THE ABODE OF THE OUTSIDE

As I walk along the northern edge of the city, a wide clearing opens up before me, flanked on one side by a series of homes: houses with extremely long corridors, which fold one inside the other, closed, yet open spaces nevertheless.  Outside, a few people are walking as though drawn by the greyness of their own shadows, whereas the anonymous daily life closes this space in an immense vacuum. Everything appears to rest on the ground, without any foundations or roots. A bit further on, some people are talking.

I draw closer, but when I am but a few metres away, I realise their language is incomprehensible, as though their words were outside what they are saying, just like the space surrounding them.

I walk on and reflect on what I have just heard, and I sense that their language lacks a subject. So I think of how to access a similar code.

Looking at the ground, my attention is attracted by a series of deep tracks, which cut through the earth. I begin to follow one, it appears to be endless. At regular intervals I meet other tracks crossing this system horizontally.

I realise I am on a grid. The creak from a nearby track makes me turn round. Suddenly a wall appears in front of me. It is white, three metres high and it moves. There are moving walls over the entire grid, whereas a roof appears in the background.  A voice comes from a nearby panel. I draw closer, but I cannot see anyone. The voice becomes louder, so I put my ear to the wall, and realise the wall can actually speak. Once I have overcome my surprise, I ask the wall who gave it the opportunity to speak. “They were the men,” it replies, “who were here to experiment the outside.

They are researchers who use language without a subject, as they feel they are unrestricted by codes, rules and controls.  They experiment new spaces to be crossed, to be perceived in their essence. Others are those alienated from a standardising society, where rules, codes and controls leave the individual without any imagination and reduce him to an immobile object. So they come here to feel at ease again.

The operation is very simple. Just enter when the space is closed, put down language and move one or more walls towards the outside. Once the envelope is opened, you enter this new dimension. As you will have noted, total absence reigns here, you are outside any subjectivity, you can only see the limits of a space in the vacuum, in which it is situated. 

My function is to provide access. Whoever enters, leaves his language, his conscience, his subjectivity, and then experiments the essence of freedom to finally say I don’t represent any more, I am; I have no meaning, I present.”

The shape of this 80 m2 house is organised into a grid spanning 3.0x3.0 metres, which occupies the entire plot. The pure, geometric shape (the parallelepiped) is simple, seeing that this, like all our other projects, is not based on the search for an architectural form. It is conceived exclusively as something changeable. What counts is the expression of a concept represented in its essence.  The frame uses a system of automation to become a place of movement, a space in which the expression of movement entrusted to architectural elements generates a dimension of the indefinite, a space outside itself, a place in which total absence reigns. The walls slide along the steel floor tracks of the grid. They have also been designed as recycled, 6 cm-thick, insulated aluminium panels (with low environmental impact), which can modify the space and change the perception of it in a relatively short space of time, passing from total closure to an absolute, complete opening, and vice versa. The variation in the terms movement-space-time is determined by a computer placed in the centre of the house. Inside-outside, open-closed become extreme spatial conditions, inside which covered-open, open-non-covered spaces and open-closed spaces take shape. If the external envelope remains closed, the internal space can be modified to make it more flexible and adaptable to the various needs. The only fixed elements are the reinforced concrete platform, a base, on which the sliding tracks for the walls are placed, and the volumes of the utility rooms. The theme of movement prompts the modification of some of the architectural elements. For example, the pillar imitates the traditional Miesian cross and is divided into four parts to allow the walls to slide over the cross points.  The pillars can also be erected outside the house to increase the domestic space by adding opaque or transparent modules both vertically and horizontally.

Year: 2001 - 2006

Architect: Anna Rita Emili

Collaborator: Emanuele Piccioni (model), Federica Ciapanna (model), Matteo Gentile (webdesign),

                       Marco Zanzarella (animations)

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