking, and addresses the proximity of ideas for the two practices and their shared interests in searching for precision in the use of historical elements. The selection includes photographs by Felice Beato and Richard Pare drawn from the CCA collection, as well as photographs by Bas Princen and Takashi Homma.
  • Common Ground comprises a selection of twelve representative projects by the two practices. The distinction between one and the other is intentionally ambiguous, as the models were all made by Go Hasegawa from the same material and at a scale of 1:100.

    “Besides, History: Go Hasegawa, Kersten Geers, David Van Severen”, installation view, 2017. Photo: CCA, Montréal

    “Besides, History: Go Hasegawa, Kersten Geers, David Van Severen”, installation view, 2017. Photo: CCA, Montréal

  • Apparent Banality shows how the choice of material is a fundamental part of architecture for both offices. To illustrate the architects’ ideas of scale, architectural elements, and materiality, abstracted models of two buildings—Go Hasegawa’s house in Kyodo and OFFICE’s Villa Schor—are installed in the galleries at a 1:1 scale.
  • Section as Logic of Assembly presents architectural drawings as tools to represent and to verify ideas. A selection of detail sections from a range of projects by both offices (from a single-family house to an urban community centre), are redrawn by Go Hasegawa at a 1:5 scale.
  • A View with a Room offers an immersive perspective on one project by each architecture office, designed and printed on fabric by OFFICE. This unusual operation, another result of the conversation between the architects to compare their work openly, allowed each to appropriate the work of the other and to represent it within his own frame of reference.
  • Plan as Perimeter displays a selection of plan drawings by both offices, in a continuous line along with references from the CCA collection. The plans, selected by OFFICE, contribute to a definition of the perimeter as an architectural concept.
“Besides, History: Go Hasegawa, Kersten Geers, David Van Severen”, installation view, 2017. Photo: CCA, Montréal

“Besides, History: Go Hasegawa, Kersten Geers, David Van Severen”, installation view, 2017. Photo: CCA, Montréal

This exhibition is part of a CCA series that pairs architecture offices in order to investigate and interrogate current ideas in thinking and practice. In developing an installation within the context of the CCA galleries, participating architects are given the opportunity to contribute to and shape a larger conversation on concepts of particular relevance for the CCA. Previous exhibitions in the series include Rooms You May Have Missed: Umberto Riva, Bijoy Jain(2013); Other Space Odysseys: Greg Lynn, Michael Maltzan, Alessandro Poli (2010); Some Ideas on Living in London and Tokyo by Stephen Taylor and Ryue Nishizawa (2008); and Environment: Approaches for Tomorrow – Gilles Clément, Philippe Rahm (2006).