Ma mama, A qui li rifrega Delacroix?! (But mum, who cares about Delacroix?!)
That was the question thrown by a child to his mum while I was waiting on a huge line for the Louvre Museum, in Paris. It made me smile until I realized that the child’s premise was full of truth, it kept a reality that we forget so often.
When you ask an architect what is Beauty for him, he will probably get back to you with concepts such as proportion, structural sincerity, construction purity or formal language. Most are very valid concepts in architecture but for ordinary people they are far away from their daily life. What about if we would ask to ordinary citizens what Beauty is for them? They would probably offer terms as sunset, landscapes, a naked body, their children or even the endless sea. Concepts related to everyday experiences, to intimate moments.
It was very meaningful that the child at the Louvre preferred to walk around Paris with his mom instead of queuing for several hours in order to see a picture in the middle of the crowd. Probably, unawaringly, he had fully understood Gustave Flaubert premise “They are not the great misfortunes that create misery, not the great joys that make happiness, but the fine and imperceptible tissue made of thousand banal circumstances, a thousand subtle details that make a lifetime of radiant peace or infernal agitation”
My project revolves around this idea, it is not based on a big and central element, concept or form that would make a house beautiful ; but thousands of small details and circumstances linked to our personal and intimate moments. That’s why I create a space focused on everyday life, on the family relationships, and the interaction with the external landscape. The house is just the background where life happens. It’s a setting that will give the freedom to all family members to discover the beauty in their daily life actions.
While the house’s northern facade is almost blind because of climatic reasons, the frontal landscape invades the house by a transparent southern side. An open roof with a certain industrial character provides a great amount of light to all daily activities. The white color of the house acts as a neutral backdrop, to make the personal relationships and family members the main actors of the house. The use of wood elements makes it warmer and more comfortable at the same time reducing the noise pollution.
It is divided in two different parts that shapes an intimate garden as an extension of the playground and the pool. The lower volume was created for secondary areas such as the studio, guest house and pet area. While The main social areas are located on the ground floor of the main volume, the top floor is reserved for the individual rooms.
This house has been thought to be used and lived in instead of a house built to be seen.
Client: Dessau City Council
Location: London, England
Architects in Charge: Ignacio Gias, Tomas Gruber