Let’s rediscover (english summary)
Salon Suisse 2016: Thursday 16 June
Salonnière Leïla el-Wakil opened the first evening by encouraging the reconstruction of the bridges between yesterday and today which had been destroyed by 20th century Modernist architecture and suggesting that the inspiration to do so must come from both past and present. She invited the architect Laurent de Wurstemberger and the engineer Rodrigo Fernandez to speak. The two brought earth blocks to the Swiss market with their company Terrabloc.
Poetic Video Clip
Videographer Samuel Dématraz staged Terrabloc’s work with a subtle mosaic of videos, which featured the different steps of earth blocks fabrication process.
Resources from Excavation
Each year a million cubic meters are excavated from Geneva’s ground and Terrabloc wishes to use those waste materials. Laurent de Wurstemberger and Rodrigo Fernandez considered several processes and ways to incorporate these waste materials in their future projects and they have already realized four of these in Switzerland.
Added Value for Ecological Building and Building Physics
Laurent de Wurstemberger sees a lot of potential in the transformation of excavated products into exploitable resources. The price of a earth block is 30% higher than an industrial one. He justifies the extra cost by its natural composition, humidity regulation, noise insulation and the absence of allergens. At least 70% of excavations in Switzerland and in other Western countries could be used. Not only that, earth blocks are simple to produce and to store.
About 700 Bricks a Day
Rodrigo Fernandez has produced the perfect mix for earth blocks. The Terrabloc manufacture’s maximal production amounts 700 pieces per day, and the company is focusing on the growth of its own production facilities. When production is being done directly on construction site, the distance between the place of excavation and the place of compression of blocks is reduced.
Brick of Junk?
Terrabloc blocks contain 5% cement — a concession to material purity. Martin Rauch and Anna Heringer, two hard-line clay builders present during the Salon Suisse opening event would consider this formula as a betrayal. However, the Terrabloc engineer explained that, as a matter of survival, the company thinks first about materiel intelligence, and then about purity.
Rodrigo Fernandez, Switzerland: material scientist. Born in Montevideo, he graduated from EPFL (2003) and got his PhD in 2009. During his studies he explored the potential of stabilized compressed earth as well as calcined clays as a potential replacement for cement in developing countries. He has always been interested in alternative construction materials and learned from all the sustainable solutions that he explored during his career to develop the ecological concept of Terrabloc (2011) with his partner, the architect Laurent de Wurstemberger.
Laurent de Wurstemberger, Switzerland: architect. Born in Geneva, he graduated in 2002 from the Accademia di Architettura de Mendrisio. He participated in the creation of Ar-ter, atelier d’architecture-territoire (Geneva). Being passionate of earthern architecture, he participated in the construction of a rammed-earth wall in 2010 for the garden of the town hall of Confignon in collaboration with Martin Rauch. Since then, he strives to reintroduce earth as a contemporary and sustainable construction material and founded Terrabloc (2011) together with his partner, the engineer Rodrigo Fernandez.
Samuel Dématraz, Switzerland: filmmaker. After studying philosophy at the University of Fribourg, Dématraz pursued his education in visual arts at the Ecole Cantonale d’Art du Valais (2003–2006). Both, video artist and filmmaker, Dématraz has multiplied interesting Swiss and international collaborations, namely with Jean-François Amiguet, Catherine Beaugrand, and the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Lyon, also engaging in research. He has won many awards and has contributed to numerous exhibitions. Dématraz founded Ecliptic Films (2014) in order to develop and produce different film projects.
Redaktion: Roderick Hönig (Hochparterre)
Produktion: Roderick Hönig (Hochparterre), Urs Honegger (Hochparterre)
Korrektorat: Beat Zaugg
Porträt Terrabloc: Pierre Vallier
Porträt: Samuel Dématraz: Aline Fournier
Copyright: Pro Helvetia & Hochparterre 2016
Hochparterre dokumentiert den «Salon Suisse» 2016. Als offizieller Medienpartner begleiten wir die Veranstaltungsreihe mit Hintergrundinformationen, Zusammenfassungen, Audiostatements, Bildern und Livestreamings. Der «Salon Suisse» ist das Begleitprogramm des Schweizer Auftritts an der 15. Internationalen Architekturbiennale – La Biennale di Venezia. Der «Salon Suisse» ist eine Initiative der Schweizer Kulturstiftung Pro Helvetia.
Hochparterre documente en exclusivité le «Salon Suisse» 2016. Le partenaire média officiel du salon suit la série d’événements au travers d’articles de fond, de résumés, d’enregistrements audios, d’images et de retransmissions en direct. Le «Salon Suisse» est le programme parallèle de la présence suisse à la 15e Biennale internationale d’architecture – La Biennale di Venezia. Le «Salon Suisse» est une initiative de la Fondation suisse pour la culture Pro Helvetia.
Hochparterre exclusively documents the «Salon Suisse» 2016 starting 1st june 2016. As official media partner Hochparterre provides multimedia background information with written articles, audiostatements, visuals and free live streaming of part of the «Salon Suisse» talks. «Salon Suisse» is a talks and event programme complementing Switzerland’s national participation at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. It is initiated by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.