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Manifesto Re-Reading maison a Bordeaux

Giuseppe Massacci

Manifesto Re-Reading maison a bordeaux


My name is Giuseppe, I'm 21 years old, I come from Teramo, Italy. I study architecture in Pescara and I'm a Erasmus student to Alicante. My passions are art and architecture and also i really enjoy sport, such as football, cycling, Olympic sports and motor sports. I practiced football for 12 years and athletic. My hobbies are snowboading, motocross, cycling, listening to good music and reading books and poetry. my favorite music is rock, folk rock, classic and italian music, my favorite band is the “Bandabardòâ€?. I also like to spend time with friends

STORIES OF HOUSES STORIES OF HOUSES feature examples of dwellings from which we can all learn - both the clients during their contemplation about building a house, and the architects to understand and evaluate the life of the clients. How can an architect design a house for his older sister who has just become a widow? What can an architect offer when his client, who is confined to a wheelchair, asks for a complex design that will become his world? And when art lovers offer total freedom for the design of their house? How is one to explain that the neighbours once shot at the house of the architect who now has acclaimed international prestige? This series of articles tries to give answers to questions concerning intimacies and origins of important international houses. They try to fill the gap left by so many History of Architecture books which, when neglecting these extreme personal sources, forget the multidisciplinary character of architecture. The houses analysed have been selected for their good architecture and for having been designed by a famous architect. But more than that, there is also an indispensable ingredient of having clients tell a passionate story that generates the project. Stories of Houses include information about the clients, their requests and needs, without which one cannot begin to understand the final result. Contemporary houses From Laugier's hut, which illustrates primitive architecture, to the houses by such architects as Ă balos and Herreros which are based on the idea behind the Swatch watches, through to the House of the Future, a project by the couple Alison and Peter Smithson, the study of housing has been linked to the time in which it was built. Beyond styles or fashions, Stories of Houses deals with feelings and passions which help to establish an analysis detached from the time to which it belongs. They are examples of architecture which will always be up-to-date, bearing in mind that they are concerned with personal feelings with which we all identify. The elaboration of the program for the dwelling, which is articulated by the clients, is a process that is later reversed when the house moulds the life of its inhabitants. The furniture, memories, inherited objects and collections are all symbols of what we are and what we want to be. One could argue that if the facades of the houses are the interior of the city, then the interior of the houses are the exterior of their inhabitants. Thus, the history of the dwelling derives from the plurality of society in which it is built, from the architect's education and imagination and the life of the user. In short, the articles are concerned with recovering an intense connection between the client and the architect. The published material has the rigour of having been revised and accepted by the architects of the houses. The articles are about recently built houses - although some


Enric Miralles, in collaboration with his wife Benedetta Tagliabue, he created a small garden shed to spend leisure with wing nature, respecting the Danish traditions. This project was designed as a temple "the house is converted into calendar" which expresses the passage of time and life. A cottage made for protect rain where children play and have fun while their parents sit around a table. All this made according to the same principle, in fact there are two entrances, one for adults and one in miniature for children, is also composed of different heights: low starting from the children side up to the highest for adults. The thing that gets me about this project is the derivation of the shape of the plant, where the architect imitates the movements of her daughter realizes, as a design on the floor, playing with a small chair. What fascinates me of Miralles and his works is the way he involved his whole life in his work and it is what succeed in this project, to merge into a single architecture and small adult life with the child's life.

Giuseppe Massacci


I found the Peter Barber’s Villa Anbar a very interesting project. Made in Dammam, in Saudi Arabia, where the architecture are conditioned by political and religious ideologies, where institutions pose barriers between the sexes: male and female. Barber must convert his architectural knowledge and adapt to an environment alien to him.

The architect in this work, apparently made according to the local traditional style, reflect inside and outside of the house a deep sense of hierarchy between men and women, through a game of looks and hierarchies architectural tries to put one social gash status of Muslim women and to induce change, encourage equality of rights between men and women.

Question which I am very sensitive is the problem that afflicts the humanity and should be subjected to bring knowledge through campaigns cultural awareness, around the world and making sure that in the twenty-first century does not speak more than a difference in treatment between men and women.

