ARCH+ features 12: realities:united and Andreas Ruby
Based on its cooperative work methods, realities:untied questions the hierarchically organized production conditions currently existing in the world of architecture. By contrast, Jan and Tim Edler call for a contemporary and inter-subjective grasp of authorship in the 21st Century.

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Rendering: Adrian König/realities:united
Nikolaus Kuhnert used the example of Zurich's Toni-Areal to describe the approach taken by Tim and Jan Edler. In fact, realities:united was only responsible for light planning, but in the end effect their light guidance concept meant a complete re-organization of the space. The working method of the Edlers can be seen as prototypical of a "type of architecture which is no longer about me, but about joint ideas from a number of sources", as architectural critic Andreas Ruby explained in his introductory lecture. A current case in point is the new railway station in Stuttgart, explained Ruby, whose external appearance is defined essentially by the drops of light masterminded by Frei Otto.

In the picture: Jan and Tim Edler talking to Andreas Ruby
The multi-faceted nature of authorship is clearly manifested in the projects of realities:united: In the Graz Kunsthaus, for instance, whose media facade creates the effect of an "architectural display", according to Jan Edler. Or in the "NIX" design, a project by COOP HIMMELB(L)AU in which a computer is allowed to play games with empty offices.

Rendering: realities:united
Citing a project entitled BIG VORTEX executed in cooperation with the Bjarke Ingels Group BIG, realities:united points out the ambivalence of large-scale architectural projects. An invitation went out to participate in a "packaging competition" for the construction of a new waste incineration plant in Copenhagen. BIG's concept was to package the technology in a "mountain", creating a roof which could be grassed over and used in winter as a ski slope. "After BIG had successfully masked the chimney, we wanted to make the point that the smoke emissions were still there", says Tim Edler. In the design by realities:united, the chimney now expels its gas emissions in the form of smoke rings in which the proportion of "good" carbon dioxide is coloured green at night, and the remainder red.

> BIG Vortex - A Building Site Art Installation

Illustrated: Tim Edler talks to Anh-Linh Ngo
"How do we deal with engineers who have ideas? To what extent are architects prepared to accept ideas which are not their own?" asked Nikolaus Kuhnert in summing up the focal issues. In some cases, he claims, clients are not prepared to accept engineers who are joint competition winners together with architects. A central issue in looking at the question of authorship in architecture is consequently the question of ways to break with traditional modes of working.

Illustrated: Jan Edler talks to Nikolaus Kuhnert.
All pictures courtesy of: David von Becker
© 2020 S. Siedle & Söhne OHG