Saturday, August 13, 2011

House VI

House VI, or the Frank Residence, is a significant building designed by Peter Eisenman, completed in 1975. His second built work, the getaway house, located on Great Hollow Road near Bird's Eye Brook in Cornwall, Connecticut (across from Mohawk Mountain Ski Area) has become famous for both its revolutionary definition of a house as much as for the physical problems of design and difficulty of use. At the time of construction, the architect was known almost exclusively as a theorist and "paper architect," promulgating a highly formalist approach to architecture he calls "postfunctionalism." Rather than form following function or an aesthetic design, the design emerged from a conceptual process, and remains pinned to that conceptual framework.
Photo not by me
Animated Model of Eisenman House VI

Finding this place was a challenge.  I targeted it back from the road about .5 km on an unpaved driveway near, but not directly across from, Mohawk Ski Area.  I parked in a driveway that had two exits for a quick look.  Walked up to the driveway and saw a vehicle next to the house.  I walked halfway to the house, took a picture, and started walking back and I heard a dog.  The resident (perhaps Ms. Frank) had unleashed her terrier on me.  I ignored it and kept on walking back and made a right turn to see if I could get inside the adjacent field for a better view.  No go.  It occurred to me at that point that this was not a visitor oriented place and I needed to leave promptly.  So, I briskly walked down the road to the car, past the dog and driveway, and took off.  
Photo not by me
Strangely, this situation reminded me of the Smithson Pavilion House, way off the beaten path.  Eisenman's work is perhaps even more obscure as a destination for a pilgrim.  

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