The Icon 20/20 Architects: Christian Kerez 01.05.09

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PHO 8219 Kerez-Stahlmodell-MABaselWalter-Mair

Model of the steel framework of the Leutschenbach, Switzerland (image: Bartosz Bobkowski/Agencijs Gazeta)

Christian Kerez represents the cautious new wave of Swiss architects who are gently challenging the status quo. Sidestepping the dogmatic material worship of Peter Zumthor and the grammatical rigour of Peter Märkli, Kerez has forged his own path, following the elegant possibilities of structure. His research-based practice begins with models, often on a vast scale. To convey the impact of his proposals to clients and the public, the sheer size of 1:10 - whether cast concrete or delicately welded steel frame - tends to get people's attention.

Kerez's insistence on realism comes from his days as an architectural photographer. Dismissing computer-generated renderings as painfully false, every move is worked out in physical form. His current structural experiment is a school in Leutschenbach, Switzerland, suspending six floors from an external frame of double-height trusses.

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