FAYLAND HOUSE

Slung over a sloped field of open ground poised to bloom with wildflowers, David Chipperfield’s Fayland House begins with a concern for context and history. Looking closely, however, the house transcends those qualities in search of a classic timelessness. 

Living spaces languish alongside one another on the front, opening to the view, while ancillary spaces tucked behind rejoice in light from the courtyards. The resulting quiet interplay of interior space and varied landscapes is captured as the camera pans, silently through space in the film. The overlap of view and frame lends a quiet expansiveness to the project. 

But it is the unmodulated run of circular columns along the front of the house which most intrigues us. The chalky, mortar-sponged white-brick is heavy and full and of the earth; with a generosity which extends the house outwards to the sky. Somehow regular and yet surprising, the columns express a classicism which is beyond perception. In an article in Architectural Review, Ellis Woodman perceptively suggested the effect of the columns is similar to the effects cultivated by the work of artist Donald Judd. He concluded his thoughts with a grace so deserved by the building that I cannot help but defer to him here:

The abiding impression is therefore one of invitation to movement. It is a house where one lives on one’s feet and takes pleasure in the constantly shifting relationship to the landscape beyond.

IN THE LANDSCAPE

   

  

The volumetric and monolithic basic principle was emphasised by the exclusive usage of the white exterior rendering. The main focus lies therefore on the exterior’s elementary colour and the slight nuances achieved by the aggregates in the plaster.
— Frank Oberlerchner, Pedevilla Architects.

The off-white monolithic form of House at Mill Creek appears as object set within and against the landscape. At different proximities, the building reveals itself differently: the triangulated plan, the carefully located square windows set deep and black in the facades, and the subtle depth of texture to the external render. The facade comes alive as light moves across it, echoing the textural density of the forest-clad mountains behind. 

The house reminds us of the mountains, but perhaps more-so of other familiar architectures of the area. The gable roof, articulated eave, and rendered form express known ways of making and being in this landscape, each slightly reconfigured to bring us a composition which warms us with its clarity and sense of the new. 

POSTCARDS OF AMBIGUITY

In this 'Postcard' series, Whiteread uses a hole punch to cut out negative spaces in the rooms, capturing the three-dimensional concerns of her sculptural form in a two-dimensional manner. The well-known touristic images are obscured by the cluster of circular abscesses, and they become ambiguous.  More of Rachel Whitereads' drawings at the Tate Britain courtesy of the Guardian here, with accompanying article here

Alongside the postcards are a collection of pseudo-technical drawings, including the revealing 'Study for "House"'. In this work, Whiteread uses an everyday and meaning-laden medium - correction fluid, or 'twink' - to simultaneously create and erase. The house is 'corrected' into a 'pure' whiteness, it becomes absent, yet at the same time, we are more aware of the space the object occupies after the 'intervention'. White is at once pure and ghostly, the house in the images becomes both nothing and, oddly, sky. 

Study for "House", 1992

Study for "House", 1992

INVADED

Etienne-Jules Marey (1830-1904)

Etienne-Jules Marey (1830-1904)

Working through a concept for a house renovation, I find myself thinking about how our bodies and the sense of our bodies relates to the spaces we occupy.

How can we renovate from the body outward? How can we reoccupy this shell?

Everyday we ask the same questions, yet through our work we don't expect to find answers, only trials for different ways of being. There is no answer, only an overlay of options which extend and mould to our sense of our living bodies.

ON HOUSE / HOME

It is raining profusely outside. Inside, sheltered, your skin does not feel the wetness of the sky. To see the rain, you can look through the window at the drops pouring from the sky, focusing on their motion, bulbous shape, and intensity. Or, you can concentrate on the window pane, itself home to parasitic rain drops which try desperately not to slide down the pane to their deaths and which, in doing so, obscure the normal transparency of the glass. Although you are looking in a single direction, seemingly at the same point in space, and you are essentially observing the same phenomenon in both viewing cases, you can never see both at once. Your focus must flit back and forth between the two. This constant alteration of focus is similar to the way we approach the house/home dialectic. What is perhaps most interesting, is that without seeing the raindrops falling, it is impossible to empirically explain why the window is wet, and without seeing the wet window, one cannot not understand the viscosity of water, the friction produced by a seemingly smooth glass surface as compared to air.