Philipp RW Urech, architect



Archaeologists measure time. Geometricians measure space. Astronomers measure light. They quantified the world known to man. Assisted by the laws of their disciplines, they gave their perception a numerical description. The measure is therefore an anthropological unit, a grid whose origin is tangible to the human senses. The grid divides the perceptible space in units of equal value. Where attention to the detail grows, the mesh tightens until describing the atoms of the material architecture. Where light and darkness rule alone, the mesh traces the limit of the rational. To understand the immense and the infinitesimal, man requires a notion of proportions for the comparison is essential to identify him. Woven one into each other, the proportions are levels structuring human cognition - but free of scale, the proportions become all alike. Man thus quantifies space by time and light by gravitation. Maps are devices to describe the linking proportions and to anchor his existance amidst a kaleidoscope of routes and events.


On my flights above the Swiss Plateau, the geography subsides, the cities dissipate, the space is neutralized. The perception seems to be limited to an interval of information, selected by the sensitivity of my senses. There is an overall abstraction defined by my limited capacity to absorbe. Then, with the landing approaching, the objects loosen gradually. Forests split to trees and villages crumble to houses. This dive between scales is disruptive.


Studies and profession brought and bring me again and again to ponder on human nature. To build for men is to observe and reinterpret the human identity in relation to society, culture, light, mesure, scales, ergonomics. Being an architect means to bear a social responsability for generations to come and how they will grow up in the houses and cities of the future we design. Being a builder for men inevitably means to wake in me the philanthropist - as hard it may be to love peers whose convictions are sometimes rigid, egotistic or even violent. Today more than ever, in an age where terrorism meets the selfie syndrome, the human condition should evoke much concern. Metagraphy is a series of drawings that describe the human identity, composing a satirized and grotesque portrait of group behaviours, pleonasms and contradictions that define our contemporary society.


" The universe (which others call the Library) is composed of an indefinite and perhaps infinite number of hexagonal galleries, with vast air shafts between, surrounded by very low railings. From any of the hexagons one can see, interminably, the upper and lower floors. The distribution of the galleries is invariable. Twenty shelves, five long shelves per side, cover all the sides except two; their height, which is the distance from floor to ceiling, scarcely exceeds that of a normal bookcase. [...] In the hallway there is a mirror which faithfully duplicates all appearances. Men usually infer from this mirror that the Library is not infinite (if it were, why this illusory duplication?); I prefer to dream that its polished surfaces represent and promise the infinite. " J.L. Borges - The Library of Babel