Marianne Burkhalter; Christian Sumi
Burkhalter Sumi combine building and research with a fascination with modernity and the tectonics of architecture. Their recent book focuses on the section as the DNA of space. Their work ranges from complex projects to visceral chalk drawings that carve paper and claim space. Theirs is an ability to ‘crack open’ the essence of historic structures, describing origins and sources, placing work within its historical framework. At the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, they present a work by Konrad Wachsmann, considered to be one of the leading exponents of industrial prefabrication, like Alberto Mangiarotti, Marco Zanuso, Buckminster Fuller and Jean Prouvé. Frei Otto was one of his students. Born in 1901, in Frankfurt an der Oder, Wachsmann emigrated to the USA during the 1930s and from 1941 onwards, developed the General Panel System with Walter Gropius. With the Grapevine, Wachsmann invents a system similar to a grapevine, where knots and support structures make one entity. This is possibly one of the most radical construction designs of Wachsmann’s time, which until now, only existed as a drawing. Made especially for the Biennale Architettura 2018, a 1:1 scale construction, placed in the Giardini, will allow this massive sculpture – this ‘double column’ – to be understood and enjoyed.