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Manifesto of Re-Reading Maison a Bordeaux


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Table of contents

0. The original story of the house..........................................................................................................4

1.This is relevant to my interests. The reading of the stories.............................................................10

2. Concepts through time: transformation from the 20th to the 21st century.................................16

3. The drawing of an action..................................................................................................................20

4. The technical drawing. Section of a detail......................................................................................24

5. The most interesting conversations................................................................................................28

6. Bibliography......................................................................................................................................35 7. Summary............................................................................................................................................37

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0. The original story of the house.

A wealthy married couple with three children lived in a very old and beautiful house in Bordeaux in France. For many years this family was thinking about building a new home, planning how it could be and wondering who the architect would be. Suddenly, the husband had a car accident and almost lost his life. Now he needs a wheelchair. The old beautiful house and the medieval city of Bordeaux had now become a prison for him. The family started to think about their new house again but this time in a very different way.

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VERB Circulation in the new house.

The married couple bought a hill with a panoramic view over the city and approached the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas in 1994. The husband explained to him: "Contrary to what you might expect, I do not want a simple house. I want a complicated house because it will determine my world."

Instead of designing a house on one floor which would ease the movements of the wheelchair, the architect surprised them with an idea of a house on three levels, one on top of each other. The ground floor, half-carved into the hill, accommodates the kitchen and television room, and leads to a courtyard. The bedrooms of the family are on the top floor, built as a dark concrete box. In the middle of these two levels is the living room made of glass where one contemplates the valley of the river Garonne and Bordeaux's clear outline.

The wheelchair has access to these levels by an elevator platform that is the size of a room, and is actually a well-equipped office. Because of its vertical movements, the platform becomes part of the kitchen when it is on the ground floor; links with the aluminium floor on the middle level and creates a relaxed working space in the master bedroom on the top floor. In the same way that the wheelchair can be interpreted as an extension of the body, the elevator platform, created by the architect, is an indispensable part of the handicapped client.

This offers him more possibilities of mobility than to any other member of the family- only he has access to spaces like the wine cellar or the bookshelves made of polycarbonate which span from the ground floor to the top of the house, and thus respond to the movement of the platform.

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VERB Experiencing the house. Koolhaas designed a complex house in itself and surpassed the conventional, in every detail. For example, the top floor rests on three legs. One of these legs, a cylinder that includes the circular staircase of the house, is located off-centre. Although this displacement brings an instability to the house, it gains equilibrium by placing a steel beam over the house which pulls a cable in tension. The first question that the visitor asks is: what happens if the cord is cut? Koolhaas has created a structure which, equal to the life of the client, depends on a cable. This arrangement provides the middle level with an uninterrupted view over the surrounding landscape, and an effect that is intensified with the highly polished finish of the stainless steel cylinder which incorporates the stairs, and makes it disappear into the landscape. The middle level is a balcony where the top floor floats above. It is a glazed space which allows the wheelchair to confuse the nature outside with the interior of the house. In contrast, the same landscape receives another treatment from the top floor. The view appears restricted and predetermined, framed by circular windows placed according to whether one stands, sits or lays down. Inside the house the family experiences Koolhaas's interpretations of life's instability and dualities. In regards to the husband, he has experienced this instability and is now part of his own self. In the same way that the umbilical cord belongs both to the mother and the baby, and gives it nutrition; the elevator platform connects the husband to the house and offers him a liberation.

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1.This is relevant to my interests. The reading of the stories. The history of this House impressives because of the fact that a few customers undertake an architect a house "that created a new architectural language". Asking for an order of that magnitude is a challenge, but it is an interesting proposal by the customer. The difficult final resulted in a house where the usual spatial and functional relations disappear, giving solution to an unusual residential program that responds to the new ways of life. The sensation experienced by the inhabitants of the House is to have the privilege to be walking around the field, while they are at their job place and at home, all at the same time. The loop built in concrete through which the architect trace movements develops a singular logic, based on this infinite form of This makes the inhabitants life to flow, isolated or together, depending on your needs throughout the day, since reserves the space required for all daily activities. This is an example which teaches us an important lesson: sometimes, the best proposals make them customers. Resulting in a multipurpose place, in which converge and develop all aspects of life. Here Ben van Berkel really got the challenge.

