Since architecture per se cannot be exhibited, artefacts must be found for each exhibition that have an architectural concept or concept. This transformation makes it possible to address considerations that go far beyond the mere representation of buildings. The exhibition thus becomes an independent discursive format, in which the relationship between the original and the copy or representation must be reinterpreted again and again.
jessenvollenweider explore this potential in their exhibition on several levels. The first is the gallery space itself, whose walls are divided into an “above” and “below,” with lighter color fields lower on the walls and dark ones higher up. This composition transforms the gallery into a kind of illusory space. Not only does this transfer the architectural approach of jessenvollenweider to the site-specific situation, it also functions as an atmospheric framework for the second level of discourse, the pictorial representation of concrete building projects on the basis of places and situations. However, this is not achieved through photos, as is customary, but by pictures that Katharina Immekus painted for the exhibition. Her works are themselves originals with a level of meaning that goes beyond the motif.
The setting is supplemented by a conference table from the architects’ office, on which plans of the presented projects are laid out for study. While the table transfers some of the concrete work atmosphere from Basel to Berlin, the plans build a bridge from the visual interpretation to the concrete process of developing an idea architecturally.
jessenvollenweider was founded in 1999 by Anna Jessen and Ingemar Vollenweider in Basel. Among their most important projects are the Oberer Graben administrative center, St. Gallen (2011), the Schaffhauserrheinweg residential complex, Basel (2014), and the renovation and extension of the Zürcher Kantonalbank headquarters, Zurich (2015). Anna Jessen has been teaching drafting and interior design at the Technical University of Darmstadt since 2011 and has been head of the Department of Architecture (Architektur-Werkstatt) at the University of Applied Sciences (FHS) in St. Gallen since 2017. Ingemar Vollenweider has been Professor of Urban Architecture and Design at the University of Kaiserslautern since 2006.