Sunday, 30 September 2012

UPDATING STORIES (Any similarities to actual persons or places, alive or dead, real or ficticious is merely coincidental and the product of a feverish imagination)


Shinji Ikari, his wife Rei, along with their three children and his elderly parents Ken and Yukiji moved into the Naked House, just outside Tokyo twelve years ago. Shinji, who commissioned the home from Shigeru Ban has always loved the house, and been proud to show off its progressive design. After years of living harmoniously in this freeing environment, the Ikari family has come across hard times. 

It began with Grandmother Yukiji, who had been suffering from osteoarthritis has been struggling to move the mobile room around, she passes away.  Grandfather Ken, after her passing, suffers a broken heart.  He becomes more stubborn and often is found despondent and unwilling to participate in the household. 
Shinji and Rei’s children, who are now grown to their twenties, are jaded by the large cites and American culture lose interest in the modest, simple home and leave, eager to make a life on their own.  They seldom return home to visit.  

The home becomes empty, where there used to be children running and playing, where the house would flow and change, has become stagnant.  Mobile containers remain in place, out of the way; as the parents feel little need to change anything.

Grandfather Ken lately finds has been finding it extremely painful to walk and the only activity Shinji and Rei can find he is interested in is maintaining and cultivating his bonsai trees.
The parents, with their children gone, find themselves with a lot more free time and have started to have more visitors over to entertain; they enjoy the company and the energy more people bring to the space.

New Ending to The Naked House
The house, like traditional Japanese homes, is built for the temporary; it is now coming to the end of its materialistic life.  The family has changed; the Grand Parents passed on, and the children have grown up and moved out.  The house is now only occupied by the parents, who now have the freedom of the home and have many friends to entertain.  The area around has been slowly developed and now the house is surrounded by a developing neighborhood.

How does the house reflect the changes?  
  •  How does the house age, what elements might need to be replaced?
  • What happens to increase the privacy from the encroaching neighborhood?
  • Does part of the building get removed/changed to reflect family size?
  • Remove/fix the pods as generations are no longer there to share the same communal space?
  • How does the idea of ‘dwelling’ (between heaven and earth) change, or how does it stay the same?

The Naked House

New Ending to The Aktion House 

Group 1 Architects, proposed by teacher Javier Sánchez Merina, won the competition with a house that reflects the fragile difference between reality and fantasy, seeing life as a dream inside another dream. In that case, the contrasts become a whole and get omitted like a raccord mistake. As it happens in dreams, two opposite scenes become a mutual and ordinary sequence. Inspired by the book “Hypnerotomachia Poliphile”, Group I created a house where the contrast between nature and technology gets so extreme that it just disappears.

They inserted several scenes (dreams) which successively advance, and tracks that connect themselves as a loop in the first and last of these scenes. First of all, when getting into the plot, we come across with the first scene. It's a leafy forest which lead into two paths that advance inland in different direction.
Trees and vegetation partly hide the architectural piece. Just after advancing through one of the paths we check that there's only one track that intersects with the two only entries of the house. The land is level even in the vicinity of the house, so we can see how it appears partly buried in the ground. That makes that from the outside, we see two different volumes merged in an upper one.

But now it's time to get in the second scene, inside the house, which forms a common track. The ground floor is integrated with the cellar and creates a space hidden from the outside. Here we find the common rooms in an open space (living room, bathroom...). Two opposite spirals connect the cellar with ground and first floor, passing through the both volumes that form the ground floor, which includes the kitchen in one of them and the office on the another, offering views of the forest.
Finally, the first floor, to which one can get through both of the spirals, creates the third scene, the final dream where Poliphile meets Polia. This floor is the resting area for the family, having 3 rooms and 2 toilets. Is the place where the love reach its peak, where the loop comes back day by day, where dreaming takes place.

Nature and Technology play an essential role. Nature, which reflects fantasy in literary and mythological contexts, meets the science, the reason, the truth; in other words, the technology. But this difference between fantasy and reality is diffuse and sometimes these roles get swapped. Nature reflects order, God's hand, virginity, reality. Technology however has been created by the human mind as a review of the natural order of events. Technology allows us to contemplate things that in an ancient time just seemed fiction, fantasy.


