Esteban de Backer and Ludi Dai, Lieb House, 2013, Columbia University’s GSAPP. Courtesy of Architecture without Content.
The Difficult Whole is a double book, partly investigating and reinterpreting the architectural projects by Robert Venturi, consciously ignoring all the claims posted over the years by him, his followers, or his rivals; and partly dealing with the undoubtable yet subtle influence of his oeuvre over distant cultural contexts, such as Japan and Portugal. The Difficult Whole postulates that, after the excess of the postmodern vulgate and the easy acceptance of various “isms” during the past two decades, this is the right moment to bring back Venturi’s discourse in the midst of stagnating contemporary architectural debate. This project works in the grey areas between authorship, [mis]interpretation, and copying, aiming to rediscover the inner consistency and outer relevancy of Venturi's work. The Difficult Whole inextricably and purposefully combines the precision of a proper monograph with the focused freedom of a radical essay on architecture.
Kersten Geers studied architecture and urbanism at the University of Ghent, Belgium, and at the Esquela Tecnica Superior de Arquitectura in Madrid, Spain. After working for six years in Rotterdam (with Maxwan Architects and Urbanists and Neutelings Riedijk Architects), he established OFFICE in Brussels with David Van Severen in 2002. He has been professor at the University of Ghent; visiting professor at Columbia University, Berlage Institute in Rotterdam, and the Academy of Architecture in Mendrisio; and is currently associate professor at the EPFL in Lausanne. He frequently publishes articles on architecture, and is a founding member of the architecture magazine San Rocco.
Joris Kritis is a graphic designer living and working in Amsterdam and Brussels. After graduating from Werkplaats Typografie in 2010, together with Julie Peeters, he established a studio and has since worked mainly on the culture field in Holland and Belgium. From 2009 to 2011, he was the designer and visual editor of the Dutch art magazine Metropolis M. Other notable clients have included Roma Publications, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Piet Zwart Insitute, the Flemish Architectural Institute, OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen, Bob Van Reeth at Bozar Architecture, Architecture Workroom Brussels, and Beursschouwburg. He was recently awarded a bronze medal in the Leipzig Best Book Design from All Over The World Competition (2013) and the Prix Fernand Baudin in Belgium.
Jelena Pancevac is an architect from Belgrade, currently based in Paris. She graduated with distinction from the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Belgrade and finished a postgraduate course at Zürcher Hochschule der Künste/Haute École d'art et de design de Genève. She has previously worked at the Faculty of Architecture in Belgrade and with NP2F Architects in Paris. Since 2013, she has been working at EPFL Laboratory for Architecture as FORM as a researcher and teaching assistant.
Andrea Zanderigo studied in Venice, where he graduated with honors. He worked as an assistant for Stefano Boeri at IUAV (2001–04) and was guest lecturer at PUSA in Alep, Syria (2006–07). Since then, he has taught with Kersten Geers at the Accademia di Architettura in Mendrisio, Columbia University, TU Graz, and EPF Lausanne. In 2004, with five partners, he founded baukuh, an office for architecture and research. In 2010, he cofounded San Rocco, an international magazine for architecture, where he currently works as an editor. He has lectured at many universities and institutions, including the UIA in Turin, the UdK in Berlin, TU Graz, Columbia University, the IUAV in Venice, and the Politecnico in Milan.