Amurs (Romansh for Amours – loves) is the title of an exhibition on the building culture of Bearth & Deplazes Architeckten (Valentin Bearth, Andrea Deplazes, and Daniel Ladner), and at the same time, a declaration of love for the Canton of Graubünden. The architects’ work displays their desire and strivings to come as close as possible to whatever “Bündner” might be—far from historical and tourism-based clichés.
Bearth & Deplazes: Amurs
June 20 – August 31, 2017
Jaroslav Fragner Gallery
Betlémské nám. 169/5A, Prague
Nonetheless, many of their works are based on an evolved building culture and the region’s tourism—a dichotomy often leading to ruptures in on-going building projects, and one which must be dealt with on a continuous basis: the historic substance of buildings, village centers, and settlements supporting the region’s identity, which has built up over time, are in danger of losing their charm and quality in the transition to the modern era.
Not only the magnificent and majestic Bündner Alpine landscape, but these structures, too, are part of the Bündner cultural landscape and a basis for Bündner identity, and must be further developed.
All of BEARTH & DEPLAZES’s works deal with situating, in both a metaphorical and entirely literal sense: situating in culture, and situating in space. Whether a house, office, or public building—all structures inevitably have direct contact with, and are in the context of a particular place.
They are created with the intention and hope of providing people in Graubünden a sense of wellbeing, providing a sense of home, and giving them a good reason to settle or stay: not in a vague and arbitrary way, but one which is entirely specific, local, and authentic: through their sheer physical presence.
All of the architects’ works allow us to pose the questions: what defines the quality of the local, of that which is present—how is it expressed and, where possible, reinforced? How is a connection to place created? Physically, spatially, and finally, in terms of home and identity.
What makes Graubünden “Graubünden” in all its various cultural and spatial aspects?
In this sense, each building is an act of resistance against the threat of exodus and sclerosis, against the disappearance of what is specifically “Bündner” and against a superficial flattening of the diversity of Bündner culture. Each of their works is a one-off—a building made specifically for a particular corner of Graubünden—not interchangeable or easily mistaken for another.
The works are presented here in large format, rear-lit photographs by Ralph Feiner and Tonatiuh Ambrosetti, which express the relationship to landscape and place.