[en] Architektur Galerie Berlin

Exhibition view from “OVO Grąbczewscy”

OVO Grąbczewscy Playing Architecture

Architecture is a serious matter – in that respect, OVO Grąbczewscy is no exception. Functional, constructive, legal, and financial requirements as well as client expectations mean that architecture is the most “unfree” of all the arts, and the trend is rising. In order to retain the creative freedom necessary for their profession, the architects have developed the thesis of “playing architecture”. This enables them – despite stringent conditions – to apply their vision, research, and sense of freedom, fun, and humor as they see fit.

The Museum of Fire (Żory, 2015), for example, was originally intended to be a simple information pavilion – until the architects took the history of the city at its word: Żory is the Polish word for “fire”. In the competition for the Małopolska Science Center in Krakow (2018, 3rd prize), they combined six seemingly incompatible concepts. And the administrative center in Wielka Wieś (2016) was not “designed” at all; the architects copied the characteristics of the surrounding buildings in terms of scale, form, and material.

This playful approach is also reflected in the exhibition concept. Photographs of the six projects presented are applied to free-standing walls constructed from 40 x 40 cm cubes. Each side of the cubes shows a different motif, so that visitors can find the parts that belong together and assemble a picture from them, just like in a puzzle or modular system.

OVO Grąbczewscy was founded in Katowice in 2002 by Barbara and Oskar Grabczewscy. They have since realized numerous projects and been recognized for their award-winning work.