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VERB Toyo Ito: U House It is an abstract work conceived for the calm. It was conceived as a response to an event such as death, was inhabited to combat the desolation. The yard is the place for the memory, a mention about the absent daughter. That is the representation about timeless: where the time can be trapped, frozen, cancelled. Its appearance is always bleak. However, the habitable perimeter includes the presence of the temporal and the contemporary. This clean and hard interior produces the intensification of the family relationships. When the daughters grew up they were raised to sell it, because the conscience of the House form in each one of them. Therefore, it not had another destination better for this architecture than the demolition. I think that it was destroyed once it played the role had been entrusted. It was a funeral home, which had a victim destination.

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13 However, the habitable perimeter includes the presence of the temporal and the contemporary. This clean and hard interior produces the intensification of the family relationships. When the daughters grew up they were raised to sell it, because the conscience of the House form in each one of them. Therefore, it not had another destination better for this architecture than the demolition. I think that it was destroyed once it played the role had been entrusted. It was a funeral home, which had a victim destination.

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VERB Rem Koolhaas: Maison a Bordeaux Access to freedom is the main idea of this design. The customer is free in his own living space, the possibility of easefully movement in his world which is his own house. The design describes the characteristics and needs of the owner and represents a true refuge for him. Among the most interesting architectural elements of this house clearly, the platform is the most essential for this customer. The architect was successful in not allowing it to represent the disability as a simple lift or a metal ramp would have.

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15 Another remarkable element is the way in which the structure has been design, creating through similarities between the building and the life of the owner. In fact, as the balance of the house is guaranteed through a metallic wire, the same happens for the owner. What happens if the cable is cut? The answer is that the house will fall. As the client life.

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2. Concepts through time: transformation from the 20th to the 21st century.

Accesibility 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. It is very important to understand the cultural fact that over the last two decades, the view of accessibility has evolved greatly to accommodate the needs of the handicapped. This is partly due to how society views the disabled as well as laws and regulations that have been put in place to provide equality and so increase the level of accessibility. The term is often used to focus on people with disabilities or special needs and this fact is precisely the case. The disability is therefore a branch of accessibility and we have to understand the evolution of that last over the years.

Universal design in Europe An important tool to achieve this purpose is Universal Design. This 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. Universal desgn is included in the fundamental basis of a European philosophy for accessibility: The fundamental basis of a European philosophy for accessibility is the recognition, acceptance and fostering - at all levels in society - of the rights of all human beings, including people with activity limitations; in an ensured context of high human health, safety, comfort and environmental protection. Accessibility is an essential attribute of a "person-centred", sustainable built environment.

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VERB Does we accept a handicapped man as identical to us? The contemporary view of accessibility is a comfortable integration between those who are physically handicapped and society. Over the last two decades, it has gone from creating places for disabled, valid for a single user, to create inclusive settings, for all users regardless of their status. Architecture should provide an environment in which they are not reminded of their disability and others in society do not take notice as well. The universal house should allow all abled and disabled persons the same freedoms and sense of equal access. This can be done through the use of architectural technology, the application of the building code requirements, and the optimization of space. Successful architectural design should subtly cater to all participants of the spaces, without an obvious divide in facilities.

Maybe the idea of "special house" would not like house remindinghim that he is a"different" house for a "different" person...

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19 Accesibility to knowledge The accessibility is a concept that covers everything that goes around. For example, thanks to the Internet we have the possibility to access to millions of information from around the world, the ability to communicate with people from anywhere in the world, then is the degree to which a product, device, service, or the environment is available to as many people as possible. Can be viewed as the "ability to access" and benefit from some system or some means. UNESCO supports actions designed to empower people so that they can access and contribute to information and knowledge flows. Works to create an enabling environment, which is conducive to and facilitates universal access to information and knowledge, including setting standards, raising awareness and monitoring progress to achieve universal access to information and knowledge. Also helps developing effective "infostructures", including developing information standards and management tools, strengthening libraries and archives a key actors in knowledge societies, and fostering access at the community level. Now in Bordeaux we should apply that concept to make the home more accessible in its entirety, eliminating not only physical barriers but also proyect barriers, which are provided spaces for the disabled and spaces for the rest family. We have to understand the house as a fully accessible space now in the 21st century.

