The Amniotic House

Luis Fernández-Galiano 

The global house is amniotic. We float with our eyes closed in the saline liquid of intimacy seeking shelter from the roar of the world, and the domestic project is shaped by self-absorbed isolation. We have searched for houses in five continents, and the outcome of this planetary hunt is not so much a catalogue of materials and customs (in tune with the resistant anthropology of climatic regionalism) as the predictable proof that the house is a universal laboratory for technical and aesthetic experiments. However, the pleasant variety of trials fails to conceal the essential unit of this residential type, stringed together by family protection and individual expression. Introverted and singular, the house of the globe is thus a narcissistic womb where paradoxically difference is cloned.

From the spiritual shelter of Ambasz to the material prototype of Yamamoto there is a temporal and emotional path that the word ‘house’ helps to span: between a conceptual haven imagined more than three decades ago as an ecstatical remake of the Moor-inspired Barragán and an aluminum shelter designed from the mechanic rules of production and assembly there seems to be an abyss of forms and intentions, but their common condition of freestanding objects and built dreams stretches a rhetoric bridge that shortens distances, tracing a shared territory, at once global and suburban. The peaceful pool of the image, at the edge of the ocean, is hence an ironic icon of seclusion displayed, watery showcase and inhabited fish tank of ‘disurbanity’ by design.

Weary of visiting canonical houses that were in the end uninhabitable, overwhelmed after realizing that so many noteworthy residences are merely superfluous scenarios of leisure, and ashamed of pretending that all these fine devices for the ostentation of taste are affordable homes, we publish exquisite houses without mentioning their cost, with the aloof attitude of jeweler’s that omit the price tag as a vulgar money matter. If architecture has made a Faustian pact with fashion and luxury, few stages are more suitable to enact this deal than some untamed domestic premises, where the humble craft of living has been replaced by an arrogant eagerness to amaze. Our last tango will be in an empty house, and we shall await death in a fetal position, returning to the origin of the home in the womb.

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