I’ve been working on a couple of houses for Diller Scofidio +Renfro these past several months, and I know what you’re thinking: DS+R does houses? Well, yes, they do. Or at least, yes, they are doing some right now, even though they haven’t in a long time. Or ever, really.
But it’s funny, because when you think about it, a large part of this firm’s reputation was built off of the success of one particular house project: the Slow House. The original models of the Slow House still sit in various corners of the office, and every student who has gone through architecture school knows that project. And it’s still spoken of fondly in this office, a kind of happy ghost from an early era.
Now, of course, Lincoln Center and the High Line and the other recent (and future) Manhattan-based projects have become the germ from which most of our current projects stem, but these two new houses are a place for some architectural thinking that can only really be done on that scale, with that kind of client and program. And the office’s ideas and aesthetics have changed as well, and the pace and freedom of a small residential project is an exciting place to try out our ideas.
The whole point of this, though, is to point towards a website that I find continually great, and that I keep bumping into whenever I have to squat on an idea for a while: Stories of Houses, by Halldora Arnardottir and Javier Sanchez Marina. I don’t think it is updated anymore, but it’s trove of images of important and provoking houses built in the past is a great resource, and the writing is wonderful.