Last night, as Christopher Hawthorne reported for the LA Times, the Hammer Museum played “Koolhaas Houselife”, a comical and witty documentary by Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoîne that follows Guadalupe Acedo, the cleaning woman, as she maintains the 1998 masterpiece.
Although architects, designers and engineers may look at the House of Bordeaux and admire its dramatic cantilever, the conceptually thrilling idea of the central lift for the handicapped client, and the circular windows that vary in size and placement according to the heights of the different residents, what is it like to occupy that space on a daily basis? After all, it is a house, and what is it like to do some of the most basic chores in an award winning building?
More including a short trailer after the break.
The film shows how the residence’s main component, the wheelchair lift, now takes on new uses, as its wheelchair-bound client has died, “leaving his wife to inhabit a piece of architecture in large part custom-made for a man who no longer lives there,” added Hawthorne.
Hawthorne shares that although Acedo may point out the residence’s flaws, she, probably more than anyone, would defend the grand structure, as she regards the house as more than just a Rem Koolhaas project – it has become a part of her.
This film is part of a series of films by Bêka and Lemoîne that select architecturally renown buildings, such as Gehry’s Guggenheim in Bilbao or Jubilee Church by Richard Meier, and portray a “real” side of the building. The films are not concerned with explaining the building and the design, but rather, with showing a new perspective. We often have preconceived notions that these structures are seemingly perfect, but the films provide insight into the routines of people who actually live, work or clean the selected buildings. “Thus, their intention is to talk about architecture, or rather to let architecture talk to us, from an “inner” point of view, both personal and subjective.”
Videos via YouTube BekaFilms Production.