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  1. ArchDaily
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  5. Peter Eisenman
  6. 1975
  7. AD Classics: House VI / Peter Eisenman

AD Classics: House VI / Peter Eisenman

AD Classics: House VI / Peter Eisenman
AD Classics: House VI / Peter Eisenman


  • Architects

  • Location

    Cornwall, Connecticut
  • Architect

    Peter Eisenman
  • Client

    Mr. and Mrs. Richard Frank
  • References

    Peter Eisenman, Houses of Cards. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987., and Frank, Suzanne. Peter Eisenman's House VI: The Client's Response. New York: Watson-Guptil Publications, 1994., and University of Oregon
  • Project Year

  • Photographs

From the architect. Unlike the previously featured Vanna Venturi House, Peter Eisenman's House VI includes disorientation in the work without the concept of relating it to the traditional home. The house is, in fact, anything but what one would consider a conventional house. Eisenman, one of the New York Five, designed the house for Mr. and Mrs. Richard Frank between 1972-1975 who found great admiration for the architect's work despite previously being known as a "paper architect" and theorist. By giving Eisenman a chance to put his theories to practice, one of the most famous, and difficult, houses emerged in the United States.


Situated on a flat site in Cornwall, Connecticut House VI stands its own ground as a sculpture in its surroundings. The design emerged from a conceptual process that began with a grid. Eisenman manipulated the grid in a way so that the house was divided into four sections and when completed the building itself could be a "record of the design process." Therefore structural elements, were revealed so that the construction process was evident, but not always understood.


Thus, the house became a study between the actual structure and architectural theory. The house was effeciently constructed using a simple post and beam system. However some columns or beams play no structural role and are incorporated to enhance the conceptual design. For example one column in the kitchen hovers over the kitchen table, not even touching the ground! In other spaces, beams meet but do not intersect, creating a cluster of supports. Robert Gutman wrote on the house saying, "most of these columns have no role in supporting the building planes, but are there, like the planes and the slits in the walls and ceilings that represent planes, to mark the geometry and rhythm of Eisenman's notational system."


The structure was incorporated into Eisenman's grid to convey the module that created the interior spaces with a series of planes that slipped through each other. Purposely ignoring the idea of form following function, Eisenman created spaces that were quirky and well-lit, but rather unconventional to live with. He made it difficult for the users so that they would have to grow accustom to the architecture and constantly be aware of it. For instance, in the bedroom there is a glass slot in the center of the wall continuing through the floor that divides the room in half, forcing there to be separate beds on either side of the room so that the couple was forced to sleep apart from each other.


Another curious aspect is an upside down staircase, the element which portrays the axis of the house and is painted red to draw attention. There are also many other difficult aspects that disrupt conventional living, such as the column hanging over the dinner table that separates diners and the single bathroom that is only accessible through a bedroom.


As annoying as the house was to inhabit, Eisenman was able to constantly remind the users of the architecture around them and how it affects their lives. He succeeded in building a structure that functioned both as a house and a work of art, but changing the priority of both so that function followed the art. He built a home where man was forced to live in a work of art, a sculpture, and according to the clients who enjoyed inhabiting Eisenman's artwork and poetry, the house was very successful.

Cite: Adelyn Perez. "AD Classics: House VI / Peter Eisenman" 04 Jun 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


Ridha L'architecte · December 01, 2012

Yes can we find the exact measurements of this house for it to be drawn in scale ?
thanks for this..

malak · October 01, 2012

how can we find the exact measurments of this house for it to be drawn in scale ?

John H · August 25, 2013 02:57 PM

Ask Eisenman for the working drawings!

Ricardo Villamil · August 21, 2012

AD Classics: House VI / Peter Eisenman | ArchDaily vía @archdaily

Bruna Bertolini · March 20, 2012
Bruna Bertolini · March 17, 2012

AD Classics: House VI / Peter Eisenman | ArchDaily via @archdaily

anna-klara veltsista · October 20, 2010

AD Classics: House VI / Peter Eisenman | ArchDaily via @archdaily

amanda araújo · August 28, 2010

apaixone-seAD Classics: House VI / Peter Eisenman | ArchDaily via @archdaily acho que eu vou colecionar casas!

amanda araújo · August 26, 2010

vale a pena conferir, galerê.... AD Classics: House VI / Peter Eisenman | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Franco Miotto · July 29, 2010

@giambastiani O que o Mahfuz acha dessa merda?

sluggo · June 06, 2010

I'm surprised how many good moments the house has. The real art would have been leaving what seems like an arbitrary structural system behind and making actual decisions. This way of working seems like a "dead end street".

Rodrigo Tello · June 06, 2010

It has nothing to do with the bauhaus.

Hans · June 05, 2010

not many descendants of that type of clients with such beds

anonymousss · January 02, 2013 08:51 PM

nice one.

Kwangbae Lee · June 05, 2010

"AD Classics: House VI / Peter Eisenman" ?? Archi Daily? AD Classics ?? ??.

#17 · June 05, 2010

Not to be snarky....but the opening (black & white) picture is not House VI. It is the perspective model of House X (for the Aronoff family in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA). It was never built.

spasmody · June 05, 2010

definitely in the spirit of Bauhaus

hans · October 17, 2010 03:59 PM

haha, what? EISENMANN-spirit of Bauhauss, were you commenting on the wrong thread?

Nicholas Patten · June 05, 2010

AD Classics: House VI.

Anonymous · June 05, 2010

Whether the work is worthy of praise or not, it is extremely hard to praise an architect who has such an egotistical attitude, and such little respect for his own profession, as can be seen here (link below) and in other places for a more enquiring mind.

Mies van der Rohe · June 05, 2010

House VI / Peter Eisenman
Cleverness and Architecture do not go well together. Some should keep designing paper arch.

alex · June 05, 2010

it's hard to comment on AD classics. How many countless books and journals have had this house featured? Nothing I say about it will be unique!

MLiam · June 05, 2010

Eisenman's architecture wasn't art, it was an expression of process. This formalist process ,which involved dividing the house into four quadrants and then following a set of rules, was sort of a architectural Conway's game of life. Many of the moments within the house are extremely functional as architectural devices. An example is the upside-down staircase which serves to both show the division within the house(the axis of the house). It is also an example of the Müller-Lyer illusion. This was the architectural argument of his time, does function have to relate solely to what people do, or can it also involve the poetry of how they live?

AE · January 25, 2013 06:56 AM

One could argue that, analagous with the minimalist and process scultpure (Serra, Smith, Judd et al) preceding Eisenmans formal experiments, his work in the House Series is precisely indistinguishable from art practices. I would suggest that the moment human inhabitation occurs, form can then be critiqued as 'architectural' (and, on those standards somewhat unethical). This, in my opinion, does not remove Eisenman's process from the relams of art..

philip · June 05, 2010

A stunningly piece of art. Such a profoundly work would not have a chance to day

Jakov · June 04, 2010

a dead end street.

Leila Tomaselli · June 04, 2010

AD Classics: House VI / Peter Eisenman via ArchDaily - © NJIT Unlike the previously featured Vanna ...

ArchitecturePassion · June 04, 2010

AD Classics: House VI / Peter Eisenman: © NJIT Unlike the previously featured Vanna Venturi House, Peter Eisenm..

Architecture+Molding · June 04, 2010

AD Classics: House VI / Peter Eisenman: © NJIT
Unlike the previously featured Vanna Venturi House, Peter Eisenman’...

rental_watanabe 2.0 · June 04, 2010

?archi info? AD Classics: House VI / Peter Eisenman #AD_Classics (archdaily) #rental_archiinfo


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