Remy Architectos & Carrara House – proposing a counterpoint…

Every great architect is – necessarily – a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age. Frank Lloyd Wright

Scrolling through images of Carrara house by Remy Arquitectos Buenos Aires is like watching the presents build up under the Christmas tree.  Or planning the trip of a lifetime on an unlimited budget; a joy ride of anticipation.  It is beautiful, poetic and a triumph of human focused form.  This is what good architecture is about and why good architecture creates states of being, or has the ability to change lives positively.

The other important aspect is that Carrara house blurs the distinction between art and architecture which also impacts the sensibilities of the people who live there.

The art begins at the entrance as does the idea of organic architecture; a phrase coined by Frank Lloyd Wright in the early 20th century.  It is at this point also the union between the natural environment and the building is acknowledged as important for the architect and the client.  A complex arrangement, it is scintillating design at its best; the wall of rock cutting into the little water course at right angles to the planes of white horizontals – the one nearest the door solid, fixed and contiguous with the rock wall while the other floats above the strip of lawn and shifts away from the house, like they have come to some “arrangement” by themselves – it is perfect.

This idea gains currency when you notice the slabs seem to have floated off the sides of the house and settled there as part of the entrance.  It might seem insignificant to some but to this writer it seems an adroit schematic, angular and spatial tour de force; nothing wasted all parts have a place and the north facing corner did not need these parts.  The entrance is a synthesis of ideas with the impact being so much greater than the constituent parts.  Essentially simple it has a breathtaking effect and we are not inside the house yet.

The rock wall is at once symbolic and contributes to the sense that this house conflates art and architecture.  One of its functions could be called essential decoration; but that idea is negated because like William Morris’ philosophy it is both functional and beautiful.  The rock wall (as well as the predominant use of Carrara marble) is the connection to nature both actually and symbolically, an essential aspect to Remy Architectos design.  As well as continuing from inside to out, it also represents a solid connection to the earth in contrast to the house which seems to float and does cantilever out over the wall.

Another phrase of Frank Lloyd Wright’s springs to mind “the continual becoming” and it aptly characterises the downstairs interior spaces of Carrara House.  The indoor pond continues the impression of space, light and materials in service to art.  The glass is both a barrier and a non-colour which acts as a gentle space breaker and filter.  A clear drop almost like a waterfall and in proximity to the plants and water has a lovely organic feel about it. The glass draws your eye up to the skylights and of course reflects the light – the whole becomes a coalescence of cross cutting angles the dynamics of which the glass is fundamental to.

A stylish detail which links to nature through the water and the plant life but also through the glass reflecting light and leading your eye to appreciate the beauty of what is above; a tableau in three dimensions.  The skylights throw shapes which imprint on the glass and make constantly changing patterns.   Alternatively the little pond can symbolise a perpetual wellspring nurturing the house. Plus a mere transitional space is now an energised space with a designated function of its own: permanent art installation and a briefly contemplative space.

All aspects of this house or the individual forms of this house appear as seamlessly connected by either natural materials; the manipulation of negative and positive spaces or light.

This house reminds the inhabitants that life in the suburbs does not need to be about a mere four walls closing in and containing everyday necessities.  This house reminds the inhabitants that the structure you wake up in each day need not be prosaic and it need not be merely utilitarian.  One look at this house and it is easy to see that the white interior allows so much freedom of expression;  or a freeing up of singular sensibilities because it looks to the future, it is not hampered by the architecture of the past; and by association “the past”.

This design recognises that the openness, the dynamic light and space all allow a communing with nature which in turn impacts in positive psychological ways with the occupants.  Walking into this house at 5.30pm after being stuck in traffic or troubleshooting all day at work would relieve the stress of those activities immediately.  As a haven of light, spaciousness and inviting exterior tableaus a person would feel released from anxiety as soon as they glimpsed the rock wall.  The house is designed to harmonise the spirit; to release the bad vibes instantly.

The beauty in this world is all around you – indoors and out.  On the flip side imagine waking up and coming down the stairs, depending on the weather each time would feel new and uncluttered; either a fresh art work each day or a new set of revolving images based on the weather.  This house has charismatic qualities by virtue of the forms, the glass and the ever changing light displays.

Water becomes a defining piece in the architectural puzzle, it is enveloper and it delineates the perimeter of the house; moreover the pool surrounding the house increases the sense that the house is free and floating.  The spartan interiors enhance a sense of connection to nature rather than to “material things”; the underlying question asked is “how can material things be more beautiful than what this house represents from nature, space and light”? Water, space and light in Carrara House function as aspects of worlds and lives in transition.

As a poetic form the rhythm is strong and consistent, the detailing exposes vigorous counterpoints, traditional materials breathe new life and the impact is powerful.

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