Josephine, Strawberry, and Wilson
This Swiss house, known as La Vedette, is the final home of the 19th century French architect Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc during his work on the restoration of the Lausanne Cathedral. The walls are lined with murals of three mountain peaks that are depicted in increasing resolution as they descend toward the floor, until they become deeply textured, nearly real, and finally get cut off by the chair rail. This is not the end of the image, just the limit of the paint in the room. Beneath the chair rail, the room is encircled in a stone base. This is real stone, composed of uneven slabs that seem to have broken out of the flattened image and entered the room as a thin layer of cladding. While the chair rail implies a border, it is an architectural transition: a bond between representation and material reality. Looking up above the mural, we find another such transition. While the chair rail, door trim, and baseboard are all treated in a dark finish, the crown molding is painted in a color that merges with the tone of the sky in the panoramic image. The edge of the room seems to break open and the ceiling joists appear to hover, as they too are painted in matching tones.
Anna Neimark and Andrew Atwood are founders of First Office in downtown Los Angeles. Built projects include a collaboration on the Pinterest office headquarters in San Francisco, a temporary screening room at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles, and some small houses. Their texts have been published widely in Log, Perspecta, Project, and Future Anterior. Their texts have also been compiled in a Graham Foundation book Nine Essays, published with Treatise Press in 2015. That same year, First Office received the Architect’s Newspaper Best of Young Architects prize and became a finalist in MoMA PS1’s Young Architects Program. Neimark is on the faculty at SCI-Arc. Her work focuses on prehistoric stone formations—called dolmens—and other rude stone monuments. Atwood is Assistant Professor at UC Berkeley. His interests center on techniques of representation as historical and conceptual instruments, specifically in the production of architecture and architectural pedagogy.