take a seat

Mecanoo architecten. Holland Avenue Randstad, Netherlands, 2002


15.03.2012 ways of seating Marco Ragonese

Paging through the magazines dedicated to Architecture one quickly notices that in contemporary landscape projects – especially those from the Netherlands – a new instrument of representation is being experimented with: panoramas seen through a windscreen. This device has been used to depict the sight enjoyed by bus drivers and passengers. The aim is to discover an instrument that places attention on the perception of movement and, especially, from a particular point of view: that of a person seated inside a compartment. This approach represents a leap ahead from the research conducted by the Chicago School of the 1960’s, when the perception of movement was investigated for the first time as a factor of comprehension of a new reality-  but never represented with such clarity and realism. Remaining seated – and at the same time, moving – has become a privileged point of view to perceive the landscape and its transformations. One need merely think of journeys on double-decker buses or trains, where the height of the means of transport permits the passenger to look over guardrails or ballasts. Unexpected panoramas open up and unusual details are noticed.

In Architecture it is rather difficult for the posture of those who live domestic geography to be taken into account by the architect. Or at least, the professional limits himself/herself to taking in the general aspects of perception without further investigation of specific elements. The only case of attention to a different point of view was that addressed and built by Rem Koolhaas in his Maison à Bordeaux (1998). The disability of the owner, confined to a wheelchair, became the operative data through which to experiment new solutions of space and form. The openings through which the landscape is perceived at various degrees, the pathways and the large mobile room – a platform that connects all the environments of the house vertically – represented precise answers to the needs of the client and not merely adaptations. Handicap transformed into a creative resource and in living spaces: nothing further from the advertising that offers improbable stair-lifts for elderly persons with fake smiles, whose domestic landscape recalls what was shown by the Chemical Brothers in Star Guitar: a dynamic but repetitive nightmare.





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Periodico online registrato presso il Tribunale di Udine il 28 gennaio 2012 n° 1