I always thought the famous 21c architect, Rem Koolhaas’s initial work of ‘Maison à Bordeaux,’ is so Koolhaas and not so Koolhaas simultaneously. From the film of the ‘House Life,’ many people remember this house as ‘a big lift’ house, like this:”Koolhaas Transforming House Is Worthy of Iron Man, Batman, and Optimus Prime Combined – GIZMODO”
However, this is another aspect which completes this architecture, but what dragged my eyes more was its ‘desperate’ structure. It’s better explained in the book of ‘Informal’ by Cecil Balmond who is in Arup, which I think the most responsible design consultant company who’s taking care of all the world famous irresponsible architect.
As this diagram shows, this house’s 2 columns are out of the box, and its unbalanced state is compensated by the tension of one thin cable. Just saying in common sense: “What a stupid complex structure!, just put 4 columns inside the plan! (and get rid of the stupid big energy-inefficient lift and put stairs!)” – Oh, wait. He’s famous starchitect. Shut up. He’s right. Whatever.
Whenever I see this project, I feel the word: ‘DESPERATE’
1. The architect, Rem Koolhaas in 1998 who wants to be famous (actually he was already famous for architectural filed somehow), was ‘desperate.’ He wants to show something more. He had to do something. (I should do something. though.)
2. Its structure, itself is ‘desperate.’ If you are really wicked, and wants to be famous, bring some big cable cutter and cut the one thin cable, then this one piece of art will collapse. Like one simulated by model. I really love this kind of ‘desperate’ structure.
Usually these types of structure can express technical ‘lightness’ lifting heavy loads. As structure goes ‘looks-danger,’ its structural redundancies are erased more. I personally love this ‘desperateness’ which can present the essence of material. Rem requested to Cecil to make a villa in Bordeaux ‘fly,’ as Cecil wrote in his book, ‘Informal.’
3. Maybe I’m reaching, but this ‘desperateness’ can apply to a ‘family’ housing both as metaphor and hope of this family. ‘The client is seriously disabled from a recent car accident but is fighting back, determined to have a new life.” – He was desperate from death or injury. Or his family member was, too. The ‘bonding’ of one family looks like one thin cable and looks dangerous and weak, but at the same time it’s stronger than any other 12 inch concrete column. As it goes desperate, it always is getting stronger like Super Sayian Songoku who is getting stronger after almost-dead fight. (Later he’s even back from death!)
I had chance to watch this ‘desperateness’ around me. It was one of my friends from Urban design program in GSAPP, Kurt Franz. He, I always think one of the smartest guy in our program. And also the funniest. – I wish I fully understand his joke, but it’s out of my understanding sometimes. Oh, my English. It was September 11th, which was desperate for many New Yorkers, and his birthday. He sent this (2nd) message via facebook.
Fbook didnt send out some of the invites so i resent some just to make sure you got it. sorry if you got it twice, i am not that desperate but would like to see you tomorrow.
Yes. He wasn’t desperate. whatever. Who says I’m not desperate is always the most desperate. When I entered to he and his roommates’ flat, this great piece of work was waiting for its guest. Desperate Kurt’s signature table:
This table flies with one corner holding one column with one thing cable at opposite side. It was one piece of desperate unemployed work. (Oh, don’t get me wrong, technically he’s now real estate program in GSAPP, Columbia Univ. He’s voluntarily unemployed.) I wish I could have more pics of this, but it was birthday party.
Happy birthday, Kurt.