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3. The drawing of an action. Continuing with the evolution of the notion of accessibility, nowadays the notion of handicap has evolved. From being mainly a physical problem up to the 20th century, it has become in how to access of knowledge. The activity of reading. Reading is the ability of literates humans to extract textual information: is the key of the knowledge in the information society. The massive accumulation of data that has been the digital society will be nothing without the men who roam, integrate and assimilate. And this will not be possible without advanced reading skills. Human development builds on the above. The struggle to understand and use new digital technologies requires many new things, but presupposes the former. And the most important of them is reading. Reading is a highly developed skill: in fact is the sum of several psychological skills that are acquired and exercised early. As with human faculties we use always (language, visual perception), it is difficult to give a full account of its complexity.

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VERB The Babel Library Behind the practice of reading there is something else, difficult to measure. Inside us, in the way that we organize our conceptual and sensitive worlds, also in the way that we integrate, into coherent sets, the pieces of the universe around us. Outside us, in the way we learn to prioritize, modular and evaluate what we have treasured inside, to pass it to others: intellectual ownership arises. About this, Borges wrote The Babel Library in wich the lifes is interpretatd as a big library. universe (which others call the Library) is composed of an indefinite and perhaps infinite number of hexagonal galleries, with vast air shafts between, surrounded by very low railings. From

The magic key of knowledge is reading. Currently we are overwhelmed by the magnitude and virtues of the new technological wonders, and we should relearn the potential and wonder of what we consider trivial, just because we have it already, and because with us for a very long time.

It is an interpretation of of the Library of Babel by Borges. Should not be treated as a building or as an architectural solution , only as an interpretation of the world and reading.

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23 It could be very interesting to deal with the access to information for everybody in the family, not only for the deceased disabled man. At that time, neccesary to modernize the house. The old platform is not enough nowadays.

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4. The technical drawing. Section of a detail.

Definitely accessibility to knowledge is our most important cultural fact. Now we have the cultural fact that generated the architecture of the house, and we have to find a way to update it. In that sense, the kind of customer is just one more item because we have clear cultural concepts. Thereafter, we are jumping ahead to a technical detail assignment. We have a general idea of what interventions we want in the house and so we must run with those ideas. Now, to solidify one final design, we are goint to some a technical detail in the parts of the house where our intervention will be. Although built twenty years ago, " 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 standards too. But the purpose of the house has changed slightly, as the original design was for a man who has now passed, and the ideas that were present then are not all needed now. Now the needs have changed and to modernize his home. There are several elements that are no longer appropriate for the life of the family, which had come from Rem original project idea. There are some places for the disabled, valid for a single user, but now the users have no use for such things. Therefore, alterations are needed for today's client. 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

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VERB The platform and the hole 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. To modernize the house and make all aspects of it accessible to the whole family, there is necessary one main modification: the elevator. not enough to hold into the idea of moving vertically on a platform in the house. The function has to be expanded as there i no longer a need for this, as there once was. Therefore is proposed fully remove the elevator and leave an open void throughout the house. Now On each level there is a large gap which created a discontinuity on each of the floors. This space can now be utilised in a different way to suit the adaptation of the new users. That this is a very representative place in our house, but now the library has not to be the same thing that was in a past time. Now this space can be a very different thing, with a function as a space to contemplate, a space to observe, a space to absorb. Planting a garden in the empty core of the house could be a warm metaphor to symbolize bringing a new life to the house. To make use of this space and to add a beautiful and sculptural, yet practical element, a new staircase is constructed replacing the current, giving all members of the family access to each level, as the father once could. The staircase has to be designed to maximize visual permeability throughout the second level. Similarly, on the first level, access to the wine cellar, which is located behind the platform, has to be adapted because it is only accessible from the platform and therefore a new solution is needed to access this area.

