Caruso St John pursue an architecture that is in close dialogue with their surroundings. In doing so, they deliberately avoid the kind of sensational abstraction that characterizes much of the global architectural circus. They aim to resist this trend with buildings whose emotional content is perceived slowly and unobtrusively. Of utmost importance is the careful attention they pay in their work to materials and details, in order to achieve sophistication and a particular atmosphere.
For their exhibition at the Architektur Galerie Berlin, Adam Caruso and Peter St John have created a dense arrangement of three elements that can be read both separately and together. Standing in the middle of the room is a city-like tableau with five large models that are colored, yet interestingly devoid of three-dimensional details. Isolated from their context, they appear like autonomous architectural ideas. Their simple, almost monumental form is neither obviously sculptural nor neutral, but instead implies an in-between space that allows for atmospheric associations. The area around the models is surrounded by a large, elegant, and classically pleated emerald-green curtain. Only at second glance does it becomes apparent that this is actually a wallpaper setting, which the artist Thomas Demand designed especially for this exhibition.
A selection of reference images has been integrated directly onto the wallpaper. They depict places, works of art, and architecture from the broad history of Western culture. Many of these images have been repeatedly referenced by Adam Caruso and Peter St John for different competitions. On the two side walls hang large color photographs of their current projects by Hélène Binet, who has photographed all of Caruso St John’s projects to date.
Adam Caruso and Peter St John established their firm in 1990 in London. They have since undertaken numerous projects, including the Tate Britain Millbank (London, 2013), Europaallee Baufeld E (Zurich, 2013), St Gallen Cathedral Chancel (2013), Newport Street Gallery (London, 2015), and the Bremer Landesbank (2016). Since 2011, Adam Caruso has served as Professor of Architecture and Construction at the ETH Zurich. Peter St John is currently a visiting professor at London Metropolitan University.