Official trailer of the film “Koolhaas Houselife” by Ila Bêka & Louise Lemoine
Maison Bordeaux by Rem Koolhaas located in Bordeaux, France | The Hardt
Maison Bordeaux by Rem Koolhaas located in Bordeaux, France. With the ability to make even the simplest and straightforward programs spatially dynamic and in a constant state of redefinition, Rem Koolhaas and his firm OMA have redefined the term that “a house is a machine for living” in their design of Maison Bordeaux. Completed in 1998, Maison Bordeaux sits on a small cape-like hill overlooking the city of Bordeaux. The house was designed for a couple and their family, but before Koolhaas and OMA were commissioned for the project in 1994 the husband of the family was in a life-threatening car accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Two years after his accident, the couple approached Koolhaas to design them a new home outside of Bordeaux. Despite having been paralyzed, the man did not want t straightforward house rather he wanted a complex design, stating: “Contrary to what you would expect. I want a complex house because the house will define my world.” Koolhaas proposed a rather simple volume that was spatially complex and innovative in terms of the interior organization and conditions. Koolhaas proposed a house that was the compilation of three houses stacked on top of one another; each with their own unique characteristics and spatial conditioning.
The house appears as three separate entities that fluctuate between opaque and transparent. The lower level sits as a heavy mass that is carved into the hill. The interior is cavernous and labyrinthian, in a sense, where all of the intimate activities of the family take place. The middle volume is the most transparent as well as the most occupied space in the house. It is the space for the living area that is situated partially indoors and outside offering extensive views over Bordeaux and allowing for a multitude of activities with its open plan. The top volume is similar to the lower level in that it is opaque and conceals the bedrooms of the children and the couple. Unlike the lower level, the volume is penetrated with porthole windows that create views for the residents from their beds.
With each floor being inherently different it is perplexing as to how a handicapped man was able to live in such a spatially complex house. Even though there is no duplicated, or repeated, organizational system, all three volumes are tied together by a central elevator that moves between each floor. However, it is not simply just an elevator for vertical circulation between floors, but it is masked by the husbands office that provides access to the entire house moving from the kitchen, the lower level, all the way to the bedroom on the highest floor, which was driven by a large hydraulic piston that raised and lowered the room whenever necessary. This ingenious idea of creating a room that is capable of moving vertically through the house creates a spatial dynamism within the house that is always changing and redefining the space of the office as well as the space where it stops.
With the three differentiated volumes stacked on one another, it appears as if the highest volume is floating on the middle volume because of the transparent glass. With such a complex organization among floors, the overall structure of the house comes into question as to how these volumes stack up to one another. With the third volume seemingly floating on top of the middle volume and actually cantilevering over it, one wonders how it could be supported. The cantilevering volume is supported by a steel tube that conceals a spiral staircase that extends throughout each level of the house. In addition to the steel cylinder, there is an L – shaped brace that supports the back end of the house, which is complemented by a steel beam that runs along the roof that connects to a tension cable that is buried in the ground to stabilize the lateral loads – a signature of architectural intent by Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond.
Maison Bourdeaux is a masterful innovation of space that far exceeded the expectation of the client’s wishes. Maison Bordeaux remains as a private residence that does not allow public visitors; however, regardless of its seclusion, it is still an innovative architectural landmark that was true “a machine for living.”
Within an exclusive video interview, Zumtobel had the chance to talk to Rem Koolhaas. In this context, Koolhaas provides insights into his work. In particular, he emphasizes the creative freedom of forms and the potential of lighting in contemporary architecture. He uses artificial light as a coding to understand the complexity of his buildings.
Movies On Design 2015: Koolhaas Houselife 25—26 September / 2, 4 October 2015
Aesthetically and Geographically Related Projects:
S House By Nicolas Schuybroek located in Cap d’Antibes, Côte d’Azur, France | The Hardt
Continuing in the Belgian theme I’ve been going with lately, S House By Nicolas Schuybroek located in Cap d’Antibes, Côte d’Azur, France. Belgian architect Nicolas Schuybroek of NS Architects had recently completed a remarkable minimalist single story holiday house in the South of France. Situated in the Mediterranean on the Côte d’Azur, more specifically in Cap d’ Antibes. The linear, geometric, elegant and stunningly simple design is indeed rather artful in and of itself. However, when you bring into account, that of which the subtle way the landscape enters into and then exits the house, can only be described as masterful. The single-family house which is located in a landscape of unique beauty holds a prime position where it looks out onto the natural milieu of the Mediterranean Sea and the Lérins Islands. Schuybroek’s accomplishment is in both merging and juxtaposing the strong use of concrete with the surrounding lush environment. The single-story linear S House conceived as a volume positioned in its sea-side setting is indeed a volume which provides a sense of constructive continuity with large openings for enjoying the pool and sea-side views.
Thomas Hirschhorn Swiss, b. 1957, Bern, Switzerland, based in Paris, France
Using his signature materials of plywood, cardboard, aluminum foil, packing tape, and copious photocopies, Thomas Hirschhorn makes installations that advance pointed critiques of the global military-industrial complex. Hirschhorn’s works overflow with imagery and text, created with a deliberately slap-dash DIY aesthetic and often incorporating the writings of such Leftist philosophers as Antonio Gramsci and Georges Bataille. The over-abundance of ideas and images in Hirschhorn’s installations mimics the media saturation of contemporary life and highlights the desensitization that consumers experience as a result. For Laundrette (2001), the artist transformed the gallery space into a facsimile of a typical Laundromat, complete with drab linoleum floor, garbage bins, and chained up plastic chairs, juxtaposed with the phrases from Marxist writings adorning the walls.
