‘You Cannot Avoid Architecture, It’s Always In Your Way’

  • On Wednesday, January 21st, Stroom The Hague will host yet another of The Knight’s Move talks. This time Berlin-based Ilka and Andreas Ruby will give a lecture. Trained as architects and architecture historians they are the founding partners of Textbild, an agency of architectural communication founded in 2001.

    To the world they are known as critics, editors and curators in the contemporary architecture and design scene. They write essays, design books, teach, consult and curate exhibitions in order to create opportunities for people to discover what architecture means in their life.

    [caption id="attachment_34916" align="alignnone" width="800"]Ilka and Andreas Ruby Ilka and Andreas Ruby[/caption]

    “We try to organize an audience for architecture,” says Andreas Ruby. “Many people are interested in architecture but believe they are not experts. But we are all experts in a away because we use our space every day, so we try to encourage people to understand they can talk and discuss it out loud. (…) You can not avoid architecture, it’s always in your way. Even if you don’t like it, you can not escape it.”

    [caption id="attachment_34873" align="alignnone" width="600"]The city is often depicted as a sort of self-organizing chaos. The City as a Project makes the case for the opposite hypothesis: The city is always the result of political intention, often in the form of specific architectural projects The city is often depicted as a sort of self-organizing chaos. The City as a Project makes the case for the opposite hypothesis: The city is always the result of political intention, often in the form of specific architectural projects[/caption]

    In 2008 they founded their own publishing house Ruby Press, “specializing in books on architecture, art, and other cultural practices engaged in the production of space in contemporary society.” Combining roles of writers, editors, publishers and curators helped them “understand better the complexity of architecture”, says Andreas Ruby. The City as a Project, Urban Transformation, and Cidade de Deus: City of God. Working with Informalized Mass Housing in Brazil are just some of the interesting titles they have published since 2008. Their books touch upon a wide range of themes, but at the same time all publications carry a recognizable Ruby Press signature.

    [caption id="attachment_34874" align="alignnone" width="800"]Cidade de Deus is a widely relevant study of the appropriation and customization of standardized mass housing over time Cidade de Deus is a widely relevant study of the appropriation and customization of standardized mass housing over time[/caption]

    In The Economy of Sustainable Construction, that was made in collaboration with Nathalie Janson, another Rubby Press editor, they challenge the common idea that sustainable construction is more expensive than conventional construction. The book evaluates the current architectural practice and introduces a sustainability-driven design process by describing materials and methods that maximize the environmental, social, and economic performance of buildings. The charm of the book is that it also looks beyond building and architecture for interesting ideas. One the inspiring examples that are featured is dabawalla, the highly efficient public transport-linked distribution system in Mumbai that delivers over 350,000 (!) lunch boxes a day.

    [caption id="attachment_34871" align="alignnone" width="600"]The Economy of Sustainable Construction seeks to dispel the myth that sustainability cannot be profitable, evaluate current architectural practices and models, and introduce materials and methods to maximize the environmental, social, and economic performance of buildings The Economy of Sustainable Construction seeks to dispel the myth that sustainability cannot be profitable, evaluate current architectural practices and models, and introduce materials and methods to maximize the environmental, social, and economic performance of buildings[/caption]

    One of the latest projects of Ruby Press is the editing of MVRDV Buildings (2013), a book about Dutch architecture office MVRDV that features realized work, featuring user testimonies, journalistic articles, unpublished images, and accessible drawings.

    On Wednesday January 21st, Ilka and Andreas Ruby will give a talk at Stroom in The Hague about their work. Click here for more information and to make a reservation!