Christian Kerez is an original thinker and rigorous practitioner. He has been developing unprecedented architectural projects for some time now. But this novelty does not come from an exploration of the weird or simply unseen forms. On the contrary, there is something very familiar about them when you first look at them: a structural clarity, a logical constructive simplicity, a strict notion of order. Such familiarity, however, is only a starting point because each of the projects introduces a variation of the convention that reinvents typologies or archetypes that we hitherto considered exhausted: an external layer of cables giving stability to a tower while simultaneously delicately altering its silhouette, or a slab and column construction intertwined with circular voids that introduce an internal continuity that the regular structure missed.
The project Kerez presents here goes a little bit further and takes even more risks. He is interested in studying and learning from the self-produced environment of the favelas. It is important not to poeticize informality and not to confuse an apparently organic development with the mere incapacity of individual actions (even if well intentioned) to guarantee common good. Even though we have so far been unable to resist the force of informality (it keeps on happening despite our efforts to prevent it), but mainly because Kerez is a careful architect, we should give him (and the favelas) the benefit of the doubt and see if we can learn something from them.