Years ago, around Marrakech, spread out over the arid plains, I saw some fences. From the outside, I could not understand what lay beyond, but I believe that they were lodgings. What could be within those walls? What was life like there? These questions stimulated my imagination for some months. Today, in the project commissioned by occasion of the ‘Wallpaper* architects directory 2009’, I tried to imagine a possible answer. From the palace of Akhenaton to the projects of Mies, history is full of examples of courtyard houses. This mode of living fascinates me because it brings into question the need to define an ‘external’. So, rather than identify itself with its shell, the building finds its true essence within, where the parts of the composition can speak to each other inside the ‘empty heart’ of a patio, creating a dialogue that recalls the cities of a pre-modern Mediterranean.
As if an annual sweep of the world’s most promising young architects wasn’t ambitious enough, for 2009 we’ve decided to add a new twist to the directory. Rather than simply report on the newest firms to flash onto our radar, Wallpaper* has commissioned 30 of the finest young architects to design their ideal home. The concept was to create a practical house for tomorrow; a sustainable, functional and elegant residential prototype adaptable to any plot.
Ellie Stathaki, Johnatan Bell, Wallpaper*, no. 125, p. 78.