028 LEGO HOUSE

028
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

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

Gerhard Mack, Herzog & de Meuron: Herzog & de Meuron 1978-1988. The Complete Works. Volume 1.
Edited by: Gerhard Mack. Chinese ed. Beijing, China Architecture & Building Press, 2010. Vol. No. 1.

Herzog & de Meuron. Natural History.

Edited by: Philip Ursprung. Exh. Cat. Herzog & de Meuron. Archaeology of the Mind. Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal. 23 October 2002 - 6 April 2003. 2nd ed. Baden, Lars Müller, 2005.

Herzog & de Meuron. Naturgeschichte.
Edited by: Philip Ursprung. Exh. Cat. Herzog & de Meuron. Archaeology of the Mind. Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal. 23 October 2002 - 6 April 2003. 2nd ed. Baden, Lars Müller, 2005.

Herzog & de Meuron. Histoire Naturelle.
Edited by: Philip Ursprung. Exh. Cat. Herzog & de Meuron. Archaeology of the Mind. Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal. 23 October 2002 - 6 April 2003. Baden, Lars Müller, 2002.

Gerhard Mack, Herzog & de Meuron: Herzog & de Meuron 1978-1988. Das Gesamtwerk. Band 1. The Complete Works. Volume 1.
Edited by: Gerhard Mack. Basel / Boston / Berlin, Birkhäuser, 1997. Vol. No. 1.

Jacques Herzog: Die verborgene Geometrie der Natur. The Hidden Geometry of Nature.
In: Gerhard Mack (Ed.). Herzog & de Meuron 1978-1988. Das Gesamtwerk. Band 1. The Complete Works. Volume 1. Basel / Boston / Berlin, Birkhäuser, 1997. Vol. No. 1. pp. 207-211.
First published in: Jacques Herzog: La Geometria oculta de la Naturalesa. The Hidden Geometry of Nature.
In: Josep Lluís Mateo (Ed.). Quaderns d'Arquitectura i Urbanisme. Geogafies. Geographies. Vol. No. 181/182, Barcelona, Col-legi d'Arquitectes de Catalunya. Association of Catalan Architects, 09.1989. pp. 96-109.

Martin Steinmann: Entwürfe für etwas, das es nicht gibt ausserhalb einer Verwirklichung mit Lego. Zu den Entwürfen von drei Architektengemeinschaften aus der Schweiz zur Ausstellung "L'Architecture est un Jeu".
In: Verband freierwerbender Schweizer Architekten. Fédération Suisse des Architectes Indépendants (FSAI) (Ed.). Archithese. Zeitschrift und Schriftenreihe für Architektur und Kunst. Revue thématique d'Architecture et d'Art. Stand der Dinge. Vol. No. 1, Niederteufen, Arthur Niggli AG, 01.1986. pp. 64-65.

Herzog & de Meuron: Ein bestimmter Raum. One specific Room.
In: Gerhard Mack (Ed.). Herzog & de Meuron 1978-1988. Das Gesamtwerk. Band 1. The Complete Works. Volume 1. Basel / Boston / Berlin, Birkhäuser, 1997. Vol. No. 1. p. 106.
First published in : Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron: One Specific Room.
In: LEGO Gruppe (Ed.). L’architecture est un Jeu... magnifique. Wegweiser durch 30 LEGO Villen. Exh. Cat. L’architecture est un Jeu... magnifique. Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France. July 1986. Billund, LEGO Gruppe, 1986. pp. 62-63.