June 1, 2017 - Canadian Centre for Architecture - Besides, History: Go Hasegawa, Kersten Geers, David Van Severen
e-flux Architecture
June 1, 2017
June 1, 2017

Canadian Centre for Architecture

Go Hasegawa, David Van Severen, Kersten Geers, and Giovanna Borasi in conversation, CCA, 2017. Photograph by Jean-Marc Abela

Besides, History: Go Hasegawa, Kersten Geers, David Van Severen
Curated by Giovanna Borasi, CCA Chief Curator
May 10–October 15, 2017

Canadian Centre for Architecture
1920 Rue Baile
Montreal Québec H3H 2S6

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The exhibition Besides, History presents a conversation initiated by the CCA, with the conviction that studying architecture’s ideas involves using the past and the present as tools to envision the future. The conversation, which took place over the past year, involves Go Hasegawa (Go Hasegawa and Associates, Tokyo), Kersten Geers and David Van Severen (OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen, Brussels), and the history of architecture.

What role can history play in contemporary architecture practice? Rather than adopting a postmodern attitude or evoking past discussions and historical architectural forms, the invited architects address contemporary issues in their work while remaining in dialogue with history. Typical historical categories such as authorship are challenged as one architect appropriates the work of the other and represents it with his own tools, comparing it with his own work to reveal similarities and differences. Objects from the CCA collection are included to show the recurrence and familiarity of certain ideas. Collected from many historical periods and geographies, these references —Andrea Palladio, John Hejduk, Aldo Rossi, Kazunari Sakamoto, and others— reveal a very different attitude of inquiry, more directly related to the architects’ aesthetic research without becoming strictly operational or literal.

The conversation is presented in thematic galleries:
Through Your Eyes is an introduction curated by Italian photographer Stefano Graziani. His selection introduces the cultural contexts that have influenced each office’s thinking, and addresses the proximity of ideas for the two practices and their shared interests in searching for precision in the use of historical elements. The selection includes photographs by Felice Beato and Richard Pare drawn from the CCA collection, as well as photographs by Bas Princen and Takashi Homma. Common Ground comprises a selection of twelve representative projects by the two practices. The distinction between one and the other is intentionally ambiguous, as the models were all made by Go Hasegawa from the same material and at a scale of 1:100. Apparent Banality shows how the choice of material is a fundamental part of architecture for both offices. To illustrate the architects’ ideas of scale, architectural elements, and materiality, abstracted models of two buildings—Go Hasegawa’s house in Kyodo and OFFICE’s Villa Schor—are installed in the galleries at a 1:1 scale. Section as Logic of Assembly presents architectural drawings as tools to represent and to verify ideas. A selection of detail sections from a range of projects by both offices (from a single-family house to an urban community centre), are redrawn by Go Hasegawa at a 1:5 scale.  A View with a Room offers an immersive perspective on one project by each architecture office, designed and printed on fabric by OFFICE. This unusual operation allowed each to appropriate the work of the other and to represent it within his own frame of reference.  Plan as Perimeter displays a selection of plan drawings by both offices, in a continuous line along with references from the CCA collection. The plans, selected by OFFICE, contribute to a definition of the perimeter as an architectural concept.

Besides, History can be read as a new manifesto, in which the architects mix selected historical references and their own work to build a new framework for today’s architecture based on an apparent banality, the celebration of the ordinary, the definition of a specific character, the intentional reduction of the means of construction, and the precision of the answer.

A complementary publication, designed by Irobe Design Institute, will be co-published in fall 2017 by the CCA and Walther König (English edition) and Kajima Institute Publishing (Japanese edition).


The project is part of a CCA series that pairs architecture offices in order to investigate current ideas in thinking and practice. Previous exhibitions in the series include Rooms You May Have Missed: Umberto Riva, Bijoy Jain (2013); Other Space Odysseys: Greg Lynn, Michael Maltzan, Alessandro Poli (2010); Some Ideas on Living in London and Tokyo by Stephen Taylor and Ryue Nishizawa (2008); and Environment: Approaches for Tomorrow – Gilles Clément, Philippe Rahm (2006).



Canadian Centre for Architecture
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