# 126

# Gehry Residence

Author: Frank Gehry

Year: 1978 Edit Add

Book: Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism

# Gehry Residence

Author: Frank GehryYear: 1978 Edit Add

Book: Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism

#### for if Gehry's house is the meditation on a problem, that problem must initially be a spatial one, or at least be susceptible to formulation and incarnation in properly spatial terms. We have already, in fact, worked up the elements of an account of such a problem: it will somehow involve the incommensurability between the space of the traditional room and tract house and that other space here marked by the corrugated wall and the tumbling cube. To what kind of a problem could this tension and incommensurability correspond? How can we invent a mediation whereby the spatial language in which we describe this purely architectural contradiction can then be rewritten in other nonarchitectural languages and codes?
Macrae-Gibson, as we know, wishes to inscribe the tumbling cube in the tradition of Utopian and mystical modernism, most specifically Malevich, a reading that would oblige us to rewrite the fundamental contradiction in the house as one between traditional American life and modernist Utopianism. Let's look a little more closely:
What looks like a cube could hardly be more deceptive. The surface that is squashed up against the plane of the exterior wall is rectangular rather than square, and the back face of the cube has been pushed sideways and sheared upwards so that no framing member forms a right angle with any other, except in the front plane. As a result, while the panels of glass in the front plane may be rectangular those on all the other faces are all parallelograms. What we can retain from this description is the sense of a space existing in two distinct dimensions at once, in one of which it leads a rectangular existence, while in that other simultaneous and unrelated world it is a parallelogram. There can be no question of linking these worlds, or spaces, or fusing them into some organic synthesis; at best, the peculiar shape dramatizes the impossible task of such representation all the while indicating its impossibility (and thereby perhaps at some curious seconddegree level representing it all at once anyhow).

for if Gehry's house is the meditation on a problem, that problem must initially be a spatial one, or at least be susceptible to formulation and incarnation in properly spatial terms. We have already, in fact, worked up the elements of an account of such a problem: it will somehow involve the incommensurability between the space of the traditional room and tract house and that other space here marked by the corrugated wall and the tumbling cube. To what kind of a problem could this tension and incommensurability correspond? How can we invent a mediation whereby the spatial language in which we describe this purely architectural contradiction can then be rewritten in other nonarchitectural languages and codes?
Macrae-Gibson, as we know, wishes to inscribe the tumbling cube in the tradition of Utopian and mystical modernism, most specifically Malevich, a reading that would oblige us to rewrite the fundamental contradiction in the house as one between traditional American life and modernist Utopianism. Let's look a little more closely:
What looks like a cube could hardly be more deceptive. The surface that is squashed up against the plane of the exterior wall is rectangular rather than square, and the back face of the cube has been pushed sideways and sheared upwards so that no framing member forms a right angle with any other, except in the front plane. As a result, while the panels of glass in the front plane may be rectangular those on all the other faces are all parallelograms. What we can retain from this description is the sense of a space existing in two distinct dimensions at once, in one of which it leads a rectangular existence, while in that other simultaneous and unrelated world it is a parallelogram. There can be no question of linking these worlds, or spaces, or fusing them into some organic synthesis; at best, the peculiar shape dramatizes the impossible task of such representation all the while indicating its impossibility (and thereby perhaps at some curious seconddegree level representing it all at once anyhow).

**Source type:**picture

**Info:**Gehry Residence Santa Monica (the thumbling cube)

**Original size:**2000x1508 px. Edit