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Philipp Schaerer

Zurich, Switzerland


Philipp Schaerer is a visual artist and architect. He graduated from the ETH Lausanne. His work is at the intersection between architecture, photography, and graphic design. Philipp worked from 2000 to 2006 as an architect and knowledge manager for Herzog & de Meuron. During this time he created many well-known architectural illustrations for the studio that substantially influenced the visual language of today’s established architectural visualizations. Until 2008, he was responsible for the Postgraduate Studies in CAAD at the Chair of Prof. Dr. Ludger Hovestadt at the ETH Zurich. Since 2008, he has been a lecturer at several universities and—since 2014—a visiting professor at the ETH Lausanne. His work has been widely published and exhibited and is represented in several public and private collections such as the collection of the MoMA, the ZKM Center for Art and Media Technology, and the Fotomuseum Winterthur. Philipp Schaerer lives and works in Zurich and Steffisburg, Switzerland.

CAB 2 Contribution

Project Overview

Chicago Series

Philipp Schaerer capitalizes on the most banal and anonymous parts of the built environment in order to produce a series of digital images that propose a possible architecture out of the very own raw matter of the city. In his Chicago Series, Schaerer departs from his previous explorations of party walls—true byproducts of architectural design—and focuses instead on the roofs of the city. The artist generates a series of digital images produced from the sampling, replication, and cropping of materials found in existing satellite photographs; the resulting images, highly elaborate constructs that take on a life of their own, are ambivalently positioned between the precious and the banal, between a painterly emphasis on surface and a subtle but powerful objecthood. Schaerer’s dual mastery of the languages of architectural drawing and documentary photography allows him to pitch these two media against each other, in a contemporary and reconciled approach to abstraction.

The City is the Site