Let’s reduce (english summary)
Salon Suisse 2016: Thursday 24th November
Venice in November – it’s rainy season. Everything is slower on the lagoon and the sweaty euphoria present during the Biennale architecture opening has been replaced by melancholy; ideal conditions for our topic “Let’s Reduce”. Leïla El-Wakil, the salonnière, talks about frugality in her invitation: it’s not an out-dated concept, it’s essential to our survival.
The Whole Office Got Around
On stage, Laurent Vuilleumier and Paul Humbert from LVPH are maliciously smiling. This night, they present four of their smallest projects. We learnt that they are also capable of managing different dimensions only at the end of the meeting.
A House for a Door Price
They are cousins. On stage their words come one after another and melt into each other. Each of the four projects presented was appointed by a family member. Architects are living themselves in the second project. Cows in front of the houses attest to their countryside location. They made their first built experiences in foreign countries, Paul in Portugal and Laurent in Azerbaijan. This kind of experience allowed them to put things in perspective.
Living Towers and Barn Lofts
The next step shows us how these young architects arrange their own office in a barn. We see how they built five living towers in a big park, each on a 5 x 5 meters surface with a height of four rooms. They destroyed a typical farmhouse from Fribourg to transform the adjacent barn into minimalist housing. For another farmhouse, they kept the structure and built flats inside the barn with unchanged external walls. Wealth doesn’t mean perfection in detail or nobility of material. Wealth is mostly space, and location specificially.
The Less Money, the More Beautiful
In the audience, many students come from Geneva, Lausanne and Portugal, and they have plenty of questions. What is the state of this question in Switzerland? Is it possible to build at a low price in rich countries? These questions provoke silence: “It’s obvious that we are very lucky with the situation in Switzerland,” answer Laurent and Paul, as a laboratory of building flats, and as work site that responds to the highest expectations. “The less money, the more it is possible to realise great achievement”.
Swiss architect Paul Humbert, a 1998 EPFL graduate, had been working in Portugal for some years before he came back to Switzerland, where he founded his architecture office. Before dealing with urban planning and big programmes, his office maintains a strong connection with nature.
Editing: Axel Simon (Hochparterre)
Producing: Roderick Hönig (Hochparterre), Urs Honegger (Hochparterre)
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. 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.