Endless House (Frederick Kiesler)

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I saw this the other week at the Endless House: Intersections of Art and Architecture exhibition at MOMA.  Among the many models on exhibit, this one, Kiesler’s eponymous Endless House, stood out as the most simple and direct. There are no corners on view in this bio-morphic house. Light is supposed to loop inside. Born in Austria-Hungary, there is something old world and archaic about this place, like out of the Flintstones. The egg form stands on flat stone supports. On Frederick Kiesler’s mid-century “endless house” idea and project of which this is a piece, you can read more here at MOMA:

“Eggs, wombs, and other biomorphic forms abound in the experiments for the Endless House. Jean Arp, having visited the Salle de Superstition, described Kiesler this way: “…his head was full of eggs that he roosted on day and night. He brooded upon one with particular care until the egg of eggs hatched from the egg and overshadowed the gross constructions of our architecture. In his egg, in these spheroid, egg-shaped structures, a human being can now take shelter and live as in his mother’s womb.” Both a psychological and metaphorical reference, the ovoid form, apparent in the 1947 sketch, was also a structural solution: the curved shell created a self-supporting structure with an interior that blurred distinctions between floor, ceiling, and wall to provide a flexible layout. These forms were already in use in his innovative 1924–26 design for an Endless Theater.

Its long creative germination is one of the fascinations of the Endless House. Quickly moving on from the early drawings, over the next decade Kiesler tested diverse means of representing the house, exploring new materials and incorporating ideas from his other projects while liberally borrowing concepts from molecular biology and the field of magnetism to describe it. The current exhibition sets the new acquisition in dialogue with materials from different points along this spiraling, looping design trajectory.”

 

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish though and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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