But is it Still Architecture?


[image via inhabitat]

The Sliding House is a dynamic new country retreat rural England designed by London-based office dRMM. We could talk about the vernacular references or the simple concept—linear building was split into three main components—but who’s really going to notice that stuff when the eponymous distinguishing feature is so damn flashy: A 20 ton sliding wood-sided sleeve. Powered by four small motors embedded in the wall, the autonomous structure surrounds what is essentially a glass farmhouse and offers its residents mutable spaces and light conditions. But what happens when the motors fail? To paraphrase a friend of mine – is it still architecture?

[Wallpaper’s recently updated video page has a feature on the building that shows sliding shell in all its glory]

In the case of the sliding house, I think the answer is yes…but just barely. This assumes, of course, that should the engines fail (the engines of your home – what a concept!), the owners aren’t locked in; held prisoner in their own home as all exits are blocked by that cool sleeve that got their house on all the architecture blogs. It’s like a less-funny, reverse Bunny Lane House with unnecessary motorization.

Somewhat more inventorish are the gizmos in Tom Kundig’s houses. Less architectural than the operable component of the Sliding House, Kundig’s mechanical features are more like “extras.” They complement the architecture; the design doesn’t rely on the novelty of gadgety movement:

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