Reading: Boutin’s review on Roger Riewe

“The simple is not simply simple. Roger Riewe.”

“The architecture of Riegler Riewe is strategically positioned in contemporary practice between a modernist exclusivity and a post-modern inclusivity. The advocacy of concepts that are limited to the essential, the economical, and the realizable, while defining function as the point of departure in the projection of minimal forms, reflects modernist sensibilities.” (Boutin)

“These concerns contrast sharply with Riegler Riewe’s insistence on elevating process over product in an effort to deny the consumption of the building, a specifically postmodern intention that was well represented in the work of Peter Eisenman and Bernard Tschumi amongst others.” (Boutin)

“It is a redefinition that shifts an objective, exclusive, and defined paradigm, to an open-ended, evocative and inclusive paradigm – the creation of an architecture of conditioned openness. Where function implied the definition of an empirical purpose, utilization suggests a broader palette of occupation, an understanding that a building frames not only the performance of specific functions, but the manner in which the totality of human life unfolds in these endeavours. It is the unpredictability of this unfolding and its evolution over time that Riegler Riewe address through the generosity of a spatial freedom facilitated by minimum means” (Boutin).

“In explaining the relationship between use, abstraction and form, Riewe states: “…we are interested in the display of utilization– in an open structure, which inevitably results in an abstraction of spatial and organizational dispositions.”[2] In this way, utilization as content, interpreted through abstraction, becomes the means to spatial fluidity and flexibility, dictating not a precise function, but a framing of the present and future potentials of that architecture” (Boutin).

“Here, as in the other examples of postmodern practice, the intentions of the architecture is to construct, in this case, constructing place through the careful definition of particular relationships between site and artefact. The central argument in Riewe’s theory of place to space is the provision of not a single and idealized conception of place defined by the architect, but of numerous and different potentials of place, defined by its occupation and the forces already present in the site” (Boutin).

“ARR’s strategy is of a non-prescription of space and form that allows the inhabitants to take possession of their building, initiating a process of continual evolution between architecture and user” (Boutin).

“Riewe insists that the development of the construction details and the selection of materials are the extension of the same design process. Specifically, he recognizes that the exploration into the details must commence during the analysis of the utilization, imbuing the design of the detail with the same conceptual questioning, thereby “…integrating it into the context of the task to be solved” (Boutin).

“That these new relationships between the building occupant and their architecture create an initial level of friction is confessed by Riewe. However, he also suggests that: “A phase of irritation due to abstraction can well lead to a strong identification with the project.” (Boutin)


Works Cited:

Boutin, Marc. “Insitu: Review.” Home | University of Calgary. Web. 03 Jan. 2011. <;.


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