Fuhrimann Hächler Drei Häuser, Werkstoff Raum


Working in philosophy – like working in architecture in many respects – is really more a working on oneself. On one’s own interpretation. On one’s way of seeing things.

— Ludwig Wittgenstein

The choice of a concept is something that should conflict with the context.

— Jean Baudrillard

In their exhibition, Andreas Fuhrimann and Gabrielle Hächler present a collage of three private homes: the artist- and architect’s house in Zurich (2003), House Presenhuber in Vnà (2007) and House Müller Gritsch in Lenzburg (2007). Though these Swiss architects have also worked on larger and urban planning projects, for this exhibition they chose to focus on a main aspect of their work: the analysis of architectural space as the main component of architecture. That the projects were built for clients, who deal with art and architecture, just like Fuhrimann Hächler, helps support this kind of research.

The houses exemplify how the architects manage the balancing act between seemingly irreconcilable opposites. On one hand, they look for imperfection and impurity, which is very “unSwiss”. On the other, their architecture is very controlled and thought through conceptually. At the same time, Fuhrimann Hächler renounce historical and iconic strategies of simplification and consider knowledge of the complexity of architecture a challenge. In their opinion, the reflexive handling of this complexity ultimately decides on architecture and its relevance in society. Their “raw materials”, real and cultural context, room program, shape and architectonic expression, as well as sensory requirements, are worked on equally until a spatial conglomerate takes shape. The use of effective and economical construction with haptic surfaces makes low-budget buildings with a high-budget spatial luxury possible.

Even though each of these three projects have different spatial concepts and exterior designs, they also share commonalities: the use of “simple” materials such as raw concrete, large-scale plywood sheet etc. stands for an unpretentious, yet visually sophisticated and aesthetic material concept. Subtle digressions from the right angle in the floor plan create flowing transitions without agitating dynamics. The resulting spatial “obscurities” condense and enrich the seemingly simple, basic structures.