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27 The library The library of books has to be accessible to all, because any member of the family could utilise the resource. It was intended that the house be in which the original client lived, but now that world has to be extended to utilise the exterior of the house, to allow the family to benefit from it's freedoms and views into nature. For this reason, we could move the library to a different position. Now we can use others spaces of the house for reading, maybe more suitables for this activity. We have places with a connetion between inside-outside, for the reading zone. One way in which this could be done is to use the already existing first floor views, but create exterior space leading off the old library area. To extend his world to the exterior and further integrate the house into the landscape. This conception is completely compatible with our culturar fact of accesibility to the knowdelegement.

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5. The most interesting conversations

The most interesting talks was given in the moments that changed stage, when uncertainty appears.

1) The first interesting conversation was given at the time that we make the first photomontages to know what were the cultural events that led to the house.

This is the first time in wich accesibility appears as a main concept. Then our conversation about accessibility was transformed into a photomotage image.

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VERB 2) The secondary important conversation was about the kind of customer. The cultural concept of accesiblility was clear, but not the customer of the house. Then the group understood that the introduction of a new client is a secondary point.

Jose (7th October)

Hello everybody. We have been investigating and deciding what is our most important cultural concept: ACCESIBILITY. The history of accessibility has evolved greatly over the last 15 years. It has gone from creating places for disabled, valid for a single user, to create inclusive settings, for all users regardless of their status. In Bordeaux we should apply that concept to make the home more accessible in its entirety, eliminating not only physical barriers but also proyect barriers, which are provided spaces for the disabled and spaces for the rest family. We have to understand the house as a fully accessible space now in the 21st century. Now the kind of customer is just one more item because we have clear cultural concepts. So, we need to invent an unreal story about a blind customer?

Javier (7th October)

Definitely the introduction of a new client is a secondary point. The important fact is to deal with the evolution of the Cultural Fact. In your case, you are arguing that nowadays the notion of handicap has evolved. From being mainly physical up to the 20th century, it has become luck of accessibility of knowledge. It could be very interesting to deal with the access to information for EVERYBODY in the family, not only the owner. In that sense, the story could be more about how the widow feels the need of modernize her house. The old platform of the husband is not enough nowadays. You need more than to go up and down along his books, being able to see the exterior through little peepholes... You can see that there are many possible stories. Please, choose the one you prefer but don't forget the Cultural fact. The idea of working with a blind person could be too much work. You would have to start from scratch a research on blinds. The aim of this exercise is much faster: it is to analyse an existing cultural fact that generated the architecture of the house, and to update it. Therefore, I would encourage you to continue working with the evolution of the notion of accessibility and its transformation form being mainly a physical problem to how ACCESS and SELECT the knowledge.

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VERB 3) Then the third important conversation was about the drawing of the activity. The activity to draw was clear, but not the way to do it. Then the group understood that the drawing of the activity had to be a precise and descriptive drawing.

Neus (11th October) It's midnight (spain) and I'm having a look to our blog - re-reading stories of houses - to the proposals we're supposed to upload after "seeing the light", but suddendly, I realized that I don't know how, where and when we've missed the assignment's point again. As we understood (according with our "I saw the light" e-mails), what we're meant to do -after re-write our texts based on cultural facts- was drawing an activity (action) strongly relationed with our story and cultural facts. It could be a drawing that represents movements, temperatures, noises... whatever you think could be significant to represent the activity the drawing is based on. So those drawings will afterwards lead us to define/design the new shape/skin/dress of Maison Bourdeaux (next week step), in a natural way, I mean, if we develope a intimate knowledge about those activities and their development the new shape/skin/dress will emerge as THE answer.

2.- keeps appearing the wheelchair...need to catch up with the story 3.- some of them aren't measurable 4.- some of them directly intervene in the house (no relationated with activity) 5.- we're 9 members and there are 6 drawings Therefore we may think again about our drawings and re-build them to try to do our best, so the next step would be easy and natural.

