Friday, 5 October 2012

UPDATING STORIES v2 (Any similarities to actual persons or places, alive or dead, real or ficticious is merely coincidental and the product of a feverish imagination)


After twelve years…

Everything was perfect when the family bought the house, but now, after twelve year, the social, cultural and planning context have changed, like in some written before we have mentioned... Nowadays or live is constantly changing, and twelve years is enough to observe a very different situation from the house was built.

Firstly, the family situation has transformed into another completely different because the grandmother die off suffering from osteoarthritis (limiting her ability to move the containers), and the grandfather suffered a broken heart, starts bringing down the cheeriness of the home, so he is seriously sick.  Alongside this, the children are eager to make a life on their own and start school move out to the larger cities and away to school.

So, the house is empty except for the parents who principal feeling is loneliness because of the lost of their children; and the grandfather, who tries to walk out to the river often though finding it extremely painful to walk. Moreover, he also finds more enjoyment working in the garden where he carefully maintains and cultivates bonsai trees.

Because of all this stuff, the parents finding much free time with their children gone have started to have more visitors over to entertain, and they also start  working more in the community garden next door finding it relaxing, taking less care about their house: clean, tidy... They are getting older also...

Apart from family stuff, there are some social and cultural changes, and planning changes in Japan. First of all, in 1998, a study showed that around 60% of single Japanese men and 80% of single Japanese women aged 20 to 34 were still living with their parents. So now it's not uncommon for young couples to share an apartment before marriage. Moreover, in recent years, Japan is undergoing a demographic and socio-economic change, and it is becoming common for young people to share apartments, making condominiums more and more popular. Compared with 1983, when 64% of homes were owned houses, and only 27% were rented/leased condominiums, the latest statistics show that the latter is now about 40% of the category.

On the other hand, a common pattern in the Japanese housing market is to rebuild in the same place, knocking down old houses and replacing them, all in the same owner cycle. To accomplish this, the occupants move into a temporary residence. A contractor is hired to demolish the old structure and erect a new one in its place. The residents then are able to move back onto the property and into the new home. This is done quite often at least once in every home owner’s lifetime and the process has the advantage of keeping the same address, telephone number, and utility bills, and avoiding the cost of purchasing new property. Because of the wood construction methods native to Japan and the relatively short lifespan of the Japanese house typology, replacement is often considered cheaper than maintaining the old structure.

Talking about cultural traits, Japan hasn’t grown from a monotheistic tradition; it takes several religions and tries to reconcile his teachings in an eclectic way, even in the event of inconsistency between the provisions of each of them separately. This amalgam of religion and society thought comes with its own characteristics and distinct from other countries. They respect the rules and the hierarchy. Age and experience are two very important foundations in Japanese society. They also have an organization capacity of society to achieve a common goal based on consensus.

One of the crucial moments in the life of Japanese is the entrance examination to college, because the note will mark the possibilities of studying in either center. Top universities (Keio, Waseda, Tokyo University, etc.), are the most desired by students, because the possibilities of joining a prestigious company are much greater if the degree has been studied in these centers. Due to this and the stress they are subjected youth suicide rate in the country is of the highest.

Japan is a country that has remained isolated for many centuries, which is why there is a certain distrust of foreigners. Such mistrust can be overcome by establishing strong personal relationships, but this will involve some time and effort on both sides. Contrary to what happens in many countries, where raw encourages professionalism and the separation of personal and professional life, in Japan both sides have a common link should be encouraged to obtain positive results.

Finally, we must remark that Japanese climatology is well known for having a high risk of earthquakes, typhoons, and tsunamis, which usually cause great catastrophes.

On the same way, the family moved out of the city looking for some tranquility also because since the 1980s the authorities have been promoting decentralization and dispersal of the population to decrease the high density of the large megalopolises. Now some other families have moved on the same place, so now more people live on the neighborhood. Also, young people, in place of stay with the family, rent a flat in the city with more young people looking for a place with more activities.

As a second theme, over the years has made the house begins to age.  The translucent plastic siding has begun to yellow and breakdown, and several holes have opened up, and they had been patched over.

And following this issue, a lot of parts of the house are now useless, four of the containers are now empty, as there inhabitants have left. With just two people living in the house, there is no need for so much open floor space. Since there is more containers then people to move them, the functionality and freedom of movement they once represented is gone.

