The private house as metaphorical, self-contained universe

We’ve been mining our draft posts and discovered an embyronic essay on the private house as a metaphorical, self-contained universe. Whatever the unifying theory was is lost to the mists of time. Instead, let’s explore the idea as if it were one of Modernism’s more esoteric side quests, inherited perhaps from the richly allegorical interiors expressed at the heights of Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau. And maybe it’s because more, more than ever, we’re attracted to interiors that act as a form of landscape, rather than just an accumulation of objects and memories. Those who grew up making blanket forts and dens will understand and empathise with the ability to transform an interior into a topography. While being careful not to dismiss the priviledge of actually having somewhere to live, the stock vision of four walls has never felt so limiting and unimaginative.

We’ve apparently been mulling this over for decades, as evidenced by this collection of links, some of which appear to date back to a distant, earlier web. For example, Andreas Angelidakis’s dreamy Hand House (2010) evokes the peak of the iconic age, a post-modern jape colliding with a theme park aesthetic. This miniature Falling Water is presented without comment, whereas this private dwelling in China (located ‘adjacent to the client’s slipper factory in Nanhui’) is a brick labyrinth. Ben Ryuki Miyagi’s Metamorphosis House shares a certain kinship with the iconic Thematic House, the late Charles Jencks’ (images found at MUse & Maker). Both conjure up private realms of symbolism and pattern. There’s yet more ornament and language in the work of John Outram, especially the Egyptian House and The New House. And somehow, our rabbit hole into the distant past ended up at The Venus Project, an ambitious plan ‘to Bring Humanity to the Next Stage of Social Evolution‘. Easy to sneer now, but techno-futurism on this scale has all but evaporated in these cynical times. Pity (or not) those tasked with selling residences on The Utopia. Perhaps four walls are welcome after all.

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