Columns for Space
architecten de vylder vinck taillieu (advvt) questions the distinction between what is considered décor and what is considered construction. These realms exist on either side of architecture and are seemingly opposite but are always fundamental to its practice. The installation here is a small retrospective of columns that have been exhibited between 2011 and 2016. What began as a rejected proposal to correct space in a gallery, the concept for these detached columns-as-decoration developed in the 2015 exhibition at ETH Zurich, titled Carosel. Here advvt took the institutional columns that were sheathed in drywall to meet fire code, and marked Sol LeWitt influenced lines identifying the hidden construction underneath. These projects are joined by two influential office snapshots taken several years ago: one of a Sol LeWitt wall mural in a building entry in Gewad Gent, and another of a detail of repair work at the Villa Tugendhat by Mies van der Rohe in Brno. The enjoyment in these photos is not only the expected appreciation of the LeWitt or Mies, but their interruption. In the case of the mural, the doorbell and electrical conduits creeping down from the ceiling, and in the Villa Tugendhat, the silver tape a temporary remedy, both attach to their masterworks with utter indifference. This move by the electrician and the metalworker destabilizes (like much of advvt’s own work) the clear distinctions between what is deemed pragmatic and construction driven, and what is seen as the conceptual—and, thereby, rarified—site of autonomous design.
architecten de vylder vinck taillieu—a dvvt—is the name under which Jan De Vylder, Inge Vinck, and Jo Taillieu share their united view on what architecture can possibly be. The point of departure for a dvvt is to embrace “making” in its broadest sense. It is only through an understanding of how to build something that architecture can play out its critical potential. As a response to what is expected of architecture today, a dvvt instead focuses on the construction of a banal and everyday reality, in which it finds opportunities to greatly surpass that which is expected. Through their practice, a dvvt demonstrates how a critical attitude is not just a gesture, but, rather, a perspective on architecture to go beyond all requirements. This critical perspective is based on a sense of social responsibility as architects. The responsibility of the architect is to transcend given expectations and give architecture a chance at cultural production. The skillfulness of the architect—craftsmanship and critical insight—is crucial here. The skilled architect is able to build an everyday reality founded on cultural sustainability, safeguarding architecture from becoming a mere solution—the métier as the key to the future.