Group 2 - A New Ending to the House in Lege – Option 1

They right now have passed fourteen years from than the family Sarkozy constructed his house in Leg, during these years the family nucleus has disintegrated. Young people that at that time they were having 23 and 25 years have instructed their respective families and they live apart. Nicolas, the older brother, live now in San Francisco for business motives, he is married and he has right now two children of four and five years. Carla, live in France with his couple not very far away of the house of his parents, to some 85km, but the family takes in spite of it without meeting a good season.

An unexpected call of telephone changes the course of the events. Gèrard, Carla's and Nicolas's father, who aroused in them the love for art and  architecture, has died, so both have to meet again to ensure the dead.

They carried a year and months without almost maintaining communication, it is  given an account of that his lives have changed very much and practically some strangers seem one in front of the other one. It is then when both brothers become aware of the need to reinforce their ancient family ties. In this way they decide to retake ancient habit to take vacations at the coast's house Atlántica.

For his return, because the family has grown, they need to readapt the new conditions this; the coexistence of two family nucleus, the new cultural influences and the experience acquired with the years along with young children's presence that they require to get his new experiences. They do not want to lose that relation of coexistence with the nature in this reform and they hope that this be the link that go back to join them.

Group 2 - A New Ending to the House in Lege – Option 2

14 years have passed since the House in Lege was built.  The brother and sister are now 37 and 39 years old respectively, have both gotten married and each have a young boy and girl.  The sister is a professional dancer while the brother is a pianist.  When the siblings spoke to the architects Lacaton and Vassal, they spoke about the beauty of the site - a site where the whole family used to picnic during the summer months and a site where they, as children, used to make huts between the trees.  The house in Lege allowed for their family to come together and to produce memories that would last a lifetime.  However, now their families have added a new generation and they would like to continue creating memories in a more comfortable manner.  The current house is too small and an expansion or larger house is needed.  The old house was based on the idea of co-existing with nature in that it had minimal impact on the surrounding environment.  This concept is to be maintained however the siblings and their families wish to be able to enjoy this notion of co-existing through the performing arts.  The father of the siblings enjoys nothing more than for his children and grandchildren to get together and dance or play the piano.  It should also be a place where one is able to perform one’s dance or play music in harmony with the performance of nature.  Nature should interact with the building and act as a backdrop for this magical event.


A new project is  presented. The customer wishes to preserve the vegetation masted of the lot. I must do it without altering it, a concept not very habitual at present ...
We will avoid trees generating a crooked journey between the pines in this way, filling the spaces that nature allows us to establishing a perfect communion between architecture and vegetation, we will that way obey the customer's desires. But they must not be left alone in that, in order to obtain a bigger experience we will lift this journey on oneself in the shape of spiral shell or spiral. We propose a panoramic vision of all the surroundings of the bay and specially finalizing at a lookout.


In a series of arson strikes, the Villa NM is burnt down on February 7th, 2008 and the Mobius House is burnt down a few years later on November 22nd, 2011.  The Mobius family is left homeless, and in their search for another home the Mobius family come across the vacant Villa Bollen and purchase it.  However, the dynamics of the Mobius family have changed significantly, with the family’s two children now needing spaces to work and both parents being retired. This prompts the family to take on a major renovation of the existing architecture.  One of the parents primary concerns is that over the last 15 years, as technology has become more prominent in the home, they feel that they have become disconnected from their children.  They want a renovation that will reconnect them back to one another, and re-establish their relationship with Dutch nature (land that floods).  

One way in which the Mobius family feels they can reconnect with nature and each other is through a more natural material palette. They request that central family spaces in particular use a more ‘back to nature’ approach through re-furnished flooring, and additional glass surfaces to enhance natural light.  In addition to this they request that nature be literally brought into the home through interior garden space, and courtyard space. These new requirements can also be achieved through allowing the house to have interior mobile partitions, which allow the family to program spaces themselves and ensure a constant variaiton of private or communal areas.

