The Art of Plastic – GF Piping Systems in New Contexts

Mar 3, 2016 10:00 AM

For the retrospective of Urban-Think Tank at ETH Zurich and the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, GF Piping Systems contributed its PVC-U pipes. Finally, this flexible and sustainable material had its public appearance.

Retrospective Si/No (source: Daniel Schwartz, ETH Zurich)

Plastic pipes are not only useful to transport different kinds of media, but also to meet artistic demands. This was shown by the restrospective of Urban-Think Tank of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich – one of the top ranked universities in the world. The PVC-U pipes from GF Piping Systems were not the center of the exhibition, but literally formed it.

Retrospective Si/No (source: Daniel Schwartz, ETH Zurich)

For their exhibition “Si /No – The Architecture of Urban-Think Tank” the Department for Architecture and Urban Design around the professors Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner chose the venerable main hall of the ETH Zurich. Projects from over fifteen years of collaboration were hoist on a structure made of PVC-U pipes from GF Piping Systems.

New context for well-known products

Retrospective Si/No (source: Daniel Schwartz, ETH Zurich)

Using these specific pipes instead of the usual trusses had weighty reasons. Professor Hubert Klumpner explains: “At our department we mainly deal with the architecture of slums.” Finding simple and cost-effective solutions is essential. In many countries, for example in Latin America, this solution would be concrete or bricks. Over here in Switzerland it is plastic pipes,. Besides that, the material is recyclable and therefore sustainable. For the project Si/No reusability was an important issue that ultimately led to the collaboration with GF Piping Systems. “We had the opportunity to set an industrial material into an unconventional context,” said Klumpner. Stand builder ADUNIC made Klumpner and his colleagues aware of the plastic piping systems producer. Michael Vogel, field staff of Georg Fischer Rohrleitungssysteme (Schweiz) AG, supported the project. He explained the project as followed: „Together with ADUNIC we designed the exhibition from scratch. On the basis of their first loose ideas we probed with the design and feasability of the construction.”

Easy to install – even for non-professionals

During the implementation of the project the benefits of PVC-U became obvious. The pipes were not only easy to install and degrade. The construction could be set up independently by the stand builders and employees of the department. Only a single training from GF Piping Systems was necessary. In addition, the plastic components were light and therefore easy to transport. This was an advantage as the exhibition was supposed to move to the museum Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich. Another positive effect was the modularity of the system. Klumpner says: “The flexibility of the products had a positive impact on the aesthetic effect. The framework does not look as if it was planned specially for the easy assembly and disassembly.”

A valuable contribution to urban development

The curators did not only focus on the artistic and aesthetic aspect. In urban architecture, the supply with (drinking) water is a basic need. But especially in slums this often states an enormous challenge. It is necessary to think in a social context, says Klumpner. The basic services must be ensured in the first place, only then followed by culture and beauty. For decades GF Piping Systems has been contributing to such objectives with its product range.



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