Giuseppe Massacci

MEMBERS OF THE GROUP 4 MICHAEL PALMISCIANO I'm Michael and I am an Italian student in erasmus at alicante. I come from Sicily, but study architecture in Naples. I follow sports, above all the football even though I played basketball for nine years in the team of my city but I had to stop for architecture. I like to watch a lot of movies and even listen to music. I have a dog and three cats in Italy and here in alicante I found two more in the house that I rented, they haunt me! However, I hope to work well with you, Boys must be the best.

FABRIZIO VIZI I'm fabrizio vizzi, an italian student in erasmus at alicante. I like listen music ( all Kinder of music) architecture and tecnology. I come in erasmus to learn an other language, know a different culture, and to live an amazing experience. I have try a lot of sports, my favourite is football, I was goalkeeper for like 7 years, but 3 years ago I stopped to play. I love to travel, know people from other country and see different kind of life...

CHRIS WILSON I'm Chris Wilson. I am 26 and have a strong interest in music, surfing, snowboarding, football and traveling. I used to love drinking coffee but now I have to have decaf because I overdid the caffeine. I had two cats, one died, now I have one. I lived in New Zealand for nearly 2 years and am intending to move back out there permanently when I have finished this course. I like buildings, some big, some small, mostly single houses, modern style ones.

NEUS GIMèNEZ My name is Neus and I'm catalan. I teach ballet to girls with special needing in my spare time. I also love reading, travelling and scuba diving. But above all, movies are a must for me. I have no cats, but have 24 years old turtle - older than some of you.

JOSè MANUEL RODRIGUEZ CANIZARES My name is Jose and I´m from Almoradí, a town near Alicante. I plays trumpet in the Symphonic Band of Almoradí since i was a child. Also I plays in a rock band called El Kamion de la Basura. All my life has been connected to the music, maybe thats the reason i love architecture (architecture is like frozen music). I´m 26 and I finished the carrer of Technical Architecture (Building Engineer) in 2010. I was studing in Valencia for 4 years. Now I´m here in Alicante studing architecture.

DUDLEY JONES My name is Dudley and I am twenty-one years old. I am studying here in Spain on Erasmus for the year and I am English. I really enjoy sports, such as Rugby, Cycling and Formula one. My main interests apart from Architecture include teaching myself to play the piano, art and spending time with friends. I decided to come to Spain for the experience of living and studying abroad and to learn another language and culture

JACLYN Ng Im Jaclyn..or you can call me Jackie. Like dudley i also play the piano but i've stopped since architecture. I really like to travel, ive been around asia and europe and all around north america. Some of my favourite cities so far include rome, london, barcelona, new york, and hong kong. in january i am moving to helsinki for a semester and doing a trip around europe for the summer. I also i love dance and yoga.

COLLEEN McKERACHER I'm Colleen McKeracher,I like playing music in my spare time, I play bass guitar in a rock band called Sweet Alps and I work for the Army Reserves as a Bagpiper. My favourite sport is ice hockey and I actually play a game tonight, I am the goalkeeper. I recently got a kitten and she's sleeping beside me right now. I'm a vegetarian. I am into comic book and I currently collect Animal Man, Batman, Flash, Nightwing, Swamp Thing, Wonder Woman, Amazing Spiderman, Avengers Vs. X-Men, Daredevil, The Incredible Hulk, Uncanny X-Force, Winter Soldier, Invincible, Prophet, Saga, Thief of Thieves, and Walking Dead (Just to name a few!)



The initially the group brought forward two projects:

