The PLUShouse is close to completion - the interior is painted; tile work and a portion of the casework installed, and exterior finishes complete. There is a striking contrast between the exterior stucco, the color of homemade crème fraiche, and the dark bronze roof and window and door frames. The radiant concrete floors are Sarlat-gold, the color of the earth that the house is sitting on, and the interior stairs and casework, built from fumed larch, are a rich bittersweet chocolate with stripes of butterscotch. The form of the house is organic. A sculptural piece awaiting construction of a living fence, glass and steel entry bridge, interior concrete ramp with associated casework, etched glass entry panels (to be installed in the location of the plywood, seen in the image below), and other finish items. A big moment will be when the grand piano is delivered and played– a true test of acoustical performance, a criteria instrumental in the design of the house.
Building a house is a narrative, a linked set of events. You begin by excavating earth, pouring a foundation, erecting a skeletal structure on top of the foundation, (the framing), and then gradually closing in the structure with plywood, water proof paper, windows, doors, roofing, rough plumbing and electric, insulation, exterior siding, sheet rock and paint. It is a process whereby raw building materials ultimately disappear - the fluidity of the concrete pour becomes a hard impenetrable surface, the framing disappears behind sheet rock, plumbing lines become invisible and the apparent jungle of electric wiring yields to well-placed light fixtures and electric switches (or, in the case of the PLUShouse, a few recessed niches in the wall where an iPad can be magnetically secured, and from the iPod all electric functions are controlled).
|pouring the concrete floor, installing control joints|
|finished concrete floor with Sarlat-gold integral color|
|critical dimensions being worked out in field|
|full sized drawing working out window sill detail|
These silent drawings inside the walls document a process but leave no trace. It is the reverse of pentimento, where a previous alteration in a painting is later revealed. It also has tones of palimpsest, where an object made or worked upon for one purpose is later used for another.
both faces were originally higher
her eyes looked more to the front
each of his feet was underdrawn in one position
painted in another position
overpainted in a third position
|palimpset - wall as canvas|
Surrey Hill, Sydney, Australia
Another disappearing act which occurs during construction is the unconscious emergence of 'construction art'. These constructs are visible evidence of a process, and are always accidental. For instance, a pattern that is revealed after installing a finish on a product.
|pattern left on plywood after spray painting|
ceiling vents to match ceiling paint color
|pattern remaining on cloth after spray painting |
light fixture trim pieces to match ceiling paint color
I love these lost images. They are an essential part of the story, and are integral to the beauty of building.