REPLICA – Housing Project | Poland

This work is the architectural com­mentary of the existing architecturally-formed claim. Philip Jonson, in his New Canon house, artic­ulated a socio-critical thesis and represented it through his work: Public Persona is open – Private Persona is concealed.

The methodology that has led to such a conceptual representation of the idea is clear: If archi­tecture is conceptualized to its simplest logically-aesthetic units, and if the basic logic element is completely refined, all further complications can be read from this element. The realization of these theoretical elements is achieved in the following way:

a) public rooms are made of glass and open to the environment (second level in New Canon house)

b) private rooms are made of con­crete and enclosed to the environment (first level in New Canon house)

We hold that Jonson’s methodology is completely right into important points:

First, in rethinking private-public relations and second, in the idea of taking simplicity as a potential carrier of pol­ysemic meanings. However, the problem arises in selecting the exponents/exemplars of this idea. Spatially grouped units (public on one and private rooms on the other side) are (in the constitu­tive sense) to general notions and no fundamental concept can be derived from them. This, of course, stands if we want this concept to be able to connote high complexity within itself (second point of Jonson’s methodology). In fact, Jonson’s problem is the problem of non-recognition of nu­ances between which there are different semantic properties.

If we want to name this problem a mistake, then we have to distance ourselves and say that this error exists today, but not during Jonson’s time. We say this for one basic pragmatic reason. The exterior walls of the functionally grouped rooms (again, public and private) are not any more in­volved in broadcasting or hiding our intimacy and individuality.

Completely marginalized interior dividing walls are now in charge of defining the borders of our intimacy, half-intimacy and public persona. The distribution of these walls in the syntax structure of the house limits the boundaries of our, conditionally speaking, “free” behaviour. This way of dissociation from other people (especially people from our own family) exponentially grows with the increase in the urbanity of the environment in which we live.

“Time for yourself” or “personal time” does not mean going to sacral and contemplative space any­ more. This is now a retreat into a physical space which is a prolonged intimate persona. On the other hand, as we turn more to nature, the need for these types of separation disappears. The primal instinct or Russell’s primordial pleasure brings us together and invoked group activ­ities as opposed to group stagnation. With increasing global urbanization, the human spirit is in a constant sense of deprivation of integrally natural stimuli. This kind of explication of one of the characteristics of modern civilization (alienation) is one of the strongest indirect suggestions for returning to natural beauty.