ARCH 3308/4408/6308/6408
SingleHousing: The Architect's Home

A room with cream colored drapes on the walls and a furry rug and a white bed on blue carpet.

Adolf Loos, Bedroom in the Lina and Adolf Loos apartment, Vienna, 1903 (reconstruction). photo / Peter Kainz/MAK

  • Instructor: Rubén Alcolea
  • Time: T 11:20⁠–⁠1:15 p.m.
  • Location: 157 E. Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Representation

To be free at least once in my life! To combine in one person the function of architect and client, I decided to build myself a house…

~Konstantin Melnikov

The houses the architects have built for themselves are simultaneously a self-portrait, an experiment, and a manifesto. This typology has been in the very center of the battlefield to address the ideals of modern and contemporary architecture. The private residences which architects have designed for their own use are critical to understand how domesticity and intimacy are developed along major architecture statements. Those homes combine the self-absorbed daring of the painter while looking at himself in the mirror and the insatiable curiosity of the physician who uses their own body to test for a new cure. This built and narcissistic self-portrait of the architect has been developed by many of the great architects, such as Asplund, Barragán, Broner, Bottoni, Coates, Dieste, Eames, Eierman, Erskine, Gehry, Gray, Jacobsen, Johnson, Kikutake, Loos, Melnikov, Moore, Navarro-Baldeweg, Neutra, Niemeyer, Prouvé, Schindler, Tange, Venturi, Williams or Wright, among others. These and others will be discussed, as clear examples of intense rhetorical experiments which combine being clearly functional but also extremely inquisitive. This theory course 'SingleHousing: The Architect’s Home' will address the specifics of those desires for the designers to build their own private spaces. Theory lectures will present the houses in detail, and will also address the concept of defining who the architect or the client really are, while trying to distinguish how architecture differs when both merge into a unique soul. The projects will be studied and arranged by topics instead than by author, so the buildings would be dispossessed of their authorship to become a body of well known places. Students' work will focus on researching some of the houses by addressing specific parts or elements, to define the intimate scale of human interaction within the built nature of the space.

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