A HOUSE FOR WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
Extended deadline: May 1st, 2016
Is it possible to imagine A HOUSE FOR WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE?
Myriad of houses, perhaps or none.
How to translate into architecture the vastness of his universe?
To imagine A House for William Shakespeare is as difficult as A House for Ludwig van Beethoven.
But then, shouldn't we try?
Maybe A House for William Shakespeare is very, very difficult, if not impossible but maybe A HOUSE FOR HAMLET, or A HOUSE FOR OTHELLO, or A HOUSE FOR ROMEO AND JULIET is not so improbable.
So yes, by the way of the 400 years since his death, we invite you to imagine / build, for the most challenging client: William Shakespeare. We wouldn’t call him though Bill Shakespeare, as The New Yorker magazine did, once… we still prefer the longer, integral form of his first name: William.
Crossing the borders between various arts is not impossible, actually, and proofs are the beautiful Akira Kurosawa interpretations of Shakespeare… who not only transgressed the temporal barriers, but also the spatial / geographical ones.
Art is eternal, and it doesn't respect national frontiers.
This is why a Japanese Macbeth is perfectly plausible, even dressed in jeans.
So we ask you to imagine A HOUSE FOR WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, for HERE and NOW.
A contemporary house, for that William Shakespeare residing within ourselves.
Can we do it?!
Let's imagine our clients were Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, The Merchants of Venice, etc… How would we build for them? Would we ignore their psychological traits?
Then, why do we ignore the psychological traits of “real clients”, those of the here and now?
To imagine A House for Shakespeare is not an exercise in futility, nor an academic one, inasmuch as countless adaptations of his work in theatres worldwide are not.
Why shouldn’t architecture inspire itself from the exceptionally rich Shakespearean universe? Thus, the result would be a knowing architecture, not an unknowing one.
Knowing of what? you would ask.
Knowing what matters, knowing first, perhaps, to ask questions, in a very Hamletian way… an architecture that is not happy to erect images of ignorance, but images of inquiring souls and minds. Buildings that know.
Please send us ANY work, ANY size and ANY format that responds to this simple theme: A HOUSE FOR WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE. Deadline: the 1st of May, 2016. To receive a registration number, with which to identify anonymously your work, please contact us by April 15th at: email@example.com.
IN MEMORIAM - ZAHA HADID - 1950 - 2016
Soon we will display an elaborate tribute to Zaha Hadid, who died on March 31st, 2016. Her presence in architecture was and is immense, her achievements have been impossible to ignore, her impetus for an architecture of creativity was a major catalyst for a good number of years. She will be missed, but it is our turn now to continue, in our own ways, a legacy of experimentation, a legacy of courage and perseverance, a legacy of giving life a meaning through our own work, that is, architecture.
Since its inception ICARCH found it necessary to try to oppose the passage of time, in its fatidical aspects, and to try to "take revenge" on a sometimes cruel destiny... an attempt to transgress death through art, that is, in our case, through architecture. Thus, when Ingmar Bergman died, we immediately launched a competition for A House for Ingmar Bergman. We did the same with Michelangelo Antonioni, Lebbeus Woods and very recently, David Bowie.
We will do the same with Zaha Hadid. We are already inviting you to contemplate a possible (or even impossible) House for Zaha Hadid, trying, thus, to prolong her life, beyond her own achievements, which are doing themselves quite well the very same thing.
Let's pay our tribute to her in this way, since we don't know of any better way... yes, let's begin to imagine A HOUSE FOR ZAHA HADID, a house that will celebrate a great architect, a house that will commemorate her, a house that might even attempt to tell her "untold story", that story perhaps hidden by her immense success, glamor, influence.
Yes, let's begin our "revenge" already... let's begin our homage, let's begin our tribute, by thinking of A HOUSE FOR ZAHA HADID.
A HOUSE FOR ZAHA HADID
Maybe she didn’t need a house… inasmuch as the shoemaker does not seem to need shoes…
And maybe this is why it might be useful for us to imagine one.
But how to do it…?
Would it be glamorous, like its “beneficiary…?”
Would it be high-fashion…?
Would it be flamboyant…?
Would it be opulent and polished and sleek and graphic…?
How would it be…?!
