Residence F was designed by Meixner Schlueter Wendt Architects in Kronberg im Taunus, Germany. Because the floor to ceiling windows of the lower story are set back beneath the upper story it appears to float like a flying wedge hovering over the gently rolling landscape of which it is a part. The angle of the front top story reflects that of the hillside the house is built into. The glass lower story allows broad views of the hills surrounding the house, and the upstairs bedroom windows give expansive views of the hills behind the house. There are outdoor recreation areas including a game court above the house, and pool below the house that were created as part of the program for this family of five. As I look at the photographs of the house I can’t help but think, “It does look as if a B grade sci-fi movie flying metallic object is trying to land on this hillside in Germany. Ingrid Spencer writing about the house in Architectural Record likens the house to a stealth bomber. However, there is nothing stealthy about it because it seems to be poised to blast out of or into the hillside. The surrounding Countryside is made up of gently rolling hills, whereas the upper story of “Residence F” is all awkward angles and sharp edges that disassociate themselves from the gentle undulations. And, unlike the Libeskind “18.36.54 House,” discussed in my last journal entry, “Residence F” is not at all reflective of archetypal house form. *2 In its transgression of the “house paradigm” and sci-fi ironic kitsch flavor it is more like the Postmodern. Does form follow function as in the reductive Modern movement? No. The elaborate wedge shape of the mechanical shading device on the down-slope side is much too complicated and fanciful. Does the “sci-fi” kitsch give it the surreal/romantic touch of the Metamodern? To answer my own question, “I’m ambivalent.” I can’t make up my mind. Perhaps if the upper story had rounded edges instead of sharp corners – I don’t know! It is as though this program is trying for the Metamodern, but isn’t quite up to the task. Or perhaps, the architect(s) weren’t trying for the Metamodern. They just got caught up in the zeitgeist of the times and accidentally executed an almost Metamodern house.
House F caught my attention as I cruised through the Architectural Record Houses of the month. Never the less, I’m unsettled by the ambivalence I experience while writing about it. Therefore, based more on my “gut,” and less on logic, it cannot be Metamodern.
Spencer, Ingrid, “Residence F,” in Architectural Record, the Website, http://archrecord.construction.com/residential/. November, 2010. Viewed 9:30 A.M. EST, November 20, 2011.
* The author bases reference to the Metamodern on Vermeulen, Timotheus, and van den Akker, Robin, “Notes on Metamodernism,” in Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, Vol. 2, 2010 DOI: 10.3402/jac.v1i0.5677. On line at http://www.aestheticsandculture.net/index.php/jac/article/view/5677/6306, visited 10:35 AM, EDT, Thursday, June 23, 2011.
*1 Kranberg, Christoph, photographer in "Residence F," Architectural Record November 10, 2010, viewed 9:35 A.M., EST., November 20, 2011.
*2 "18.36.54 House," this journal, November, 16, 2011, http://jbkart.blogspot.com/2011/11/183654-house.html.