In contrast to the family spaces the Mobius Family requests that the working spaces of the house are materially different from communal space. In the office spaces particularly the use of concrete, and dark stone creates an environment free from the visual distractions of nature.

The Bollen renovation also incorporates a number of environmentally minded sustainable technologies into the renovation. Including but not limited to passive solar heating/cooling, grey water systems, green roof, and material reuse.

The goal of Charette #2 was to incorporate the concept of a mobile unit, which the Alicante students initiated, and progress it to more completely address the Mobius family situation and daily routine within the context of the Bollen House.

One of our primary concerns beginning Charette #2 was that the mobile cube proposed did not necessarily reference the existing architecture of the Bollen House, and did not inherently re-connect/de-connect the family. The concept of family space or communal space, as explored in the Charette #1 as space connected more closely to nature, was still restricted through this initial proposal to a basic visual connection.

To resolve these discrepancies, Charette #2 began with an exercise of defining the possible daily routine of the Mobius family. This led to the discovery that living space is driven by ‘necessity’, while work and family space is driven by the need for ‘flexibility’. Through Charette #2 spaces for ‘necessity’ are interpreted as the spaces which consist of immobile mechanical/electrical/plumbing units(bathrooms, kitchen, sleeping areas, etc), while ‘flexible’ spaces can literally be freed from the structural confines of architecture and become mobile.

The outcome of Charette #2 is a proposal to divide the existing Bollen house into two programmable areas, immobile architecture and mobile architecture. The immobile architecture will be based on the generic living cycle, while the mobile architecture will have the ability to become self-programmable based on the changing needs of the family unit.  This area of mobile architecture will be generated by literally dividing the existing ‘flexible’ spaces of the Bollen House, based on a grid system (Gordon Matta Clark - esque).  The ‘flexible’ spaces which are created from this division will then have the ability to de/re-connect to the ‘necessity’ based spaces of the house.


Villa Anbar

 We think the conditions of a modern Arab house is a very interesting exploration and we think we should focus on designing a house for the modern Arab family. Arab families are changing, although traditionally, households would be very large, with extended family members all living under the same roof but now houses on small plots of land are demanding a smaller, nuclear family.
The exploration of the social context of Villa Anbar was generally about voyeurism in the house and we think that would mean an architectural focus on carefully designing public and private spaces.
The Arab culture is big on entertaining, a place to chat with friends and to drink and especially eat. These are the public areas of a home. Traditionally their would be a separate room for women, where they would go when strange guest where being entertained, but more modern families don’t follow this custom. That being said there is still a lot of work to be done to progress the status of Arab women and as forward thinking architects we must break down the division of spaces reserved and divided between men and women, expand the spaces designed for women, connect them with spaces for men, open these spaces to a common use of all family. A traditional room in an Arab house is the majlis or “sitting room”, where you would go to converse with guests. This is the place to show off the house since guests don’t tend to penetrate into the private family areas.
The private family rooms would include a courtyard/ garden, which is more of a space for quiet reflection.
Another thing we should focus on is to break down the barriers between the house and the outside world. This is represented in masonry fences common to Arab houses and we can solve this divide by creating a house that is more permeable to the eye, allowing greater visibility from the outside to the inside. This will serve to open the architectural influences to the city and the world and bring about change
            Through this study of the nuclear family in a modern yet Arab house we can interpret the tradition spaces of a different culture through western eyes.

