Taste Is the Lack of Appetite is an exhibition on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of GRAFT and celebrates the curiosity for the special, the unique, and the unexpected. The internationally active architecture firm is known not only for individual forms and design, but also for its social engagement. For the team, the design practice is defined by optimism and a pleasure in experimentation – leading to the realisation of hybrid solutions for a wide range of challenges. The exhibition features a selection of residential, mixed-use and cultural buildings, each of which reflects the firm’s exemplary design strategies. In line with its multifaceted work, the show also sheds light on the topic of Architecture Activism and presents the original prototype of the community-building Solarkiosk.
Since its establishment in Los Angeles in 1998, GRAFT has become increasingly aware that the built environment can and must make a significant contribution to people’s happiness and quality of life. In light of the ongoing crises in the world, until today, the partners of GRAFT, Sven Fuchs, Lars Krückeberg, Wolfram Putz, Georg Schmidthals, and Thomas Willemeit, see themselves called upon to take action.
Solarkiosk, Off-grid and clean energy provision for rural communities in Africa and worldwide; GRAFT. © Georg Schaumberger
Being involved in the ‘Make It Right Foundation’, which accompanied the rebuilding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, gave them the start in 2006. GRAFT continued its engagement with its work for foundations and the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (Credit Institute for Reconstruction, KfW), followed by the founding of the Solarkiosk company in cooperation with Andreas Spieß in 2010. Today, over 200 Solarkiosks are improving equity in the provision of services in the sectors of energy and health in eleven countries in Africa and Asia. The fact that solutions for both urban and rural surroundings can only be achieved through cooperation, was also shown by the exhibition curated by GRAFT and Marianne Birthler for the German Pavilion at the Architecture Biennial in Venice in 2018: Unbuilding Walls was dedicated to the constructed and societal overcoming of divisions on the former inner-German border strip between East and West.
‘Taste is the lack of appetite’, Dave Hickey, art critic and friend of the firm once said, expressing that, especially in creative work, the insistence on principles of taste is inferior to an appetite arising born of curiosity.This sentence has become a guideline for GRAFT’s work, since especially at a time of crises, the team strives to confront challenges with curiosity and passion, an open spirit, and without the preconceived canon of a specific architectural language. Even under difficult conditions, what interests GRAFT is sounding out the open spaces of the experimental and the creative and unflinchingly posing questions: regarding the quality and beauty of architecture, regarding the value of intelligent solutions, and regarding heterogeneity and the importance of innovation.
Wave, two new residential buildings on the banks of the river Spree, Berlin, Germany, Berlin, DE; GRAFT. © BTTR GmbH | Charlie Living, residential complex in the middle of Berlin, DE; GRAFT. © GRAFT GmbH
Taste Is the Lack of Appetite presents GRAFT projects that have already been realised as well as ones still under construction, along with one important unrealised design – for which the firm was awarded first prize in the international competition for the Jewish Museum in Moscow. All the projects feature an aspect that would be unexpected and radical in the given context and propels the narrative of the respective building task.
The first room of the exhibition is dedicated to the Solarkiosk, which, as a contemporarily designed intervention in remote regions of Africa, ensures a supply of energy, connectivity, and communication by means of clean solar energy and a sustainable, post-colonial social model. In the second room of the exhibition, six different buildings are presented in an exemplary way, reduced to their core message, by means of large-format models. The projects – new buildings and revitalisations in the historical context – are concrete results of the abstract design strategies of Lofting, Tracing, Voxelization, Sectioning, Weaving and Carving.
- A LASKA, twin office buildings at Ostkreuz in Berlin, DE, currently being realised
- Conversion and expansion of the oldest Jugendherberge (youth hostel) in Germany, Munich, DE, 2023
- BRICKS, revitalisation of an historical post office area in the district of Berlin- Schöneberg, DE, 2021
- Charlie Living, residential district at Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin, DE, 2020
- Wave, two residential buildings on the River Spree, Berlin, DE, 2019
- Jewish Museum, conversion of the Bakhmetevsky bus garage designed by Konstantin Melnikov, Moscow, RU, 2007 (unrealised)
A LASKA, timber-concrete hybrid building for offices, Berlin, Germany, Berlin, DE; GRAFT. © GRAFT GmbH | 1st prize in the competition for the conversion of the Bakhmetevsky bus garage into the Russian Jewish Museum, Moskau, RU; GRAFT. © GRAFT GmbH
GRAFT was established in Los Angeles in 1998 by Lars Krückeberg, Wolfram Putz, and Thomas Willemeit, who were joined by Sven Fuchs and Georg Schmidthals as partners in 2018. From its main office in Berlin, GRAFT today works round the world in the fields of architecture, urban planning, design and communication. The ‘hybrid office’, with further offices in Munich, Shanghai and Seoul, is characterised by its experimentally oriented design practice and innovative formal language. Besides working on classic planning tasks in connection with residential, hotel, health-care, commercial and cultural buildings, the founders of GRAFT have also initiated socially sustainable projects like Make it Right, Solarkiosk and Heimat2.
JUNG, Object Carpet, Schüco, Trilux, Trockland Brandlab, Grohe, FSB, VOLA, Bockhorner Klinkerziegelei
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