HYPNEROTOMACHIA

Wiesbaden, Germany | 1988

 

The house was conceived as a chain of linked yet discrete spaces tied together by a series of discontinuous paths that would enable one to traverse the various emblematic rooms independent of the vagaries of their inhabitants. The rooms of the house could be seen, then, as a kind of additive picture script, whose parts (rooms) could be "read" like the words and sentences of a discursive language. Thus a working method unfolded that utilized images of undigested (hence identifiable) historical minutiae, disposed within and among the program requirements of the competition brief. The result was an apparently seamless photomechanical mosaic.

 

A description of the living room may serve to clarify this idea. The room is bounded on four sides by the following: the library/study on whose walls hangs a map depicting the routes of certain aircraft on the night of Saturday, 14 October 1944; the facade wall, or Lancasteromachia, founded on the joining of 1:1 molds of aircraft parts (Lancaster MK1 and Junker 88A4) and depicting - rather in the method of now discredited historical paintings - a brief encounter in the skies over Daisseldorf; the storage wall (which requires no explanation); and the concrete living-room floor, which is inscribed.

 

The text on the floor of the living room is assembled through the methodical coupling of sentence fragments gleaned from various daily newspapers and tabloids. The laws of syntax are rigorously obeyed to produce a continuously bifurcating text; short-lived dramatis personae make their sudden appearance, proceed along a probable course of action, then exit abruptly as the possible syntactical routes are exhausted. In certain locations on the floor the sentences rejoin, resulting in an onanistic circularity of action (but these are merely instances). Within each possible route the narrative seeks to attain an artificially attenuated existence. Thus the narrative is sustained and proliferates only as long as the syntactical mechanism is supplied with language.

 

These abject concretions within the fabric of the domestic program form a kind of clew against which the conventional program of the house may be read and through which views of the Rhine meadow offer testimony. In this way, the apparently neutral views of "nature" are filtered through a historical matrix that is both "pneumatic" and critical.

Project Info

Type: House  |  Structure: Multiple

 

Project Credits

Principals

Jesse Reiser + Nanako Umemoto

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