Tatiana Bilbao Under Construction


Welcome: Ulrich Müller

Introduction: Andreas Ruby

It is not a coincidence that the Mexican architects Tatiana Bilbao S.C. named their first exhibition in Germany “Under Construction”. Whereas exhibitions usually display completed buildings in perfect photographs, in this show only pictures of the building process are exhibited. They depict not only details but also perspectives of the building process illustrating the construction site in its social context in particular.

The photographs are supplemented by a phenomenal spatial intervention. Cause parallel the architects constructed a second level in the gallery, which can be perceived as a “roof” to the exhibition or a horizontal partition. It is a wooden construction, of the kind typically used on Mexican construction sites for concrete formwork. The wood used comes from original construction sites and was brought to Berlin especially for this purpose. This seemingly anarchic structure completely fills the exhibition space and presents itself as a decontextualized object, giving the gallery both a “dirty” and imaginative atmosphere. On top of the wood construction — virtually on top of the seemingly chaotic production process—rests a concrete model, symbolic of the completed architectonic object.

Photographs and installation both address the topic of collaboration in the worlds of architecture and the construction industry. The “roof” built by Mexican craftsmen illustrates the potential Bilbao sees in collaborating with construction companies and their workers during the building process. Architects usually draw details that mainly fulfill their own standards, public regulation or even the ideas of manufacturers. When the design is being built, dialogue with the craftsmen ends. However, Tatiana Bilbao S.C. considers exactly the creativity of all those involved in construction as usually unused potential.

For that reason, the office focusses on solutions that result from interaction between different disciplines. In a certain sense, this interaction reflects patterns of the Mexican society: execution is usually rather chaotic and exciting; the outcome of hardly anything can be determined exactly. The architects believe that these circumstances, when used in a proper way, ultimately lead to high quality. They consider the production of architecture as a learning process that not only shows their respect for the built environment, but also teaches them a lot at the same time. Thus architecture ultimately is defined as the consequence of collaboration.­­