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33 4) Finally the last important conversation was about the in tervention in the house with a technical draving. The group was obsessed with providing the space for reading in the old platform space. Then it was understood that the reading activities could go elsewhere. Jose ( 19th October) He told that, in our desings, maybe we are ballasted by the empty space of the platfom. He knows that this is a very representative place in our house, but now the library has not to be the same thing that was in a past Now it can be a very different thing. Maybe read only in this space of the Now we can use others spaces of the house for reading, maybe more suitables for this activity. We have a lot of places to read in our house (places with a connetion between inside-outside, for example), also the library. I think that he is right, and this conception is not incompatible with our culturar fact of accesibility to the knowdelegement.

International teamwork The true potential of teamwork lies mainly in their ability to interact, to communicate information and for the construction of knowledge. However, there are limitations and disadvantages to this method. Positive things -Engage in a network project: Students engage actively and appropriately to make the project work, yet they are located in remote locations, so that they are internally motivated. Students take pride in achieving something that has value outside the classroom. -Diversity of ideas: sharing ideas with each other, express their own opinions and negotiate solutions. -Comparison of strategies and concepts which allows focusing the right solution from different perspectives. -Students develop skills and competencies such as collaboration, communication, decision making and time management for troubleshooting.

of projects,

Negative things -Difficulty to select the best solutions: it is necessary to combine the ideas and information obtained from research, valuing each idea from several different criteria. -Make it difficult to integrate and match the different schedules, to plan work and to communicate among participating members. -It takes time and patience to remain open to different ideas and opinions. -The differences between cultures can generate unintended misunderstandings.

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6. Bibliography.

Readings STORIES OF HOUSES" http://storiesofhouses.blogspot.com.es/ "LA BIBLIOTECA DE BABEL", story from

. Alianza

Editorial. . Unversity of Sevilla Publications. Photos [Untitled Photo of Maison a Bordeaux] Obtained on 25/10/2012 from: http://www.obsidienn.fr [Untitled Photo of Maison a Bordeaux] Obtained on 22/10/2012 from: http://dab310-2010-maisonabordeaux.blogspot.com.es/ [Untitled Photo of Maison a Bordeaux] Obtained on 26/10/2012 from: http://bibliotecadearquitecto.blogspot.com.es/2011_08_01_archive.html http://www.unstudio.com/projects/mobius-house http://architecturehabitat.blogspot.com.es/2010/08/moebius-house-studied-by-amanda-jayne.html [Untitled Photo of U House] Obtained on 21/10/2012 from: http://thesefields.blogspot.com.es/2011/06/u-house-toyo-ito-1976.html [Untitled Photo of U House] Obtained on 25/10/2012 from: http://risddrawintar.wordpress.com/page/6/ [Untitled Photo of U House] Obtained on 24/10/2012 from: http://www.elfanzine.tv/?p=28192 [Untitled Photo of U House] Obtained on 26/10/2012 from: http://thousandthfloor.tumblr.com/post/28638849047/onsomething-onsomething-toyo-ito-u-house [Untitled Photo of Maison a Bordeaux] Obtained on 26/10/2012 from: http://estelalopezrocha.blogspot.com.es/

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7. Summary. The rapid evolution of cultural facts that gave rise to these architectures (in our case the accessibility) has caused these works obsolete quickly, while advancing society. The architects of the works studied would not have given the same solution to their works whether cultural facts that were brought current, since at the time were very different. It has made a great effort to discover what were those facts, and have been interpreted in a consensual group, considering the most important aspects in collaborative work by a team. This metodology is complicated and requires perseverance, dedication and best efforts of all involved, but develop innovative learning models achieve that enhance self-learning capabilities of students is justifiable given all the advantages raised above. We now have a powerful tool for understanding and building architecture, which is defined by stages (read the original story, discover the cultural facts, define the activities to dress the architecture, and make a technical intervention) and is useful in all knowledge areas. Similarly gives us many opportunities to achieve our goals and develop ourselves in any situation, wich we should not miss in our activity as architects.

Maison a Bordeaux


Manifesto of Re-Reading Maison a Bordeaux - José Manuel Rodríguez Cañizares  

Re-Reading Stories of houses - José Manuel

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