Strange Harvest
Architecture / Design / Art
StrangeHarvest is written and collated by Sam Jacob.


Re-Make Re-Model



kensington_facade.jpg

The stucco façade of a 12 million GBP house in Kensington, London is to be rebuilt - with the cracks and chips of the original.

The redevelopment by Swedish property magnate Gerard Versteegh planned to preserve the façade in the classic gut-and-fill manner.

He was then granted permission to knock it down on condition that he build an exact replica.

"The house will look exactly as it did when it was built," said Mr Versteegh, "and you end up with a better property in terms of building quality"

A spokesman for the council said: "Recreating a façade that is an exact copy of the previous one will not affect this conservation area".

Behind this new-old elevation Mr Versteegh will install the usual programme of a millionaire's mansion - a basement with cinema, swimming pool, games room, laundry, wine cellar and aquarium plus two staff bedrooms. On the first floor, Mr. Versteegh and his wife Camilla will each have a dressing room and bathroom, as will the guest room. On the second floor, there will be three children's bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms. The attic will feature a large playroom and the house will also have a library, study and several reception rooms. A grand spiral staircase will run up through the building. At the end of the 70ft garden will be a garage with room for several cars and a gym underneath.
The idea of rebuilding something imperfect is both beautiful and perverse. Even thinking about someone carefully crafting a crack, or sculpting a chip sends shivers down my spine. Perhaps they will paint on some staining, or faux-rust some railings, or crack and then badly repair a roof slate completely intentionally.

The notion that it might improve the quality of the building is also interesting. What if all that stucco was carved out a single block of marble? Or mahogany? Or perhaps cast in bronze? Or glass? Or ice?

With some imagination, the act of remaking the façade could become a means of dialogue between the physical form of the façade, the passing of time, changes in value or use and so on.

This kind of remaking is reminiscent of Gus van Sants verbatim-remake of Physco from Hitchcock's shooting script, replicating the camera moves, lighting and so on with colour film and different actors. In this re-make the act of re-making becomes visible. For example, Hitchcock's significant original shot of Anthony Perkins Adams apple wobbling becomes entirely redundant as Vince Vaughn, reprising the role, had a far less pronounced throat-based-secondary sexual characteristic.

Architectural remakes introduce the same kind of puzzling redundancy: Tudor mansions in Beverly Hills have roofs and windows for English winters.

That idea that the re-make might capture a particular stage in a buildings decay is also intriguing, The building might not revert to its 'original' just-built state - as is usual in cleaning or refurbishment. For example, the newly cleaned, gleaming white St Paul's looks as close as is possible to the day its construction was completed in 1708. An alternative to its current cleanliness could be an era-specific re-dirting - perhaps to match its famous Blitz image amongst the smoke of burning London.

I'm reminded of a project where our contractor was more used to building stage sets and theme parks than buildings. Looking through the drawings, he asked us 'how old would you like this wood to be?' - a question which confounded us at the time, more used to queries over how to fix one thing to another.



Posted by anothersam at July 26, 2007 5:32 PM.

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Contents:

More Scenes In Cartoon Deserta

Eiffel X-Rays

Beyond: Values and Symptoms

Sub Plan

Shenzhen: Window of the World

White Power

Generic Powerpoint Template: Delivering Bad News

Duplicate Array

The Best New Building In London

Book Review: The Infrastructural City

A Balloon in the Pantheon

Letters From The Pantheon

Henry Moore in Motion

On My Steel Horse I Ride

The Michael Jackson Monument Design Competition

Now Showing: John Baldessari Sings Sol LeWitt

Obscure Design Typologies: Life Guard Chairs

Osama bin Laden Cigarette Lighter: Novelty Products as Congealed Culture

Absurd Car Crashes: A Eulogy for J.G. Ballard

Candy Pistol

Now Showing: Dan Grahams 'Rock My Religion'

This Concrete 'O': On Serotonin, the M25, and the Motorik Picturesque

Church of the Literal Narrative

Philadelphias Floating Architecture

Now Viewing: Married To The Eiffel Tower

Le Corbusiers Image Hoard: Poeme Electronique

Giant American Signs: Original Learning from Las Vegas Footage

Giant Soviet Signs Cut Into Forests

Bricks Melted Into Icicles: Napalm Decorative

C-Labs 'Unfriendly Skies' & 'Bootleg' Volume

2 The Lighthouse: Self Storage & Architectural Hallucinations

Ceci N'Est Pas Une Pipe: Infrastructure as Architectural Subconcious.

Viva Sectional Cinematography!

Now Showing: The Installation of an Irreversible Axis on a Dynamic Timeline

Plug: Junk Jet

Sim Seasons Greetings! The Rise of Neo-Winter

Geography in Bad, Festive Drag.

The Ruins of the Future

High Tech As Steampunk ...

