A conversation with Xaveer De Geyter, XDGA, at Casa dell’Architettura in Rome

Interview with Federico De Matteis, curator of the “XDGA_160_expo”, about complexity in architectural practice.

 

Provinciehuis © XDGA

Provinciehuis © XDGA

 

Article by Federico De Matteis

The exhibition “XDGA_160_EXPO”, which was staged at the Casa dell’Architettura in Rome from February 18th to March 17th, 2015, is the third installment of the exhibition organized by XDGA and CIVA, previously hosted in Brussels and Tallinn. It is a show proposing a rather peculiar – albeit not radical – understanding of what making architecture can mean today. Starting by looking at some figures (which give us a precise, although limited, view of things, helping clear the fog), the Roman exhibition hosted 22 models: of these, three were of completed buildings, three of ongoing projects, two were research-based, theoretic projects, while the remaining 14 were competition entries, either not winning or winning entries which for some reason or another had been discontinued. The chronological extent covers from 2000 to 2013. Each project, as the exhibition itself and the book which serves as a catalog, is titled, to begin with, by a three-digit number, referring to the file folder on XDGA’s servers. To bring this number to the front means, in my opinion, to highlight the collective nature of architectural work, which does set out from the initials of Xaveer De Geyter’s name, but along the way turns to the plural, accepting the final “A” for Architects. This leads us back to the presence, contribution, and work of the around 50 staff members of the office, who come from 15 different countries. A diversified team, both culturally and professionally, capable of covering, with their expertise, the whole gamut of architectural practice: from the conceptual stage of design competitions – that which De Geyter calls “paper architecture” – to the building site. Along with these there are research-based works, such as the “extension” of Monaco, or the urban scenarios evoked by an older book such as After Sprawl, still today on the reading list of many young scholars of urban theory. (more…)