This is the first set in a three-part series of iterative studies exploring the relationship between program + specific aspects of architectural articulation in Rem Koolhaas' Bordeaux House.

Study 1: The relationship between formal devices; i.e. facades, openings, geometries, etc. and program - that is, the relationship between overall form/appearance and program.

This is an interesting architectural aspect to explore because of the rich diversity in facades and openings present in the Bordeaux House. There are opaque, transparent, semi-transparent elements; concrete, glass, and metal elements; circular versus floor-to-ceiling openings. In the initial exploratory study below, the three distinct horizontal striations of facade types are explicitly expressed. By delineating the facade types so explicitly, the architecture's program as 'three houses stacked on top of each other' can be read plainly.

Study 2: The psychological relationship between different zones of use (programmatic functions).

This is an interesting architectural aspect to explore because the Bordeaux House is famous for being satisfying to its inhabitants beyond aesthetic and technological contexts. A rich interplay between different programmatic zone types creates a diverse range of psychological experiences. In the study below, the focus is on the relationship between the two 'separated' houses (one for the adults, the other for the children) on the top floor of the house. Their physical separation is masked by the contiguous beam that wraps around that floor, but is explicitly revealed in this illustration. The vertical circulation is mirrored; an elevator platform and cantilevered staircase on the left, and a spiral staircase in a circular column on the right. On the left, there is a glass open-air balcony; on the right, the most distinctive opening is a peculiar circular opening in the facade. Psychologically, the two opposing zones affords two distinctly different experiences within the same architectural context; an element of the 'parti' for the program was to create a complex building, because it would be the extent of the world for its disabled inhabitant; the distinct psychological variations between spaces is evidence of this expressed in architectural terms.

Study 3: The relationship between structural strategy and program.

In the intial exploratory study, a simple model seeks to simplify - in the most basic of elements - the architectural strategy of the house. The model aims to express two observations: the bizarre structural system as an artform/sculpture in itself; and the spatial freedom afforded by floor plates free of structural columns or beams. The appearance of such an architectural composition is wonderfully-liberating and comforting all at the same time.

The model below illustrates the bizarre structural system, as well as the freedom this affords the floor plates. This 'liberation by structure' means that the interior space is free to be dictated by programmatic, rather than structural, requirements.


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