The Suburban House, Mirror and Showcase

Beatriz Colomina 

The entire facade of a typical suburban house has been removed and replaced by a full sheet of transparent glass. Midway back and parallel to the front glass facade, a mirror divides the house in two areas. The front section is revealed to the public, while the rear, private section is not disclosed. As the mirror faces the glass facade and the street, it reflects not only the house’s interior but also the street and the environment outside the house. The reflected images of the facades of the two houses opposite the cut away “fill-in” the missing facade. (Dan Graham, Alteration to a Suburban House, 1978)

Removing the facade of a suburban house reveals not just its physical structure but its social one: how the suburban family is held together; and the optical structure, the lines of sight that sustain relationships. The facade is now a window. The picture window has extended itself to cover the entire wall... [+]

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