einfamilienhaussiedlung | a colony of houses
Every Cube represents the individual, but
at the same time the individual’s identity
in relationship to the collective.
Jeffrey Kipnis 1
Taking up how Jeffrey Kipnis describes Piet Bloom’s aggregation of Cube Houses, the present work reveals the creation of a colony. In particular it questions how the individual relates to the collective within a system of variation.
The colony of houses illustrates variation which is different in kind, not only in degree, though still being one coherent population.The shapes of the houses are not predetermined fixed space-envelopes. They are the result of an associative model of relationships existing between the spaces within each of the houses as well as between the different houses themselves. Although creating a group- form, the houses as such remain single and distinct entities.
As a study object, the one-family-edifice was chosen. This is due to the fact that it always has been the testing object for later developments or theories throughout the history of architecture (cf. Kipnis2). Examples of these seminal projects are Villa Rotonda, Villa Savoy, the Farnsworth House, Frank Gehry’s long time study, the Lewis house and Kiesler’s Endless House. Kiesler even calls the one-familiy-house the “smallest unit of coexistence”3.
Dealing with one-family-houses within an urban context, the choice for a location of the project was easy: Los Angeles. This polycentric city or rather metropolitan region consists almost only of one or two story, detached houses. Los Angeles, furthermore, has been an experimental field for newness in houses for the last century and still is today: From the Case Study Houses of the 50ies and 60ies, to Frank Gehry’s own house and to the more contemporary Greg Lynn Bloom House.
Since the automobile is such an important part of Angeleno culture, it had to become part of ‘the family’. It therefore gets an important space in each of the houses which is accessible through the plaza-like “interior-space” of the colony.
The aim of this project is not to reproduce the typical contemporary American family home, but to decompose it. This is done by questioning the standard floor plan- setup of today. The non-corridor, matrix space house – something extremely rare in the contemporary architecture – is reintroduced.
The project’s range goes from the urban scale of the colony and its relationship with its adjacencies, progressing into details of the façade. All elements inherent in the project are designed within a continuous system of interrelated steps.
Lecture Jeffrey Kipnis and Rheinhold Martin,”What Can Architecture Do?”, TheHarvardGSD, 2011
2 Lecture Jeffrey Kipnis “Houses” – outlines of Architecture, Knowlton School of Architecture, Ohio, 2008
3 Bogner, Dieter (editor) : Friedrich Kiesler, 1890 – 1965 : inside the endless house Kiesler, Frederick, 1890-1965 Wien [u.a.]: Böhlau 1997, p11
Many thanks to Prof. Peter Trummer.