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Lecture

That’s not a building

An audio-visual presentation by Andreas Ruby

Wed 19.07.2006, 19:00-21:00

That's not a building
© Perrault Projets

Dominique Perrault and the principle of recontextualisation in contemporary culture

“Even if, as a rule, architecture ostensibly bears a rational justification for its existence, in reality it is fundamentally paradoxical as it systematically produces contradictions. Building walls provides people with protection, however at the same time it produces a situation of isolation. Architecture has no choice but to produce both situations simultaneously. This is why, for me, architecture consists of revealing this suppressed intrinsic paradox.” (Dominique Perrault)
The architecture of Dominique Perrault sheds light on a whole catalogue of paradoxes: woods planted in the courtyard of the French National Library; the Olympic Velodrome and Swimming Stadium in Berlin is set in a base of earth on top of which an apple orchard has been planted; the Aplix factory in Cellier-sur-Loire is entirely clad in reflective stainless steel so that it dissolves in the reflection of the surrounding countryside. With the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg the opera house is concealed beneath a bizarre golden hood reminiscent of a large meteorite.

In his lecture Ruby provides a context for Perrault’s effect of architectural recontextualisation in the contemporary cultural production of images, sounds and spaces: advertisements shot like short films that are only available online as downloads; music videos that look like popular educational films, corporate advertising or computer games; or a square in St. Gallen that presents itself as a public living room.