Vacation House


Year: 2017
Project Team: Emily Mohr, Jonathan Rieke

We were invited by the A+D Museum to participate in the “architecture, architectural & Architecture” exhibition in which participants were asked to submit a text, object & image that each corresponded to one of the eponymous terms of the exhibition. Rather than re-purpose work we had already done to fit the exhibition brief, we used the exhibition as an opportunity to create three new artifacts. The text that accompanied these artifacts follows:


With few exceptions, paradigmatic moments in architectural history, theory and practice can be indexed with a few examples taken from a single building type: the villa. Both a historic seat of feudal power, and a contemporary lifestyle accessory of the upper class, the villa and the vacation house are the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of the discipline. If such iconic clients as Eugénie and Emile Savoye or Dr. Edith Farnsworth had not decided to retire to the countryside, architectural history would have taken an entirely different course. Experimental architecture is made possible by wealthy clients on remote, rural sites.

Given this scenario, there aren’t many serious problems to solve when dealing with the vacation house, other than architectural ones.  Rather than bemoan this scenario, however, we embrace the possibilities of such a bloated project. We think the vacation house is the most architectural project there is: superfluous, unnecessary, and, because of this, unconstrained from the characteristic responsibilities of work-week architecture (gravitas and firmitas). The vacation house is architecture that is working for the weekend: venustas architecture.