Make Do With What You Have. On Detailing an Architecture of Ready-Mades

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The French architects Lacaton & Vassal appropriate technologies originally developed for other domains of building, such as greenhouse structures, for the construction of their buildings. They do it in order to achieve an extraordinary use value relative to cost, not because of pure image. Hereby they provide a ready-made space that can be used for many different purposes, adding just a limited extra fitting. And this at a much lower cost than ”normal” building systems.

By introducing ready-mades into their architecture Lacaton & Vassal attempt to take advantage as much as possible of what is already there, adding only ”what it lacks for perfection”, as Jean-Philippe Vassal once said. But what does it take to mix ordinary building structures with simple prefabricated ready-mades? To which extent do the architects alter or add an extra layer of detailing? And what kind of aesthetics are at stake?

Through investigations of the works of Lacaton & Vassal this paper will discuss the role of the detail in heterogeneous architecture within the realm of industrialisation. Is the detail at all important when you introduce prefabricated elements – or is it on the contrary a crucial means to express a certain aesthetic approach? Marco Frascari’s theory about ”the tell-the-tale detail” will be an active element in discussing the role of the detail in architecture of ready-mades.

Ready-mades, prefabrication, the tell-the-tale detail
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication10th International Detail Design in Architecture Conference. Proceedings
EditorsM. Cem Altun, Stephen Emmitt
Number of pages8
Place of PublicationIstanbul Technical University, Faculty of Architecture, Istanbul
Publication date26 Oct 2011
ISBN (Print)978-975-561-411-3
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2011
Event10th International Detail design in architecture conference - Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 27 Oct 201128 Oct 2011
Conference number: 10


Conference10th International Detail design in architecture conference

Artistic research

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