Maison A Bordeaux

When looking at the cultural notions that created 'Maison a Bordeaux', it is clear that it was heavily influenced by the need to change the way in which disability was perceived. It was designed to allow the user to feel as free and as equal as an able bodied person. The purpose of the house has changed slightly, as the original design was for a man who has now passed, the ideas that were present then are not all needed now. Therefore, alterations are needed for today's client.
Although built twenty years ago, we believe that the" Maison a Bordeaux", is still relevant and technologically modern. The house is an extremely complex, dynamic and advanced design, not only in its time, but today’s standards too. Koolhaas’ approach to the design was primarily to integrate the disabled fathers needs into a family house. The key feature of the house that catered for this need was the elevator. It would be a shame to drastically alter the house, as it would loose a strong part of its integrity and character. Therefore we propose to make small changes that would be to alter the use of the elevator, and make it fit for another purpose. Something that could cause problems to the ''new owner" would be the absence of a safety railing on the platform.  This could present a safety hazard and for greater security we might consider this modification, particularly if there is a presence of children in the home. Another option could be to fully remove the elevator and leave an open void throughout the house. Planting a tree at the base could be a warm metaphor to symbolize bringing a new life to the house. Another sign of new life in the house could be to replace the elevator with a 3-storey high fish tank!
The fact that the library is accessible only by the platform could cause problems should it fail.  For this reason, we could design a second means of access to the library or possibly move the library to a different position. The client needs the house to be more than just a mode of getting around his 'world'. It needs to assist him. The client needs to be able to access all parts.
We could also intervene on the intermediate plane because it might be considered too transparent for the privacy of the new client. Dudley suggests designing an open space so that the house opens to the surrounding landscape and does not close in on itself. Extending the exterior space to utilize the freedom of the outside, to extend his world from not just the confides of his house but to live as one with nature. One way in which this could be done is to use the already existing first floor views, but create exterior space leading off this area. To extend his studio to the exterior and further integrate the house into the landscape. For the client, the main focus of adaptation concerns his desire to extend his world into nature, not just be confined to the walls of his house.
The client requires the implementation of a central control system, to allow him to easily turn on lights or prevent natural light entering for example. Although, the principle design stays the same, the need for concealed, multifunctional ramps are necessary. This makes the transition between spaces look like part of the room rather than a ramp positioned within it, which follows up with the idea that disability aid should be subtle.
Finally the second floor, closed like a box with small windows may need to be modified to allow for more light.   We could design larger windows even changing the form if necessary as long as we are respectful of the initial project. 
These are reflections on some of the ways this home can be modified to meet the needs and comfort of the new client and the twenty-first century while remaining true to it’s original design. As times have moved forward, technologies have advanced. It is not just about the architecture anymore, it is about the whole system, how the architecture co-exists with technology.


After Eduardo Souto de Moura completed the house in 1993, the client, Cesar, enjoyed the house for 4 years before life became too busy to be able to return every weekend to enjoy the house. Instead, Cesar welcomed guests including family and friends, to take the space as their own and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere that Souto de Moura worked so hard on creating. Most of these guests found themselves returning weekend after weekend to the house simply to enjoy its connection to the site and its ability to communicate time in the physical remains of the ruin. 

  Returning back to the original history of the site, a small garden was planted just in front of the ruins. This garden was tenderly cared for by each visitor - each family carefully tending to the vegetables by either maintaining the already planted food or by introducing new vegetables to the area. This creation allowed the space to be a source of not only nutrition for the visiting guests but a strong connection back to the original conditions of the site.

  The one major issue that all guests could agree on was the lack of connection to the ruins. Although their physical presence weighed heavily on the site, there seemed to be a lack of connection for the visitors. Over time, small interventions were introduced within the physical farmhouse ruin. Initially it was a simple bench or table for the families to eat dinner. But quickly it became something more. As the families returned year after year, the farmhouse became a space of remembrance. A floor was built on the interior to avoid muddy feet. Then a small ladder was propped up against the wall to allow children to climb up to see out of the top window. After too many accidental falls  by the children, a grandfather of one of the families built a platform on the second level of the farmhouse to allow his grandchildren a safe place to sit. This platform was quickly used as a perfect retreat for sleeping under the stars on warm summer nights. As the children began to fall in love with the second floor space, the adults became curious: what would it be like if they were to move up one more level and make the roof of the farmhouse an alternative entrance? This would allow for a more meaningful connection between the ruins and the site while also offering additional floor area for a more adult zoned space. Once again, the grandfather got to work along with his two sons. They quickly built a third platform within the farmhouse which boasted 360 degree views of the landscape. 

These three platforms: ground level, second and third, allow the visitors individual spaces to not only use the farmhouse as a functional addition to the house but also to reflect on the large history of the ruins.