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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

The Rough House


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With ‘Freespace’ the theme of the 2018 Venice Biennale, described by the curators as ‘a generosity of spirit and a sense of humanity at the core of architecture’s agenda, the Biennale’s focus is on the quality of space itself.’ This description also perfectly illustrates the collection currently on display there of Vancouver-based architectural photographer, Andrew Latreille.

As an extension of his photography exhibit THEN and NOW, Andrew created a video on the making and completion of a piece of architecture, a residential home titled ‘The Rough House’. The project is located in Vancouver—designed by Measured Architecture and constructed by Powers Construction—with Andrew’s video illustrating the amazing team of skilled artists and craftspeople involved in the making of the house.

“I’ve always been interested in how this process of making architecture is intertwined with the future of our cities, societies, and economies,” he explains. “The film has allowed me to explore the dimension of time in a way that still photographs couldn’t.  We see hints of how long some of these seemingly simple stages of making a building can take.  We see grit, we see the light change and the busyness of numerous skilled people working together. Then we find calm.”

The video begins as a time-lapse and evolves into an artistic piece, speaking to the energy and tension of construction in comparison to the stillness and sublime moments of completed spaces. Combining time-lapse with video as a way to control viewers’ emotions, Andrew blends purposeful architectural composition, along with varied light and movement through space, with the stillness of the finished work.

“As a culture we are viewing and digesting architecture through imagery more than ever before but have little understanding of the process, how long it can take, how intricate it is, the numerous people involved in making it, or the contributions this makes to society,” continues Latreille. “The film hints at this, and the house is a small piece of architecture.  Imagine the number of people who contribute to a residential tower, or a new museum?”

Andrew’s work in the TIME SPACE EXISTENCE exhibit, hosted by the European Cultural Centre at the Venice Biennale, runs now through to 25 November 2018.

Film collaborators were Jevan Crittenden (edit) and Nate Konyi (music).

THEN and NOW showcases architectural projects by leading Canadian architectural firms and contractors:

Langara Student Services and Science Building : Teeple Architects with Proscenium Architecture and Interiors / Bird Construction
Wilson School of Design, Kwantlen Polytechnic University : KPMB Architects with Public Architecture + Communications.  Interior design by Proscenium Architecture and Interiors  /  DGS Construction
The Rough House : Measured Architecture with Powers Construction
Vancouver House : Bjarke Ingles Group with Dialog Design and James K Cheng Architects  / Westbank Corporation
Macbride Museum Of Yukon History : kobayashi + zedda architects / ketza Group