the next ENTERprise - architects
ausstellungsstraße 5/2, 1020 Wien, Austria
Phone +43-1-729 63 88
Fax +43-1-729 67 52
On the modus operandi of the next ENTERprise
Viennese physicist Ernst Mach once dreamt of "incredible abruptnesses, bright moments, and timeless chances". To allow something that cannot be thought of to happen. Later Gilles Deleuze called for an experimental (thought) practice that would produce the "still unimagined". An inconceivable contingency should become available. But it is always only a question of time before the "sudden happenings" provoke reflections, before self-referential or external-referential operations model contingency. The relationship between event and reflection, between precondition and positioning remains a central issue for creative processes and hence also for the design process in architecture. In an experimental (thought) practice particular attention is paid to those moments when event and reflection almost coincide. Thought as action, action as thought. How can this relationship be kept permeable, transitory, liquid? In their architectural processes "the next ENTERprise" (tnE) bring about a rarely encountered dense interweaving of thought and action. In the Zirl house Ernst J. Fuchs sets an emergent machine in motion that generates space from model parts, linguistic fragments and distinctive environmental parameters such as light/shade, proximity/distance, cold/warm. It is not the essential but the accidental (not the buildings of the surroundings but their shadows) that is the medium for this associative technique. The point is not what something is, but what it can do, what it can make possible.
In their design practice tnE hardly distinguish between a completed action that is spatially and temporally situated and a level that can be located behind this completed action, in the sense of a world of ideas and concepts. They thus approach a "flat ontology", comparable to the methods of current non-dualist philosophies. Their architecture can be described less as a collection of forms, functions and ideas and more in the form of practices. By the term 'practices' we mean here an action that is directly linked to the body, to the bodies of the architects just as much as to spatial or built bodies or the bodies of the users.
According to Spinoza, a body consists of an endless number of particles, which move themselves in a (temporarily) coordinated way and which, above all, possess an ability to influence each other alternately, to 'affect', as he puts it. For Spinoza everything can be a body and body and spirit cannot be separated from each other. The bodies are not defined on the basis of their kind or species but by their ability to engage with other bodies, by their concrete emotions. Like bundles of kinetic catalysts, emotions can influence our ability to act, can strengthen or weaken us. Therefore Spinoza asks: What can a body do? Which concrete emotions is it capable of?
The body affects the space. The space affects the body. In the practice of tnE the users of architecture are articulated not only as formally rational persons but also always as asymmetrically fluctuating corporal beings. Neither the "ideal case" of Modernism nor the standardizations of "managed" architecture are assumed. With their compositional immanence tnE provoke the unforeseen and thus engage in a form of resistance against the simplistic clarities of service architecture. The users can appropriate the spatial systems in a number of ways as they allow alternative movements. It should also be possible for the unimaginable to occur when these systems are in use. The architects do not achieve this result by restricting themselves to flexible, functional "minimum frameworks" or by restricting their formal loquaciousness. It is precisely their spatial and constructed bodies, often described as "expressive", (which, however, develop from design processes that pursue neither symbolical-political nor expressive strategies), that develop the ability to affect. This practice involves a certain risk because concrete emotions, as a "form of becoming", cannot always be predicted, they can equally easily increase or reduce our power to act. The question "what can a body do?" becomes a political question. In a successful spatial production for the demanding human being the amazement about the body never ends. Not amazement about the fact of having a body but rather about how much a body can do.
The projects range from experimental interventions in urban space such as Hirnsegel Nr. 7 (brain sail No. 7"), 1995*, or Stadtwind (city wind), 2000 and installations such as the Audiolounge, 2002, to concrete building commissions Haus Zirl / Zirl House, 1997, Blindgänger (dud), 2000*, Unterirdisches Hallenbad / private underground swimming pool, 2001*, Durchblick (viewing platform) 2001, Hallen- und Seebad Kaltern / Lakeside bath and indoor pool Kaltern, 2002 and urban planning concepts such as the project Süssenbrunn, 1993, Whotel 1995* or Urban Scratching 2002.