Angela Deuber, Adrien Verschuere, Andrea Zanderigo
Friday 26 August 2016, Venice Biennale 2016, British Pavilion, Viale Giardini Pubblici

 event poster / event photograph 

There was a time when architecture was understood as an aesthetic discipline. That didn’t mean that the architect was concerned solely with how buildings looked, but rather that the skill of the architect was to tackle a range of issues related to context and function: these criteria were addressed as an artistic activity, and quality judged according to commonly agreed standards. Today as architecture oscillates between two extremes, the pursuit of the icon and the mass production of the mundane, architects seem largely reluctant to discuss beauty or describe and defend their work in aesthetic terms. So how should we explain the collapse of the aesthetic in architecture and the broader cultural dismissal of the importance beauty and individual judgement? At a time when agendas from sustainability to community seem to take precedence, is re-invigorating the case for beauty at best a distraction or simply a utopian dream? And if the pursuit of beauty is to be reclaimed, how can aesthetic judgement go beyond the legacy of postmodernism and the dominance of personal taste and patterns of preference? Drawing on the personal practice of a trio of speakers based in Italy, Switzerland and Belgium, this round table discussion explores the role of beauty and aesthetics in practice today.

British Council

Angela Deuber studied and graduated architecture at the ETH in Zurich. Her career took her to the canton of Grisons, where she runs her own architectural office in the city of Chur. She makes buildings, exhibitions and she does lecturing and reviews. Currently she is visiting professor at the Accademia di Architettura of the Universita della Svizzera italiana in Mendrisio and at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design in Norway.

Adrien Verschuere is a co-founder of the architecture firm ‘Made in’ Geneva, prize winners of the Swiss Federal Art & Architecture Award in 2006. From 2003 until 2006 he taught at the EPFL Switzerland, was a design architect in the office of Herzog & de Meuron, Basel from 2000-2003, and collaborated with the Office for Metropolitan Architecture – Rem Koolhaas, Rotterdam, until 2001. In 2008 he established his own architectural office – Baukunst in Brussels.

Andrea Zanderigo is a co-founder of Baukuh, an architecture studio based in Milan, Genoa and Venice. The studio was founded in 2004 and is currently run by Paolo Carpi, Silvia Lupi, Vittorio Pizzigoni, Giacomo Summa, Pier Paolo Tamburelli and Andrea Zanderigo. The office considers itself a traditional architectural practice, and an office that proposes experiments to understand the contemporary urban environment. Baukuh created and edits San Rocco.