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José Oubrerie

The Chapel of the Mosquitoes


July 11–August 23, 2015

“Chapel of the Mosquitoes” is an original ‘T’ Space commissioned project.  This exhibition is currently touring the United States, and images from each venue can be seen below.

At the end of its tour, the project will culminate in a permanent installation on T2 Reserve.  Read more here.

IMAGES

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‘T’ Space Gallery presents José Oubrerie’s month-long solo exhibition, featuring three paintings and three architectural projects, the Damascus (1972), Miller House (1991), and Chapel of the Mosquitoes (2015). The Damascus project is conceived of as a continuous interior surface. Its enclosed, continuous interiority relates in part to the formal complexity of Le Corbusier’s Villa La Roche, and in part, to a new “Moebiusian” architectural topology. Miller House, the antithesis to the Damascus project, is concerned with the exterior fragmentation — “the explosion of the cube” — reminiscent of Theo van Doesburg’s diagrams. Every one of its fragments is a building by itself, autonomous, yet interrelated to the others. Damascus and Miller House constitute two opposite spatial investigations whose formal conflicting approaches are synthesized in The Chapel of the Mosquitoes. The Chapel becomes a contraction of these two projects, and at the same time, possesses attributes of both. José Oubrerie’s exhibition featuring paintings, plans, and models of The Chapel of the Mosquitoes has travelled extensively to Knowlton School’s Banvard Gallery, Sci-Arc Kappe Library in Los Angeles, Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh since its conception in Rhinebeck, New York and and been featured in numerous articles.

‘T’ Space commissions José Oubrerie to realize The Chapel of the Mosquitoes on T2 Reserve. The simple but beautifully transformative architectural installation will serve as an educational case study for students, architects, artists, and enthusiasts.

The realized structure will be concrete with a diagonal light-water conduit that pierces from roof to floor. The conduit is a contemporary interpretation of a ladder in a kiva — a traditional round Pueblo Indian form — joining the sky and the earth. The Chapel’s ground is visible and the floor sometimes retracts; practically entering inside or reciprocally, the floor extends outside. In addition to the polarities of continuity and fragmentation, other elemental binaries such as the coexistence of interior and exterior, the connection between sky and earth, or the effect of sunlight and rainwater running through the conduit are carefully considered in relationship to the project site.

The next exhibition at ‘T’ Space, inaugurated on July 11th, was devoted to the work of architect José Oubrerie. In addition to three of his paintings—geometric abstractions built of flat, angular forms—there were drawings and beautifully finished models of three major projects. The earliest is the French Cultural Center, in Damascus, Syria, realized in 1972. A protégé of Le Corbusier, Oubrerie reimagined the flowing structure of his mentor’s Villa La Roche in constructing the interior of the Cultural Center. Then, in the Miller House, built in Lexington, Kentucky in 1991, he differentiated the interior into zones at once joined and structurally distinct. Throughout his career Oubrerie has contrasted unity with fragmentation—a set of options integrated with ebullient savoir faire in his paintings and, at the scale of architecture, in the design of The Chapel of the Mosquitoes, which he designed this year for a site in Dutchess County, New York. The process of integration continued on the day of this exhibition’s opening, as flautist Patricia Zuber and percussionist Greg Zuber gave stunning performances of Le Merle Noir, by Olivier Messiaen, and a composition by Iannis Xenakis entitled Dmaathen.

— Carter Ratcliff, 2015

Accompanying Events

TRAVELING EXHIBITION

CORNELL UNIVERSITY

October 26–November 6, 2015

 

BANVARD GALLERY, OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY

February 3, 2016 to February 25, 2016

THE LANTERN | February 2, 2016

While the buildings are Oubrerie’s own work, they are inspired by Corbusier’s precepts. The main focus of the exhibit is the design for the Chapel of the Mosquitoes, which combines elements of the other two buildings in the exhibit: the French Cultural Center built in Damascus, Syria, in 1972, and The Miller House, a private home built in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1991.

Unlike the other two buildings, which have already been built, the Chapel of the Mosquitoes is still in the planning and funding stages.  It will be about 12 feet tall and 12 feet wide, and it will feature one of Corbusier’s core precepts: detached walls, with three separate but interconnected L-shaped pieces that connect the roof, floor and walls, according to Oubrerie.

Oubrerie got inspiration for the building by the pueblos he saw in New Mexico. The roof will be inverted so that water can go into the building through a channel and then be sent out.

Oubrerie doesn’t know when construction will begin, but both the Steven Myron Holl Foundation and Knowlton are organizing funds for the construction of the building. For now, students can go see the proposed design in the Banvard Gallery.

1POINT618 GALLERY, CLEVELAND OH

June 24, 2016 — August 15, 2016

 

MILLER GALLERY, CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY

Aug. 20 – Nov. 13, 2016

 

The Miller Gallery and the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University and Associate Curator Spike Wolff jointly present “Architecture With And Without Le Corbusier” and “The Chapel of the Mosquitoes” in the gallery from Saturday, Aug. 20, through Sunday, Nov. 13, on CMU’s Pittsburgh campus.  A talk with José Oubrerie as part of the School of Architecture lecture series is scheduled from 5-6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 23, with a reception to follow from 6-8 p.m.

Oubrerie is professor emeritus at the Knowlton School of Architecture at The Ohio State University. An internationally renowned French architect and protégé of Le Corbusier, he was the project architect for the Saint-Pierre de Firminy Church, seeing the final design through to completion in 2006. His other projects include the French Cultural Center in Syria, the Miller House in Kentucky and The Chapel of the Mosquitoes in New York.

“A self-described dilettante, but known to others as a master architect, José’s work embodies theoretical experimentation, dynamic spatiality and the poetic sublime,” said Wolff, who serves as special faculty for CMU’s School of Architecture. “His paintings are very important to him — as important as his architectural projects — and that makes his work appeal to such a diverse range of people.”

Exhibition Catalogue

José Oubrerie: The Chapel of the Mosquitoes

2015

An exhibition catalog featuring José Oubrerie’s experimental architecture, The Chapel of the Mosquitoes, at ‘T’Space.

BIOGRAPHY

José Oubrerie (b. 1932, Nantes, France) is the artist and architect behind The Chapel of the Mosquitoes. After an early career in painting, Oubrerie studied architecture in Paris and went on to work in Le Corbusier’s office from 1957-1965. He collaborated with his mentor during the final years of his life, working on numerous projects such as the Brazil Pavilion, Hotel d’Orsay, the Strasbourg Convention Center, the Olivetti Offices and Factories in Milan, the Venice Hospital, the Zurichhorn Pavillion, and the Firminy Church. In 1970, Oubrerie became a registered architect and started his own office in Paris with several commissions: to establish the final project for the Firminy Church; to rebuild the Esprit Nouveau Pavilion in Bologna in collaboration with Giuliano Gresleri; to build a Computer and Research Center in Fontainebleau for the École des Mines de Paris; and to realize the French Cultural Center in Damascus, Syria. Later, while teaching in Lexington, Kentucky, he created with his wife Atelier Wylde-Oubrerie, to build the Miller House.

Oubrerie’s work has received numerous awards and has been published internationally. He has also taught in the Architecture School of Beaux-arts in Paris, The Cooper Union, Columbia GSAPP, CCNY School of Architecture, and Cornell University. Oubrerie recently released the book Architecture With and Without Le Corbusier, featuring the Miller House and the Firminy Church, which was completed by Oubrerie in 1996, and was listed by the 2010 World Architecture Survey as the second most important structure built in the 21st century. Oubrerie is currently the Professor Emeritus of Architecture in the Knowlton School.

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