“My home is my castle”
Architecture understood as social relations turned to stone, shapes and structures human beings. The overlapping golden rectangles can be read as a commentary on Adolf Loos’ programmatic essay Ornament and Crime (1908). They constitute a kind of confused, disintegrated ornament, which is the product of differing interpretations of a general concept or principle (‘the’ human being, ‘the’ law, ‘the’ golden rule). The work targets the codes and normative fundaments of architecture.
Based on Guillaume Gillet’s application of Le Corbusier, it furthermore exposes a turn of rationalisation into the uncanny, that is, an uncanny rationalisation. In the modern history of architecture and design, this turn occurs in particular at moments where the focus is on the relation between the rule and its exception, and on constructions close to the abysses and boundaries of humanity, where scales and designs are yet to be found.
In the 1950s and 1960s, for instance, discussions about the building of atomic bunkers and the necessary survival rations harked back to the experiences of concentration camps to ‘take measure’. The ‘threshold of death’ experiments conducted by the National Socialists accumulated knowledge that was made available for manned space travel.
At the time Le Corbusier was working on his system of proportions, Theodor W. Adorno wrote his Minima Moralia in exile in America, which includes an aphorism on dwelling:
Asylum for the homeless
Actually one can no longer dwell any longer. The traditional dwellings, in which we grew up, have taken on the aspect of something un-bearable: every mark of comfort therein is paid for with the betrayal of cognition [Erkenntnis]; every trace of security, with the stuffy com-munity of interest of the family. The newly functionalised ones, onstructed as a tabula rasa [Latin: blank slate], are cases made by technical experts for philistines, or factory sites which have strayed into the sphere of consumption, without any relation to the dweller: they slap the longing for an independent existence, which anyway no longer exists, in the face. […] Whoever flees into genuine but purchased historical housing, embalms themselves alive. Those who try to evade the responsibility for the dwelling, by moving into a hotel or into a furnished apartment, make a canny norm, as it were, out of the compulsory conditions of emigration. […] The house is gone.
Theodor W. Adorno, Minima Moralia — Reflections from Damaged Life, § 18.
Falko Schmieder, 2014