For all this we realize the need for change, a change that we will analyze and describe from these issues…

… creating something unique, with a substantial connection
to the changes that the years have generated.


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 Francewith 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.


On November 22, 2011, the Mobius House experienced an electrical fire and burnt down, becoming uninhabitable. The Mobius family became homeless and while looking for another home, the family contacted their good friends the Bollens.  The Villa Bollen was for sale and it had the connection with nature that Mobius Family wanted. After much deliberation, they decided to buy the house and move in with their two children.

However, the dynamic of the Mobius family had changed significantly, the children are grown and need spaces to work and both parents are retired. The children are architects and work out of the home. Both are particularly dependent on technology (telephones, internet, skype) and often work long hours into the night. They would like their own space within the home, which is isolated from the rest of the house. That is why they have set aside  Wednesdays for smaller meetings with clients.
A major concern of parents is that in the last 30 years technology has become more prominent in the home and they feel they have been disconnected from their children. They want to reincorporate family time, potentially using technology, back into the family routine. They have decided  that every Sunday they will invite over family and friends for dinner in order to reconnect with them. In this respect, the house will be full and need a good place to host all of these people in comfort. To facilitate the connection of the House with the outside, and since that’s something typical of Dutch culture, they carry out this through a road where you can move freely to the nearest town by bike. Other activities they enjoy doing during the week are having weekly bridge games outside the home and spend the day gardening.
Another factor that we must bear in mind is that, in Holland, the control of water is a vital issue. They need a well-developed control system to prevent flooding, therefore modified the house to avoid a disaster.

Group 4

The Blind Bordeaux

A young family from the city with a blind 12- year old daughter have decided to move to a more rural setting. The city had become too overwhelming with dangerous traffic, noise level and sense of restriction. The family members want to move to a dwelling that will enrich their daughters life with freedom and nature. They want to be able to encourage her operative senses and enable her to develop her independance. The young girl is training with a guide dog and learning to read braille. Maison a Bordeaux was the perfect choice for the family as it has ground access and a panoramic view of nature. The large courtyard will allow the girl to spend plenty of time outdoors enjoying the peaceful quiet of nature safely under the watch of her parents.

It was very important that the 12-year old girl was able to live easily in her environment, access to the ground floor being a crucial reason for moving, however, certain aspects of the house needed to be changed in order to provide a safe environment for the girl. The hydraulic lift, for example is one area that was unfit for the girl as it created a potential risk of injury. Numerous options were discussed; implementing handrails to enclose the gaps in the floors, but also removing it completely. The house, although excellent by design, perhaps made moving around difficult for the girl and so it was suggested that there be a floor that is dedicated to her needs, making it easy for her to walk around and experience her environment through her operative senses. The insertion of different textures on walls was decided, perhaps so she could easily identify where she was, if she didn’t already know, braille and voice coding was another suggestion for her to be able to use appliances easily and safely.

The girl took an important part on the new design, as the blind people’s relationship with space is more intimate and thorough; more preferred and diverse, more intensive and complex, and with a slower consolidation because they use their other sense. Which means the needing of providing the architectural design an extra of multi-sensoriality. Incorporating to the house, the blind people’s multi-sensoriality generates a new universe of concepts, where solutions to human needs sprout from a dialogue between mind and its senses, matter and spirit, body and emotions, time and space.

One of the options that was considered was that the music could be a significant boost for her. Then it is possible for the new housing program to appear a space for music, as a soundproofed room. This space would be analogous to the library of the previous owner, so it could be in the place of the lift platform. But the most important thing in this House was that the upper body was divided in two sides. A part was for the parents and the other one for the children. Now, the order should be changed, since the side of the man in a wheelchair was to be for the daughter, and the old side of children for parents (depending on how the platform space is exploited). In addition they considered that the circular staircase was very problematic, and also the staircase next the library.

