Robust concrete, ethereal glass and complex metal structures frequently grace our pages and some of the world's most prominent buildings - plaster and render, even though regularly used, often fade into the background. German architect Jurgen Mayer H's latest show at London's Sto Werkstatt gallery is an ode to this often overlooked building method, highlighting the masterful use of plaster and render in contemporary architecture.
The architect drew on the ECOLA Award archives as his main resource - the international competition focuses on high quality plaster and render as building materials and has been organised by German architecture magazine AIT since its inception in 2006. Winning designs that span the awards' entire lifetime (the 2015 winners were judged last May in a panel chaired by Sir Peter Cook) make up the show, entitled HANDS-ON: An ECOLA exhibit designed by J. MAYER H.
In order to create an installation to showcase the world's best examples in plaster and rendering, Mayer and his team designed a bespoke, textured structure, using of course the material in question. The freestanding piece 'abstractly represents a reaching hand', explains the architect, symbolically underlining the handcraft and skill required for the particular trade.
The multi functional, large scale sculpture acts as a display for the case studies on show, but also twists into becoming a seat for visitors to rest. Made in a plastering relief effect called 'Schwarzwälder Bollenputz' that traditionally stems from the Black Forest region in Germany, its presence elegantly highlights the particular building method and creates a modern platform for discussing plaster and rendering's myriad uses in contemporary architecture.