“The English and the Americans expect everyone to be well-dressed” or A Building for a Fashion House

“The English and the Americans expect everyone to be well-dressed.”
A Building for a Fashion Label

Something fantastic about architecture is its fundamentally ambivalent quality. On the one hand, each project results from specific conditions within a concrete design task. So, architecture is unique and singular in its form. Its spatial and cultural context, as well as its specific program, assigns it its character. On the other hand, each architectural design is in its nature also absolute and timeless. It is automatically anchored within the architecture history’s tradition which tells us about the constant principles of composition and construction. This double reality of architecture’s absolutely current aspect combined with an immutable timelessness interests us. The challenge is therefore to be able to attribute a double identity to each project so that it becomes exemplarily architectural and at the same time specifically contextual!

Our studio’s method aims at achieving this double identity. The two key concepts are ,,Transfer“ and ,,Transformation“. The project starts with a transfer which relies on typological references. The architectural type is to be understood as a generally applicable principle which belongs to the absolute and timeless side of architecture. But, program and context are responsible for adjustments and alterations to the original type and, thus represent the specific and unique side of the project. The combination of these opposed aspects produces something new and transfer and transformation act as innovative design strategies. This mechanism which translates old knowledge into something different, can be called a living, future-oriented tradition.

We will design an extension for the Akris Headquarters in St-Gallen. This Swiss industrial city has a significant architectonical heritage. Akris is a Swiss, internationally renowned fashion label. Akris’ success mainly originates from the fact that its designer Albert Kriemler, time and again succeeds in translating the tradition of Swiss textile craft into innovative and contemporary clothes. On a study trip, we will visit Akris in St-Gallen as well as relevant Swiss architecture. We will speak about fashion and architecture. And as Adolf Loos already said, good contemporary architecture has a lot to do with good contemporary fashion. But of course he also said: “The English and the Americans expect everyone to be well-dressed.”

Emmanuel Christ will be in residence on the following dates (Christoph Gantenbein will also be in residence on the dates in bold): August 31, September 1, 17 and 18, October 15, 16, 29 and 30, November 12, 13 and 30, December 1 and for the Final Reviews in December.

Studio trip September 24 – 29.