Using case study projects, architect Urs Bette gives an insight into the epistemological processes of his creative practice and unveils the strategies he deploys in order to facilitate the poetic aspects of architecture within a discourse whose evaluation parameters predominantly involve reason. Themes discussed include the emergence of space from the staged opposition between the architectural object and the site, and the relationship between emotive cognition and analytic synthesis in the design act. In both cases, there is a necessary engagement with forms of ‘unreasonable’ thought, action or behaviors.
By arguing for the usefulness and validity of the unreasonable in architecture, and by investigating the performative relationship between object and ground, Bette contributes to the discourse on extensions, growth and urban densification that tap into local histories and voices, including those of the seemingly inanimate – the architecture itself and the ground it sits upon – to inform the site-related production of architectural character and space. In doing so, he raises debates about the values pursued in design approval processes and the ways in which site-relatedness is both produced and judged.
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