To make the design suitable for a blind girl must be able to make so that it can orientate through the other senses. Render the surfaces of the walls different from each other by facilitating the recognition of the space in which it is located. Through the installation guides and acoustic sensors to protect it from harm. Reduce as much as possible the presence of obstacles on the ground that make it difficult to move the girl. Also adapt the space to the needs of the dog driving through small spaces for their needs.
Universal design plays a key part in planning a house to cater for the disabled. Universal design means designing to meet the needs of people with a variety of abilities and different conditions, such as the blind, wheelchair bound, etc. Arrangement and organisation of everything in the house was vital to aid in the girl’s adaptation to her new setting. From objects such as furniture and kitchen appliances to contents of drawers and cupboards (food and clothes, etc.). This is of key importance for safety as well as helping the girl alter to new new environment. Labeling items is also integral as you don’t want the blind member accidentally eating or drinking something that they should not. Similarly, potentially dangerous objects and substances such as knives and medication should be stored out of the girls reach. Her disability will have heightened her other 4 senses, and this can be taken advantage of. Simple ideas like placing flowers in a room, or different scents for certain parts of the house will instantly help the girl recognise where she is. As previously mentioned, contrasting surface textures on walls and floors will also give an instant recognition for different areas of the house e.g, floors with carpet, tiles, or exposed floorboards. It may also be necessary to replace some items in the house with more user friendly facilities for the girl, such as the bath(s), shower(s), toilets and sinks. With the previous owner being disabled, this may have already been taken into account.

The introduction of a pool on the ground floor allows the girl to do physical activity safely. The input of  guides on the floor which branch off into the various rooms. Shielding to regulate the entry of light. A system of simple spaces which can be recognised better by the blind still use the three levels designed by Rem Koolhaas, but converting them into the needs of this new owners. I also thought convert the old building into a cube, and be inspired by the Rubik's cube, and play with the 27 small cubes giving different features and functions. I thought the Rubik's cube because I think it is a system of intuitive volumes, is composed of three horizontal levels (as is now the maison bordeaux) and allows us to share in a simple way the different spaces.

GROUP 5 - Spanish Students

Wine sets social and cultural lives in Oporto, district where is the small village of Baiao where Souto de Moura was aim to design. There are in fact some wineries, and in September to October there are many events related to the harvest and wine tastings.  When it’s over, traditionally it’s a festive day to enjoy the end of the season, celebrated by Romans and Greeks  like a religious ceremony, being that wine connects with their gods, when families used to meet for enjoying that what nature gave them.
 Bardales grandfather had to leave his home, and over time becomes a ruin. A ruin like family relationships, so one day he decided to return his origins and wanted to rebuild what one time was a home. He aims Souto de Moura that the house must be part of the site. The site wasn’t the same without that ruin, present must to remember. that ruin remembers him that you have to care what is important, like family. if don’t everything reverts back to ruins.
 every year the entire family come together to share a feast on the garden in memory of the grandmother and to harvest the grapes .So this place become a lieu for the family, even when not the everyone were there, their presence still there, on old stones,  in growing grapes.

Group 5 - Canadian Students

The region of Baiao is firmly rooted in its agriculture of wines. In order to take care of a vineyard it only requires the wine keeper to revisit the site only a few times a week or every two weeks. The farmers who move into the House in Baiao, also known as the grandparents, become consumed by the work as they fall in love with their creation. Their family begins to grow along side their vineyards. Eventually, like the seeds of their grapes and then into wine, the children mature and begin one by one to leave home and to experience life outside of Baiao.

The two parents stay within the village, in order to care for the vineyards, as the children are gone. But sadly the mother dies near harvest season, and the flowers and fruit die as well, as they are no longer being cared for. The ruin of the space then takes over, becomes an overpower presence of what has been neglected. The family then decides for the time being to rent the space. By renting the space in that moment of grievance of the grandfather, it allows the grandfather an escape from memories and ultimately from pain.

After coming to terms with his grievance the aging father then decides that with the help of his now older children (and their families) to use the space as a vacation home in order to care for the vineyards. The house becomes a place in which the entire family can reflect on the past and create new memories with their young families. This is achieved by harmoniously working together to help care for the vineyards, each family having their own designated time to care for the house and the land.

(ACTION) The house comes about because the vineyards need care. Ever year the family come together to share a feast of the garden in memory of the grandmother and to harvest the grapes in order to make wine.

(EVOLUTION- evolution of the vineyard too- the family matures as the vineyards do too) The grandfather who was once the provider is now becoming the person in need.  (much like ancient buildings are being treated in society-they are in need, and no longer powerful figures that contribute to modern society) This is the evolution of the father’s role in the family that corresponds to the use of the house. Just like the house and garden was a place that supported the family, without care and repair or growth, the house reverts back to its ruins. It is life that sustains it.