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Elbphilharmonie Hamburg


Contribution to L’architecture est un jeu… magnifique
Lego House
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
Exhibition 10 July – 26 August 1985

One specific room
Of all possible designs and images of villas that we have in our mind and heart, we only present one room. It is one specific room, a room that – within the concept of this exhibition where the Lego model is the principal means of expression – we have determined that the architectural thinking in connection with it makes sense for us. As to the image, material/model and medium, we try to achieve coherence on the different levels of reality. We chose our presentation in such a way that it brings up the question of which are the descriptive and which are the described elements. A question that has always been a central theme in our architecture.

The reality of images – The video still photos
We show a view into and from one specific room: images of a child’s room; images connected with our youth, our memories of fantasies we had during the day and at night; and images of fear, sleep and eroticism. Working at these images is an architectural work, the thinking happens in architectural images, which we extend to the whole design in other projects. The atmosphere in these images is created by the precisely chosen architectural elements: a wooden chair painted white, a shelf for the clothes, a place for doing the homework, an open cupboard with the heart-like ornaments, and a bed with a chequered blanket – you watch your sister who came home late take off her clothes – light and shadow, the moon, the bedside lamp, the harmless ceiling lamp with the cloth lampshade whose shadow casts a distorted face on the nocturnal wallpaper.

The reality of models – The lego bricks
Our model is made of acrylic glass. In the attic there is an insertion of Lego bricks with which we built the room for taking the two photographs. We also needed a video camera, a monitor, light as well as the properties integrated in the acrylic house, which – like the built-in Lego bricks – are actually some of our old toys. In this context of the model – contrary to their presence on the video photographs – they do not represent anything but ordinary old toys as we all know them.

Supported by the transparent design, we gave the model house a form as general, ordinary and familiar to us as possible – any house anywhere in the world. In reality it would be a very particular, unique, specific building, whose colour, whose smell, whose ugly neighbours, whose plywood façade and asphalt details we cannot and do not want to show or make noticeable in a model.

A model always remains a model. When it is the primary work – as it is the case in the Lego exhibition – the model always remains a model of a vision. In this case it is not a valid, clear nor sharp image of the architect’s vision.

This work consists of the two photographs (video still shots) mentioned above and the model. The photographs are to be hung side by side on the wall, behind glass (but without a frame) at eye level of the onlooker. In front of these photographs, in the middle, set up on a simple prismatic base, stands the model, on which this text is printed.
Herzog & de Meuron, Basel 1984
© 2016, by Herzog & de Meuron Basel. All Rights Reserved
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