Or, quite the opposite, would it be modest, almost invisible, or visceral, tormented even, earthy and raw as at one point she wanted her own architecture to be…?!
No doubt though, it would be the house of the most famous woman architect in the world.
By all standards she pushed the feminine presence at the frontline of architecture and it would be hard to replace her in the foreseeable future.
That very future she so much admired…
So, would A HOUSE FOR ZAHA HADID be “the house of the future…?”
What is “the future”…? And what if Faulkner was right that there is no “future…?!” That the past never dies, that it actually doesn’t even pass…?!?
And could “the future” exist in the absence of the continually ignored, PRESENT…?
What is the relationship between what a word like “the eternal” still conveys and what a word like “the ephemeral” means…?
Was Zaha Hadid an optimist…? Was she a pessimist…?
Her good friend Sir Norman Foster said that only an optimist could be an architect… that, in other words, from a position of pessimism it is almost impossible to build.
He was probably right, to an extent, although there is, for example, that admirer of Fernando Pessoa (not exactly the most optimistic poet) – we are referring to Alvaro Siza – who built and builds… and there are the cynics, who, under the mask of cynicism hide maybe a deeply rooted pessimism… and then there was Louis Sullivan, who wrote both about Optimism and Pessimism…
Anyway… we do not know if Zaha Hadid was an optimist, or a pessimist.
But we could still envision a house for her, that very house she didn’t envision herself… maybe a house increasingly approaching that level of florality (is there such a word…?) her architecture seemed to tend towards lately…? There were insinuations even of symmetry, somehow, in her later work… hidden, but discernible…
We leave you with question marks… maybe many… and with an open space on which to imagine A HOUSE FOR ZAHA HADID.
We welcome ANY work, ANY size, ANY format. You will need to register before the deadline (the 1st of July, 2016) in order to receive a registration number with which to anonymously identify your work. This tribute to Zaha Hadid is organized by ICARCH Gallery and UAUIM (The University of Architecture and Urbanism "Ion Mincu" in Bucharest, Romania). Besides publishing all the works received on our website, we will also organize a traveling exhibition and we will publish a catalogue with the best projects received. If you have any inquiries, please be kind and write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A HOUSE FOR MARTHA GRAHAM
Friedrich Nietzsche said that he would only believe in a dancing god…
What about a goddess…?!
It is the same thing… gods, or goddesses…
Maybe Zaha Hadid was closer to a dancing architecture… maybe… at least as a desiderata…
And Wolf Prix told us that the future of architecture would be non-gravitational, that buildings in the future would hang from the sky…
Wishful thinking, no doubt.
After all, gravity is our only certitude… this mysterious force, called gravitation, is the one that conditions us, yes, but it is also the one that makes us want to fly.
25 years ago the great American dancer and choreographer Martha Graham died, this “Picasso of Dancing,” as she was called…
How to design A HOUSE FOR MARTHA GRAHAM…?
We reproduce below a beautiful statement from her, one that would encourage any struggling artist, that is, any TRUE artist:
"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open... No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others."
So then, things might not be too difficult: let’s design a house for that vitality, that life force, that energy and that quickening that Martha Graham identified as being the sources of all artistic creation.
Let’s design THE HOUSE OF OPEN CHANNELS.
Design THE HOUSE OF THAT BEAUTIFUL DISSATISFACTION any true artist has, the one that made Louis Kahn say: “The painter doesn’t live because of what he did, but because of what he didn’t do yet.”
Yes, this magnificent struggle, this “childish” desire to endure, the unending elan vital that makes art possible, urgently so, against all odds.
DESIGN THE HOUSE OF DANCE. A DANCING HOUSE. A LOVER AND BETRAYER OF GRAVITY. THE HOUSE OF TANGO, THE SERPENTINE HOUSE THAT FLIRTS WITH DANGER, THE LOVER OF EARTH, THAT VERY EARTH BETRAYED BY EMBRACING THE SKY.
EMBRACE THE SKY, dear architect, DANCINGLY. DANCE WITH MARTHA GRAHAM. DANCE WITH ZAHA HADID, CELEBRATE BOTH.
AND KEEP BELIEVING.
We accept ANY work, ANY size and ANY format that responds to the theme. Please register by July 1st in order to receive a registration number with which to anonymously identify your work. The deadline to submit your work is August 1st, 2016.