With his architecture, Klaus Schuwerk invokes the philosophy of antiquity and the classical culture of southern Italy. His view of the world is both hopeful and hopeless, characterized by a striving for “unity and beauty.” According to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, there is a sole principle that dominates the world: Logos. He said, “Do not listen to me, but to the Logos. It is wise to say: All is one.”
With this concept in mind, for Schuwerk, “the entire drama of contemporary architecture is hidden in the words of Heraclitus. Today, we firmly believe that the world will be better if we focus on solving individual problems instead of looking at the whole. And yet, architecture keeps hitting new lows while, ironically, we haven’t even begun solving issues such as the car-centric city of the 1960s or sustainable building.”
In this exhibition, Schuwerk translates his philosophy into an unconventional installation, bringing together disparate elements such as the timeless beauty of a yacht by Scottish designer William Fife (*1857,† 1944) with an impluvium – a rainwater basin common in ancient Roman villas. Although both artifacts come from entirely different eras and are almost diametrically opposed in their function, their underlying architectural ideas form the intellectual basis for designs such as the recently completed National Museum in Oslo and Tonhaus in Madrid (1993).
Klaus Schuwerk has lived and worked in Naples since 2001. He founded his practice in Berlin in 1993, having previously studied in Stuttgart, Zurich, and Madrid under Hans Kollhoff and Francisco Alonso de Santos, among others. Notable projects include Tonhaus (Sound House, 1993), Stuttgart Central Station (1997), Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo (2002), Monumento in Travertino (2002), and the Museum of Industry and Labor in Brescia (since 2004, with Jan Kleihues), for which he and Jan Kleihues founded Kleihues+Schuwerk). In 2010, Schuwerk won the competition for the new building of the National Museum of Norway; during its planning and building phases (2010–2022, with Kleihues+Schuwerk), he lived with his family in Oslo for several years.