“No more original genii! Let us repeat ourselves again and again!”, Loos, 1914.
This semester we are working on a Project called House: in Reference. We are on our way to design houses as a collective production by referring to any house in any degree. Now, I am going to explain the narrative of my design systematically, beginning from the case studies.
I started by researching Adolf Loos’ popular theory: Raumplan.
“My architecture is not conceived in plans, but in spaces (cubes). I do not design floor plans, facades, sections. I design spaces. For me, there is no ground floor, first floor etc…. For me, there are only contiguous, continual spaces, rooms, anterooms, terraces etc. Storeys merge and spaces relate to each other. Every space requires a different height: the dining room is surely higher than the pantry, thus the ceilings are set at different levels. To join these spaces in such a way that the rise and fall are not only unobservable but also practical, in this I see what is for others the great secret, although it is for me a great matter of course. Coming back to your question, it is just this spatial interaction and spatial austerity that thus far I have best been able to realise in Dr Müller’s house” Adolf Loos: Shorthand record of a conversation in Plzen (Pilsen), 1930
Basically it can be said, that for Loos two things were important within his Raumplan. Firstly a differentiation of the height of the ceiling in differently used rooms, with a strong link to the privacy which the room should provide. Secondly the creation of room sequences with the different rooms, with a special importance on the visual connections of the rooms. That means precisely that more private annexes with lower ceilings are spatially connected through stairs, visually-view through etc. with higher more public rooms. The different heights of the ceiling cause a break-through of the established horizontal layering of the house. This leads to complex space structures which were made available by as well complex vertical circulation by stairs.
For the reason that his creation of Raumplan introduces a new point of view for the composition and connection of spaces, I wanted to refer to it in my house design. Therefore, I searched houses which apply Raumplan in order to understand how other architects refer to Adolf Loos & the plan. Among the many case studies I have examined, I decided to refer to the Raumplan House, Spain, 2015, Alberto Campo Baeza. This is a house where this known spatial mechanism (Raumplan) is employed, with the concatenation of spiraling double spaces. Each two double spaces are connected by vertical displacement so that a diagonal space is created. If, as we go up, we turn 90 degrees and connect it with the other two, and if we continue to go up turning a further 90 degrees, we get an amazing spatial structure: the concatenation of three spiraling diagonal spaces. Also, by the help of this diagonal space configuration, we are able to experience the two different directions in one space.
As a result of this design, this allowed the integration of double-heighted spaces that were seemingly intersecting one another. The adaption of this spatial layout forms what is known as the ‘raumplan’, where two double height spaces become linked by a simple vertical displacement, forming a diagonal space.
As one makes their way up the spaces of the Raumplan House, there is a 90 degree turn which connects with another two spaces, and this continues as one goes up a further 90 degree turn. This smart spatial structure creates the concatenation of three spiraling diagonal spaces, that mimic the form of a corkscrew.
In my house proposal I wanted to refer to the relation of spaces, the concatenation of three spiraling diagonal spaces but, I transformed it a little so that the spaces could be connected through stairs.
In another source, I have read that Möbius House, Het Gooi, 1993-1998, UNStudio is in the opposite position to Loos’ Raumplan. Rather than consisting of strictly functional separated rooms and intermediate areas, the Möbius house exemplifies the seamless transition of these spaces. Since Möbius House is known with its popular Möbius strip, it sculpturally and programmatically developes as an endless loop.
Two interlocking lines, and the double-locked torus of Möbius House integrates program, circulation and structure seamlessly, as in opposition to Raumplan. This contrast between Möbius House and Raumplan House let me think that, what if one of the interlocking lines of Möbius House was designed with Raumplan.
At this point, I tried to apply the condition of what if one of the interlocking lines of Möbius house become the concatenation of three spiraling diagonal spaces as happened in Raumplan House. Then, unlike the original configuration of Möbius House, the properties (vertical space configuration) of adapted Raumplan directed me to the way of combining the lines of Möbius House vertically. Therefore, the horizontal positioning of two lines of Möbius House originally, turned into the vertical positioning, so that I obtained spaces which have position on top of each other.
Another house I studied the House K., Germany, 2005, Titus Bernhard is based on the screening principle. Rigid order (according to my interpretation it refers to Raumplan line in my proposal) and simultaneous flexibility of use (acc. to my interpretation it is the other line from Möbius House in my proposal) create an imaginary axis (acc. to my interpretation it is the space where two lines intersect in my proposal) in House K., which separates the living space into served and servant rooms using structural wall slabs and roof lights. Spaces and volumes can serve as a pattern for order, helping to organize, enclose or separate secondary functions.
The secondary rooms and storage space are placed along a linear circulation axis following the slope of the terrain, while the important zones of the house open out towards the lake.
To see how House K. does zoning through screening made me realize that the similarity between this shared linear circulation by both differentiated groups, and the role of double-locked torus in Möbius House after I injected the concatenation of three spiraling diagonal spaces as one line of the house.
So, in similar way to House K., while my house proposal’s Raumplan line, where a continuous sequence of spaces are created with zoning based on artificial topographies, following the slope of terrain, in contrast, the other line spaces open out towards lake since I decided to locate my proposal to the site of House K.
- Hermann, E. M. & Kaiser, M. & Katz, T. (2014). Furnishing – Zoning: Spaces, Materials, Fit-out.
- Loos, A. & Corbusier, L. (2008). Raumplan Versus Plan Libre: Adolf Loos [and] Le Corbusier.
- University of Bath. (2005). Adolf Loos – The Life, the Theories, Analysis of the Villa Mueller. Retrieved from: http://www.desyndicate.de/inhalt/downloads/Adolf_Loos-The_Life-The_Theories-Villa_Mueller.pdf