Behles & Jochimsen Univers Condensed


Welcome: Ulrich Müller

Introduction: Jörg Gleiter

At the end of the 1990s Armin Behles (*1966) and Jasper Jochimsen (*1964) established their office. After a series of successful competition entries, they were able to realize a larger scale project by designing the Griechische Allee daycare center in Berlin (2003–2006). Another successful competition resulted in the University of Giessen biomedical research center, which is currently being completed. Their most recent work focuses on new and renovated buildings for universities in Germany and abroad. In addition, they won two other architectural competitions in China.

Characteristic of their work is the early design process: dealing with the site, its history and quality in terms of urban development. They push this process until a solution is found that provides two aspects: on the one hand, this process must lead to convincing solutions to every problem concerning site and program; on the other, it should work as a guideline to help the project achieve an inner logic. The latter, referring to O. M. Ungers “theme”, functions as a brace to merge all parts into one. The themes are found within the arsenal of architecture, but also within other spheres and fields. Thus the reasoning behind the designs can be understood in two ways: both as a precisely fitted piece for a certain situation and as a self-contained and self-explanatory structure. Without being linked through obvious stylistic attributes, the projects are characterized by their shared interest in a formally closed, physical and often figuratively perceptible shape.

The title of the exhibition was taken from a typeface: Univers Condensed is an elegant, yet economical variation of the famous sans serif typeface Antiqua, designed by Adrian Frutiger. It is also the corporate typeface at Behles & Jochimsen. Furthermore, Univers Condensed stands for two aspects of the installation that the architects set up at the Architektur Galerie Berlin: the gallery is radicalized by few, yet precise interventions that focus on the characteristics of the space. This radicalization happens through both compression and removal of boundaries. The space transcends itself and becomes an Über-space. In the process, visual corporeal experiences as well as intellectual understanding play a constitutive role. With the use of colorful anodized aluminum panels the installation refers back to the biomedical research center in Giessen. The facade of this hand-shaped building includes the full color spectrum, whereby each finger shows the spectrum of one of the primary colors.