domingo, 21 de junio de 2009
Obstacles: Koolhaas presenta la Villa Dall´ava en el inmenso S,M,L,XL
Letter It was handwritten in blue ink, obviously by someone who was very passionate about architecture. Reading it, you knew immediately that this was going to be a mythological enterprise.
Desperation It had a desperate tone: “Dear so-and-ao, you are our last chance.”Something like that.
Competition Later, we found out that they had already spent a long time searching for the right architect. They had even held small competitions.
Scandal We made an appointment. He would pick me up al Charles de Gaulle Airport. When I came out, there was a enormous scandal: someone was trying to kill a policeman. It turned out to be him. The policeman had asked him to move, but since he was waiting for his architect he had tried to run over the policeman.
Introduction That was our introduction.
Site The site was beautiful – a Monet. It slopes toward the Seine. Beyond it, the Bois de Boulogne, and beyond that a panorama view of the city; the Eiffel Tower is straight on axis. La Defense is to the left.
Neighbors It is surrounded by 19th-century houses, very picturesque; diagonally across is a 1950s “Belgian” house with a tennis court.
Intimidation I Two of Le Corbusier´s villas are nearby
Intimidation II The client want a masterpiece
Contradiction I He wanted a glass house. She wanted a swimming pool on the roof.
Urban / Suburban Theoretically, it would be possible to see the Eiffel Tower while swimming.
Weigth It was a difficult issue to resolve: the weigth of the pool resting on glass.
Columns The engineer proposed columns to support the parent´s apartment.
Butterfly There are columns inside, but they are absorbed by the wall. The house floats like a concrete butterfly. Contradiction II The site was small. The house was big. It had to have the smallest possible footprint.
Pretzel The zoning regulations described a kind of pyramidal pretzel that the house could not violate. The site was surrounded by walls; it was already a kind of interior. The small rectangle of the glass house represents the minimal footprint. It is only a preliminary enclosure; the real house ends at the walls, where the “others” begin.
Building Permit The permit process went very fast. That was the last thing that went fast.
Fight We got permission to build. When the neighbors learned what was happening, they became very unhappy. There had never been a house on the site.
Issue The issue: does etched glass count as a wall? It was debated all the way to the French Supreme Court.
Commuters Anyway, we started. The house was too expensive. Belgian contractors were cheaper. It would be a house built by commuters.
Deserted In the end, the lawyers deserted the clients. They had to argue themselves. They won.
Delay Time passed. Time pressed
Daughter The daughter grew up. How would she inhabit the house that she destroyed –accidentally- as a model when she was seven?
Revision The long wait was bad in some ways, but good in allowing endless revision: it began as a beginner’s house: strident, colorful, etc. ; it became a record of our growing up.
Delay Years passed.
Moved We moved in to finish the house. They moved in because it was still unfinished. We became friends.
Pause They lived happily ever after.
Saturday One Saturday morning, they counted 30 people outside, looking in…
Obstacles, Villa Dall´ava, St. Cloud, París, France. Completed 1991 Rem Koolhaas, S, M, L, XL.
O.M.A. Rem Koolhaas and Bruce Mau New York, 1995, the Monacelli Press