Not More Not Less

Exploring the wiggle room of contemporary architectural practice
International architecture symposium curated and moderated by Ilka & Andreas Ruby,
held at Museum of Architecture and Design, Ljubljana, 01.04.2011

With regard to its immanent powers, architecture today seems to be both under-challenged and over-charged at the same time. This biomorphic paradigm has reduced architecture’s potential to just dealing with issues concerning geometry, form-making, and manufacturing, whilst depriving it of any political impact. On the other hand, there is a programmatic notion of practice which reduces architecture to a predominantly political project, ignoring the fact that a building must eventually embody its contents through its tectonic and formal definition.

At a time when the presence of architecture appears to be both larger than life (given its symbolical value as a media spectacle) and close to irrelevant (with regard to its influence in the actual construction of our overall built environment), it is vital to recalibrate the agency spectrum that architecture can truly inhabit. What is this not-less-and-not-more concept? What are the irreducible and quintessential assets that architecture is able to – and needs to – muster in order to optimise its contribution to the formation of our world? Which aspects of its alleged essence can architecture renounce, and which must it defend at all costs? In view of the increasingly market-driven transformation of the construction sector, architects are exposed to questions such as these on a daily basis. When subjected to constantly changing conditions such as a sudden budget cut, a change of developer or a redefinition of a building’s program, architects are required to develop a strategic intelligence regarding the balancing of effort and effect that needs to occur in order to strike a balance between the architectural effects that they desire and the level of effort permitted by the client or, indeed, the circumstances.

Participants: Jacob van Rijs, MVRDV, Rotterdam; Mark Lee, Johnstonmarklee, L.A.; Simon Hartmann, HHF, Basel; Jörg Leeser, BeL, Cologne; Philip Ursprung, Chair of Architectural History and Theory, ETH Zurich

→ Check the gallery below for more information