VILLA ANBAR by Peter Barber


The originaly story of ‘VILLA ANBAR, by Peter Barber

A romantic novelist from Saudi Arabia approached the British architect, Peter Barber, in 1992 to design her house in the important commercial and port city, Dammam, in the Arabian Gulf. Mrs Anbar - a widow - divided her year between London and her native country, therefore her attitude towards Middle Eastern culture was characterised by cosmopolitan influences. On the other hand, as a Western architect designing in Saudi Arabia, Barber had to research the complexities of Islamic culture. The interior of Saudi domestic houses The traditional typology of interiors in Saudi houses reflects a profound sense of hierarchy between men and women. It is a rigid issue of segregation between sexes which is echoed in the two entrances to the house, and is followed up in the interior by separating men's and women's quarters. The degree of separation is further dec lared - between servants and members of the family, and between the family and the outside world - by a series of increasingly private spaces which gravitate towards a central courtyard. Undoubtedly, the context in which the villa Anbar was going to be built was not neutral. Political and religious leaders had far more power over architecture than even the architects themselves. Indeed, during the construction of the house, a nearby medieval settlement was razed to the ground by the government simply because its spatial complexity of tight alleyways and small squares created a problem of control for the authorities. Faced with this unfamiliar environment, the English architect acknowledged that a close reading of the books Beyond the Veil, by Fatima Mernissi, and Sexuality and Space by Beatriz Colomina was influential in approaching the programme of the house. From that moment, the programme not only became to specify the rooms required by Mrs Anbar, her children and grandchildren, but also, and above all, to understand the house as a political space. The profundity of the gaze Peter Barber investigated the power of the gaze to determine the division of space in domestic architecture. From the most public area to the most private one, the eye was directed in very specific paths through different layers, either giving a full view or only a partial one, sometimes merely implying what could be seen. At the entrance, a gate gives a view into the courtyard, although a wall to the right prevents the gaze penetrating any further.

The threshold is defined by a lintel that slips over the top of the wall. This lintel shows a dual aspect, a technical one of taking water to the swimming pool on the other side of the wall, and a metaphorical one of framing the gaze so as to give a hint of something else beyond. As one passes the entrance, tiny openings cut through the front wall of the house and signal the presence of the unseen occupants. Although internally the house follows a traditional layout of separating men and women's quarters, this structure is broken by simple acts. Thus, as a crack, a horizontal cut in a wall of the women's quarter serves as a vantage-point for surveying the unseen, that is, the male domain. As might have been expected, male members of the family demanded that a shutter would be placed over the frame. This was done but, paradoxically, it was allocated on the women's side. Opposite the pool, the driver's dwelling is placed on the first level projecting over the private garden. Looking down from his window, his gaze touches on the most private space of the family, in their time of leisure. Even if the window were to be blocked up, the presence of the servant would always be felt due to the volume of his room. However, the presence of the maid is more oblique. Her room, which is placed on the roof terrace and thus away from the family's private rooms, is connected to the central courtyard through a series of cuts. In that way, her gaze is allowed to penetrate into the symbolic heart of the house. While Barber builds according to the usual gender and class boundaries demanded by Muslim society, he subverts these boundaries with gentle questions rather than formulating them in an obvious manner. This is an architecture that goes beyond formalistic considerations, that introduces a certain ambiguity which in turns initiates questions about social conditions and changes.


The originaly story of ‘MAISON A BORDEAUX, by Rem Koolhaas

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. 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. 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. Appendix. It was with the greatest sorrow that we learnt, at the beginning of the year 2001, of the husband's death.




Through this architecture the muslim woman take away the veil and will see beyond the limit set of male-dominated society. This day will be the dawn of a new day.


The architect's desire is what the Muslim woman can see over social barriers which today are slaves. I can see the dawn of a new era, a new era to live as a protagonist after a lot of difficulties to be welcomed with open arms.


Through this architecture evolves the concept of accessibility. Architectonical barriers are being turn down, the life of the disabled is made much easier, manages to get where before there had never arrived. The house becomes his world


MICHAEL PALMISCIANO This is a house that was born from the need and the desire on the part of the customer to find freedom, in his own home, who lost in a tragic accident. The Rem Koolhaas's brain is able to fulfill this wish and create an architectural project that leads to freedom.

FABRIZIO VIZI The montage is meant to describe the difficulties that people with disabilities have unfortunately and therefore their need to have a guaranteed total accessibility. Accessibility in the sense understood today in te contemporary sense. All this especially at home, where everything has to be within their reach.

CHRIS WILSON Fear, Acceptance, Vision, Vanquish.

