Being in a Biennale - interview #11: Elisabeth & Martin Boesch, Zürich

« Projeter le futur c’est avant tout savoir le conjuguer au passé ». Qu’il s’agisse d’une réhabilitation, d’une rénovation ou d’une nouvelle extension, toute transformation doit s’accoler à une réalité existante. S’y confronter et chercher un équilibre fusionnel entre maintenu (black), ancien (yellow) et nouveau (red) concentre toute la trajectoire académique et professionnelle présentée cette année à Venise par Elisabeth & Martin Boesch. Nous les retrouvons à l’Arsenal pour explorer ses principes et débattre sur cette architecture au futur.

The Practice of Teaching at the Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio
16th International Architecture Exhibition – Venice Biennale 2018, Arsenale.

Curators:         Elisabeth Boesch; Martin Boesch (Zürich, Switzerland)

Martin Boesch is a forerunner in progressive thinking about re-use and building within the existing fabric. His approach to the evaluation of our built heritage does not exclude demolition and replacement as the ultimate decision, made only following serious analysis of the potential for meaningful re-use. He says, “building always means re-using”.

He has mapped how growth in the appreciation of existing buildings, and “as found” conditions have lead architects to a more thoughtful approach in the design of new buildings, finding an equilibrium between old and new. He has taught this approach in many schools of architecture and it is surely A49 influential on the future work of those who study and then practice architecture.

In this Biennale Architettura, Martin and Elisabeth Boesch present the content of the beautiful book Yellowred. Born out of a need to relate to to a multilingual group of students in Geneva, a clear system of drawing was developed to communicate in a “babelesque” language situation. The colours describe the new and the old elements merging into a “silent new unity”. Exemplary re-use projects are beautifully presented using this technique also describing the rigour, precision, and creative thinking of this architect.

[ Texte de présentation repris du site de la Biennale de Venise 2018 ]


Couverture du livre

Yellowred: On Re-Used Archtecture Paperback – March 31, 2017
Author / Authors: Martin Boesch, Laura Lupini, João F. Machado

Yellowred is a publication that concerns architecture projects, built on preexisting architecture, converting, reusing, extending, downsizing or refurbishing it. Its main goal is to illustrate how buildings, in their inevitable transformation process, can be re-used.


  • Aires Mateus (Lisbon, Portugal) - Francisco Aires Mateus; Manuel Aires Mateus
  • Bearth & Deplazes Architekten (Chur and Zürich, Switzerland) - Valentin Bearth
  • Riccardo Blumer (Casciago - Varese, Italy) - Riccardo Blumer
  • Elisabeth & Martin Boesch architects (Zürich, Switzerland) - Elisabeth Boesch; Martin Boesch
  • Kéré Architecture (Berlin, Germany) - Francis Diébédo Kéré
  • Mario Botta Architetti (Mendrisio, Switzerland) - Mario Botta
  • Michele Arnaboldi Architetti (Locarno, Switzerland) - Michele Arnaboldi; Enzo Rombolà; Carlo Barra; Anja Ureta
  • Miller & Maranta (Basel, Switzerland) - Quintus Miller; Paola Maranta; Jean-Luc von Aarburg
  • OBRAS Architectes (Paris, France) - Frédéric Bonnet
  • PROAP / GLOBAL (Lisbon, Portugal) - João Gomes da Silva; João Nunes
  • Sergison Bates architects (London, UK; Zürich, Switzerland) - Jonathan Sergison
  • Valerio Olgiati (Flims, Switzerland)
  • Walter Angonese, architekt/architetto (Caldaro - Bolzano, Italy) - Walter Angonese

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