Explanation: Each house-level provides a clue to John Hejduk’s oeuvre and his Diamond House. It will be presented backwards, that is, I begin with Level 5 and as my presentation goes on, I reveal each house, each clue, until I finally reach the Diamond House. The presentation will be in form of a large wooden model, which I will begin to craft tomorrow. Because of the limited space each building can contain, I will be working on the façade as my primary way of expressing the character of the building. The houses will fold open like a book, revealing the inner house as well as the section of the opened house.
Level 0: The Diamond House. The last point in the succession, the child of the buildings that envelope it, born into their heart with the hope of one day giving birth to my project. Like I situate myself in the middle of the Diamond House, the house finds itself in the middle of previous houses. Like later architects, it takes what it needs to make its own identity.
Level 1: The House that is an Art Museum. Overlooked by the looming pictures of the van Doesburgs and the Mondrians, the Diamond House sits opaque on a plinth; it is the only artefact on display, all the others have been stolen. (Modern architecture is of no value, anymore.) The floor is clean; at least the janitor comes everyday to wipe away his own footprints, muddy from the St. Jude storm.
Level 2: The House that is a Church. Statues of angels adorn the path towards the catafalque, by which side the Art Museum has placed itself. To be buried here are the remains of a man who committed suicide by burning himself on a public square in Czechoslovakia, to protest against the invasion of his home country. This event affected the Art Museum deeply; its colours have changed because of it, from bright red and yellow to solemn blue and brown.
Level 3: The House that is a Poetry Slam Evening Festival. The church is put in the middle of the audience, it watches the architects on the stage as they battle it out by presenting their “poetic spaces” to the general public. The words make the space. Four students stand on stages surrounding the audience, reciting their poems. From the gibberish that ensues, one of the students’ voices rise above the others, and shouts out the story of an automated fast-food grill in New York, a clue, like others, to the building within.
Level 4: The House that is a School of Architecture. Endless arrays of laptop screens, with the poetry slam-house stuck in the middle in generic form-explorations of what a computer can do. A jury is on display in the far away corner of the house, the final Dip 9 jury, the one that decides whether you pass the year or not. It is a place of ideas, a good portion of fantasy and crude mistakes we make that are overlooked for the sake of an enthusiastic youth.
Level 5: The House that is a Quarantine. The school of architecture is accused of being infected with the sickness of formalism, hence it must be kept away from the wider built environment. Architecture is not architecture without an idea, an intention, a reading. The Quarantine is located on a field of Highway 42 between Austin and Dallas. In a no-man’s land, a space of transit and movement, it becomes a goal.