METAPHORS AND MODERNITY: HOUSES



Houses have always remained as theoretical excursions medium to set new cannons for contemporary Architecture. The house has been re-invented number of times as one scan through the history of architecture. The act of re-invention of the house is perhaps a method of deactivating the dogmatic conditions with fresher metaphor towards contemporary life. The imagination of house oscillates between most material conditions to object of metaphor while contemporary life is an intellectual dialectic between imagination and reason or the material negotiation between two extremes conditions. 

The amount of architectural knowledge that has been built around, along with the broad theoretical speculation and metaphors within the history of houses cannot be summarized within a volume but can perhaps be illustrated with important and influential idiosyncratic philosophies, constantly operative like Ferris wheel, with changing trajectories and re-inventing itself. The broad three philosophies of design take its own trajectories  and get re-invented in various forms


The architecture of houses always dealt with the duality of transfer of form Vs. concern for the program. The harder the contrast the more it sets the challenge to contemporary living. The rationality & vitality of the program remained constant victims for seeking new language in Architecture.


Adolf Loos’s work set away from formalist tendencies of form to plan in space. The sequencing of spaces was the determinant factor of organizing house programs. The ornamentation and crime is a re-invention of deadornment of form through raum plan (the plan of volumes). The raum plan sets the new norms of conceptualization of modern life and modern means of adornment and engagement of space. 

   

House as a simple appliance was an operative metaphor, Bauhaus sets new experiment with houses as a medium for systematic rational research into the formal, technical and economic field. It was felt that the derivation of form is an act of understanding its natural functions and limitations. Such research into the nature of material and objects led to an understanding that architectural forms can emerge from a determined consideration of all the modern methods of production and construction. The formal handling of volumes nevertheless convincingly demonstrates the aesthetic presence in the reduction of a cube


Nature was too material, too individual, universal art allowed only for abstract composition, as an equilibrium of position and weight of colour. The rigorous rejection of all representational references, including the cubist and purist, led to collate the art and architecture in newer terrain. The De Stijl was concerned with the calculated of unequal masses in an anti-cubist system which exploded the closed contours of the volumetric body. The de-composition of cube led to the de-composition of program as universal & flexible, anti-dogmatic manifestation.


The re-invention of house “Machine for Living” became metaphor of modern life. The minimum form and maximum function sets new alignment to the aesthetic of house form. The modern life, the world of activity has created own functional objects, where relationships are temporary but position of objects became central to everyday living. A house is a machine for living in, it acquires clean air, full sunlight, and beauty in harmonious proportions and exaggerated sequencing of program.






















The de-composition of cube also became central to tectonic operation for the quest of space itself as metaphor. The space that is de-aligned from anthropocentric or representational concerns and results in a syntactic model of interrelation without external reference. It has dialectic relation between writing

(transformation ) and reading (implicit and explicit relation. It also represents a radical confession of faith in an autonomous architecture, which entirely frees itself from criteria of habitability, strangely congenial with the emerging time of our living pattern in contemporary cities.


Photo Credit: Manoj Parmar Architects



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