Kenzo Tange Lecture: OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen, “American Architecture?”

Moody clouds over a modern house in a desert landscape

OFFICE 117 Drying Hall © Bas Princen

Two years into “American Architecture,” our teaching course at Harvard, and after nine years of Architecture Without Content, it might be time to confront ourselves with our recurring fascinations. If, over time, we became more explicit about our American sources, we did not necessarily understand better what they represent. Our ‘American Architecture' will always remain an approximation, a false friend. Four years ago, we did our own retrospection of sorts. We collected many projects under the moniker ‘Everything Architecture’ and made an exhibition about it. ‘Everything Architecture’ was a moment of reflection about our office production in confrontation with our (art) sources. Also, it was a reflection about architecture, its role, its current position, its power, its cultural context. In this lecture, we want to show recent work, many projects made after the show, that deal with size, scale and the pragmatism, perhaps in a more evident way. But more than anything, we will show the whereabouts of a contemporary practice.


OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen is a Brussels-based practice, established in 2002 by Kersten Geers and David Van Severen. They have received numerous honors and awards, including Belgian Prize for Architecture, the Silver Lion at the 12th Venice Biennial of Architecture, and Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Recent projects include the new Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS) building in Lausanne, Switzerland, an Art Gallery in Antwerp, Belgium and a Department store for Galeries Lafayette in Paris, France. Kersten Geers and David Van Severen have been teaching at various institutions, such as the Berlage Institute, Columbia University GSAPP, Yale School of Architecture, EPF Lausanne and the Academy of Architecture in Mendrisio. They are among the co-founders of San Rocco magazine. They currently hold the Kenzo Tange chair at Harvard GSD.

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