NEUS GIMèNEZ AGULLò In the last 20 years Arab Woman role has slowly evolved but with no brake. It's time to take a look to herself to know what she wants and needs in a sort of Self-vouyerism that would lead her to self-awareness, and therefore a definition of her world.

JOSè MANUEL RODRIGUEZ Empowerment of the human conditions. Does we accept a handicapped man as identical to us? Maybe the idea of an "special house" would not like to another handicapped person. Probably this house were always reminding him that he is disabled. Maybe the way to equality is not a "different" house for a "different" person...

DUDLEY JONES My Montage represents, the changes and ongoing change of perception of the disabled. To look at what new technologies and ideas koolhaus may introduce today. He would have greater technologies available to him to create a world without limit for the man in a wheelchair.

JACLYN NG In today's society, being physically handicapped no longer distinguishes one from society. Building codes and community awareness has provided comfort to those in wheelchairs. Nowadays, those in wheelchairs do not have to be constantly reminded of their condition; fitting through all doors, easily accessing ramps and elevators, etc. Therefore, could the platform in Maison a Bordeaux be a constant reminder to the owner of the house that he is physically handicapped? Could we design a house that makes the user feel more integrated and forget his condition?

COOLEEN McKERACHER In Villa Anbar the maid was given a rooftop view of the courtyard where the "heart" of the house is. In 2012 with the massive amounts of cameras we have in the home it would not be unreasonable to assume she could have a portable screen to watch every inch of the house. Although she is the family's employee, she has views of the house that the rest of family doesn't. As a women she is restricted from the men's room and therefore the shutter is still there telling us that although technology evolves very fast, tradition does not.


Our group’s take on the contemporary view of accessibility ,is a comfortable integration between those who are physically handicapped and society. 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.





May 1985: on demand of the E.C. Bureau for Action in Favour of Disabled People, the Dutch Council of the Disabled carries out a study about the accessibility legislation and practice in the Member States.

October 1987: The Dutch CCPT launches the development of a European Manual with harmonised and standardised accessibility criteria, financed by the European Commission and supervised by a steering group of experts from different European countries.

November 1990: Publication of the European Manual, but it seems to contain too many details for which there is no common European ground.

1996: A new draft with far less pages and details is presented. The title is European Concept for Accessibility. Though it is not a standard, the European Concept for Accessibility is translated into many languages and is used in several countries to renew national approaches and guidelines. The European Commission uses the Concept in the promotion of accessibility.

1999: Transfer of the co-ordination task from the Dutch CCPT to the Luxembourg organisation Info-Handicap. Marketing activity in order to increase the recognition of the European Concept for Accessibility and presentation on the World Wide Web.

2002: Decision to update the ECA

November 2003: Presentation of the updated ECA in Luxembourg.

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)

MAISON A BOREAUX 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.

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

MAISON BORDEAUX The accessibility is a concept that covers everything that goes around. Can be viewed as the "ability to access" and benefit from some system or some means. It is very important to understand the cultural fact that over the last two decades, the view of accessibility has evolved greatly about 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 cultural fact is that the history of accessibility over the last 15 years has gone from creating places for disabled, valid for a single user, to create inclusive settings, for all users regardless of their status, because of the change in cultural perception and understanding. 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. The house was designed primarily for the needs of a disabled person, but now the family’s needs have changed and there was a strong desire to modernize his home. There were several elements that were no longer appropriate for the life of the family such as, the platform and the peep-hole windows on the third level, which had come from Rem Koolhaas’ original project idea to create places for the disabled, valid for a single user, but now the users have no use for such things. For example, It´s very important to make the library accessible to all. Also on the third floor the family need to make the view of the landscape clearer and more natural light in these rooms.




The library put on the platform can freely go up and down electronically and through a gear and wheels spin freely around the vertical axis manually making the free accessibilty to the library








Was an exciting experience full of surprises and difficulties. A remote collaboration between Alicante and Ottawa a multi-ethnic group apartire Italian culture in the Canadian arrrivando passing through the cultures of Spanish and English. We communicated through social networks with many misunderstandings and language difficulties, but we made the habbiamo because nothing is impossible.


Manifesto Re-reading maison a bordeaux  

maison a bordeaux by Rem Koolhaas

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