Holcim Foundation


Creating a lighter load

The work of Werner Sobek at the Biennale Architettura 2016

Beyond Form, the work of Werner Sobek, is part of the 15th International Architecture Biennale. The Director of the Institute for Lightweight Structures & Conceptual Design (ILEK), at the University of Stuttgart, Germany and founder of the Werner Sobek Group has a long association with the LafargeHolcim Foundation’s initiatives to promote sustainable construction, as a member the Global Awards jury in 2012, contributor to Forums, and expert participant in the inaugural Holcim Roundtable examining “Re-Materializing Construction”.

His contribution to the exhibition in the Arsenale has a textile-covered cube that is partially veiled by a black cloth as its focal point. Entitled Beyond Form, this philosophical work brings population explosion and global warming to the fore. The work challenges viewers to look “beyond form” and focus upon the urgent issues of our time. Reducing material use through cutting-edge engineering brings enormous advantages for the building and construction industry. In addition to the obvious savings in materials and time, reducing the amount of matter needed vastly reduces the amount of energy used in the fabrication of a given structure.

Venice-Sobek-02.jpgAccording to Werner Sobek: “the search for the architecture of tomorrow is no longer focussed on issues of form”. The key challenges are to address population growth and climate change. By using fewer materials to build more and more structures, population growth can be more readily accommodated. By creating more efficient buildings and building processes there is a potential to avoid the consumption of fossilized forms of energy altogether – and thereby slow the impacts of global warming.

The work of Werner Sobek includes proposals to use vacuums to make surfaces stiff, and compressed air to add resistance to inflatable structural elements. But this work is not only pursuing structural efficiency: his projects are of outstanding elegance, beauty and refinement – with an exemplary balance between engineering and architecture. Beyond Form continuesas part of the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale until Sunday, November 27, 2016.

Public invitation to attend panel discussion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition

The LafargeHolcim Foundation invites members of the public to attend a panel discussion featuring Alejandro Aravena, Jonathan Ledgard, Milinda Pathiraja, and Robert Mardini at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition on Friday, November 25 at 17:00. “Reporting from the Front: Sustainability vs. Security” is a concluding feature of the Biennale Architettura 2016, the panel will discuss how growing security concerns will add complexity to the challenges to which architecture must respond.

More information:

Reporting from the Front: Sustainability vs. Security

Last Updated: October 06, 2016
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Venice, Italy
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