Maison Bordeaux

Analyzing OMA's single family house in Bordeaux. 

 drawing included in 'Pedagogy and Place' exhibition| Yale Architecture Gallery | Dec. 2015 - May 2016


"In an effort to pinpoint the interrelationship between the physical settings of architectural education and the pedagogy itself, Pedagogy and Place presents the development of Yale’s program over the last hundred years through a presentation of representative alumni work set against a background of the succession of buildings designed to house the School."  [link]

Formal Analysis of Maison Bordeaux, excerpt: 

In Maison Bordeaux Rem Koolhaas introduces a vertical disturbance to the static Dom-ino section of Le Corbusier. He does so not by puncturing a solid object through the floors, as he proposed in his earlier projects for the Tres Grande Bibliotheque or the Jussieu Libraries, but by piercing the house with an ever-changing vertical shaft that is constantly in flux – the elevator.  A key liberating element of our era, according to Koolhaas, the elevator has been a recurring theme in the work of OMA. In Maison Bordeaux, not only does the moving platform allow all of the spaces to be accessible by a wheelchair, but it radically transforms the spatial quality of the interior of the house and brings a degree of ambiguity and instability into domestic architecture. The traditional idea of a home as a stable and secure place is subverted and the heart [a fireplace] is replaced by a void with a machine.

The most controversial and rhetorical piece of the overall building composition is the steel beam with the tie-rod. The metal connections that anchor the box to the beam are invisible, which is fundamental to the idea of conveying a box incomprehensibly suspended from the beam above. The actual supports, the piloti and the steel portal, are tucked underneath the volume, hardly visible from the patio below. The drawing [above] suggests that the simple structure of Le Corbusier’s Dom-ino diagram has been transformed into a complex system of planes and volumes that are kept together in a tense dynamic equilibrium.