On The Retro Infrastructural

Simulations of Industry: High Tech Architecture and Thatcherism

David Greene: The Big Nothing

From The Factory to the Allotment: Tony Wilson, Urbanist

Koolhaas HouseLife / Gan Eden: The Revenge of Architectural Media

Ruburb-ric: The Ecologies of the Farnsworth House

The Architecture of Divorce

Flagrant Delit: The Movie

Landscape as Clothing

Telly Savalas Looks At Birmingham Redux

Acts of Un-Building: Timelapse Demolitions

Yard Filth: Next Years Hot Look

Stonehenge: A Black Hole At The Heart Of British Architecture

The Popemobile: Mechanised Robes & Motorised Architecture

Tarmac Adam, Tarmac Eden

The Secret Language of Surface

Some Housekeeping

Information Fields: Agriculture as Media

My Bloody Valentine: Sound as Substance

A Cubist Copse: Gehrys Serpentine Pavilion

Olympic Model Protest

Spouting Off: Some Thoughts On The Fountainhead

Form Follows Dysfunction: Bad Construction & The Morality of Detail

Floating Homes

Vintage Tradeshow Surrealism: International Grune Woche

Moving Houses: Buildings In Motion

Desktop Study: The Strange World of Sports Studio Design

Married to the Eiffel Tower: More Objectum Sexuals

60 Years of The Crazy Horse Memorial

Married to the Berlin Wall: "The Best and Sexiest Wall Ever Existed!"

Inflatable Icebergs: Sublimated Guilt Has Never Been So Fun

The Cinderella Effect: Phantom Architectures of Illumination

Two Deaths and a Retirement: The Strange Shape of British Architecture

If London Were Like New York: Antique Schizo-Manhattanism

If London Were Like Venice: Antique Geo-Poetic Speculations and Hydro-Fantasy

41 Hours in an Elevator: The Movie

NASA: Mapping the Moon with Sport

Lemon Squeezy: Design Tendencies after the Juicy Salif

Stadium Seat Mosaics

The Nihilistic Beauty of Weapons Arranged in Patterns

Light Vessel Automata

Dogs: Britains Greatest Design Obsession

Madison Avenue Modern

Detroit Sucks: The Motor Shows Last Gasp

Mies' Grave: Cut Out Model

All You Can Eat

Valentine Machine

The Tools of Re-Geography

Floating in a New Town Sky

Authentic Replicas: Football and the Franchising of Place

Folk Football: Landscape, Space and Abstraction

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A Wishing Well with a Fat Up Pipe

The Camoufluers and the Day-Glo Battleship

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Form Follows Felony: The Secret Home of the Un-Dead Canoeist.

Architectural Magazines: Paranoid Beliefs, Public Autotheraphy - More on Clip/Stamp/Fold

Little Magazines Seen Today

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The Ghost of Christmas Futurism

Petrified War Machine

Military Deceptions

Chapters for an Imaginary Book About Architecture

Shrouded Plinth - Urban Striptease

In the Night Garden - Surreal Landscape of Nostalgia

Kim Jong II, The Great Architect

Pill Box Picturesque

Un Clear Monument

Place Faking: Instant Heritage for the Thames Gateway

The Marc Bolan Memorial Crash Barrier.

Warped Domesticity

The Nuclear Heritage Coast

Enjoy The Silence: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones

The Story of O (2)

Telly Savalas Looks At Birmingham

X100: A Design Exercise

How to Plan A New Town

Carpet Bomber

In Search of Britains Vehicular History

Scenes in Cartoon Deserta

Scary Suburbanism: Why Horror is at Home in the Suburbs

Re-Make Re-Model

I Like Your Manifesto, Lets Put it to the Test-o

How to Become a Famous Architect

Northampton - Sci-fi Pop Planning Promotion

Advertising Central Milton Keynes

Baltic Exchanged

Festival of Nostalgia

The Clapham Trainwash

Airports as Music

Test Card Dummies

The Velvet Underground at the Glass House

Duplikate: Kate Moss on the Production Line of Individuality

The Museum that Ate Itself

Hollow Inside: Starbucks Foam and the Rise of Ambiguous Materials

Revisions to the Architecture of Hell

Crufts: Dogs, Design and Aesthetic Genetics

Eos Airlines: Executive Bubbles over the Atlantic

London's Ugliest Buildings

1.51 Miles Of String

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Kiruna: The Town That Moved

Spray On Magnetic Defense

Chris Cornish: Prototyping History

The Jubilee Gestalt Vase

The Most Visited Location in the UK

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'Its beauty will know no season'

2000 Years of Non Stop Nostalgia. Or How Half Timbering Made Me Whole Again.

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Jeff Koons, Rem Koolhaas, Hans Ulrich Obrist at the Serpentine

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Imperfect Pitch - Football, Space and Landscape

Product Placement: Making the Impossible Possible

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Useless Proclamations for a Beautiful City

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Harvest III: Buried Things

The Harvest II

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Estuary Urbanism

The Royal Families Trees

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The Psychotic Utopia of the Suburbs and the Suburbanisation of War.

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Mach 3 Nitro Gel - Design that's foaming at the mouth.

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Russian Rok

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Dinner in the Iguanadon

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Leg Table Leg

Florentine Building Sites

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Football Pitch: Best of British

The Sad Photographer

The First Cut is the Cheapest - Blenheim Palace: pop architecture that goes for the jugular

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Holiday Snap: Canadian War Memorial, Vimy, France

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Its All About the Big Benjamins

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The Queen Machine

The Knork

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The Ketchup Conumdrum

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Municipal Mummification

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Half Timbered Van

Feltham Future

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The Pop Vernacular

Design by Chefs

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Archigrams Pastoral Futurism

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Everything Counts - The Sound of Geography Collapsing.

Carlton Terrace Extension

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