Apartment Trocadero by Rodolphe Parente located in Paris, France
Apartment Trocadero by Rodolphe Parente located in Paris, France. The approach for the project was based on a deep respect for the existing architecture while emphasizing the significance of the existing volumes and creating perfect opportunities for the contemporary art and furniture collection to receive the attention they deserve. Alas, the result is not a contemplative or a “frozen space” – instead, the apartment is designed as a place that feels comfortable and dedicated to family life. A warm atmosphere is created resulting from a series of bold and ambitious stylistic choices, underpinned with noble materials.
Located in Bonnieux, France, G House is another drop-dead gorgeous villa designed by the genius Karl Fournier & Olivier Marty of the design team Studio KO, in the heart of the national park of the Luberon in Provence. Nestled in the Luberon region just outside of Bonnieux, France, is an incredibly unique house – one that is dominated by concrete, stone, and clean lines. Designed by the famous architectural team Karl Fournier and Olivier Marty of Studio Ko, the priority was two-fold, to design a space that was both simple in design and in alignment with nature. The result is an expansive 3 bedroom home that is modern, minimalist and open-concept, yet far from ostentatious. The open design allows the surrounding environment to be the feature, thus creating a feeling of calm and relaxation among the chirping birds and wafts of lavender carried in the light breeze. Nightly rates start at $800 and vary seasonally
Located in Lyon, France, Chipster Blister House (2017) by AUM Pierre Minassian | The Hardt
Located in Lyon, France, Chipster Blister House (2017) by AUM Pierre Minassian. The Chipster Blister House is born from the collaboration between a couple with 3 children and Pierre Minassian and his team of architects.The project is located on a sloping site in a small town in the Lyon region. The building is entirely constructed of white concrete and is partially embedded in the ground. On the ground floor are the living room, the kitchen, the laundry room and the playroom. Upstairs are the bedrooms. The house has at its ends two exceptional cantilevers. The monolithic lines of this resolutely contemporary volume are meant to stretch to the extreme affirming the duality between mass and void, glazed surfaces and concrete sails. The south façade is composed of an assemblage of the elliptical shape of Corian® matt black resin suspended in front of the rooms and made by IMAGE. Not unlike the little Chipsters, whose form is burnt in the collective unconscious, or the African totem jewelry, these forms bring a particular vibration to the almost ghostly perception of the volumes inscribed between projected shadows and surfaces of an emblematic downy black.
This contemporary mashrabiya allows the inside of the house to profit from a maximum visual frame while reducing the penetration of excessive solar light. An intermediate space between the glazing and the suspended curtain appears to the occupants of the premises and a sensation of extra volume is instantly felt. Viewed from the outside, the facade is uniform, and in the undulating reflections of the hulls, we perceive all the tones of a sky framed between vegetal and mineral.
This house is extremely efficient from an energetic point of view and meets the BBC label. Thus a multitude of technical solutions has been developed to conserve the raw concrete apparent on the outside and the inside. In order to retain a maximum of the raw concrete structure apparent, the roof is insulated from the outside with a system of extremely efficient thin insulating panels. The reinforced concrete walls are divided with thermal breakers and thermal insulation. The imposing veil of the living room in double height has also been left in exposed concrete, which makes it possible to detach visually the structure of the chimney in raw steel. The bridge that plays the link between the library space suspended above the kitchen and the bedrooms is actually a beam of the structure of the house. It puts the space in tension. This house, whose envelope is largely glazed is a low consumption building. It is heated with a geothermal heat pump and has a dual-flow ventilation. The main façade to the south is largely glazed and has latticework made of resin shapes that reduce solar contributions. The high concrete slab comes largely in front of the facade and thus limits the solar penetrants in summer.
Part of artist Olafur Eliasson’s Versailles exhibition, The Waterfall is a massive, life-size replica of an actual waterfall that almost doesn’t seem real. The plumes of water appear from mid-air before pouring down into the Grand Canal at the Palace of Versailles.Olafur is one of our favorite artists.
Floating Fountains by Isamu Noguchi, Osaka, Japan
These decidedly modern fountains appear to float with no connection to ground or water over an artificial lake. A brilliant cinematic feat of artistic ingenuity and clever plumbing they were dreamed up by the Californian sculptor and landscape architect Isamu Noguchi for Expo’ 70, the first World’s Fair to be hosted in Japan. Only when they are not working is Noguchi’s mystifying game given away. Water is pumped up to the sculpted floating fountains through vertical pipes invisible when the fountains flow. Happily, Noguchi’s artwork has remained long after the futuristic 1970 exhibition had vanished into folk memory. (Credit: The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York / ARS, New York – DACS, London/ Michio Noguchi) via BBC
There Is Truly Something To Be Said About A Piece Of Art That Blends Into The Surrounding In Which It Was Placed. Blending Seamlessly Into It’s Surrounding Environment While Not Disturbing It’s And Actually Enhancing The Surroundings, Is The Epitome Of A Good Design Becoming A Great Design.
Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates. So far I think I've managed to send one super important newsletter out, in total. So if you're worried about spam, don't trip. Feel free to lurk in the shadows too. Either way, I'll still have mad love for you 🖤