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House One
House One

Whispering House
Whispering House

Panorama windows in Whispering House, organized using a proportional system based on Euclid’s algorithm
Panorama windows in Whispering House, organized using a proportional system based on Euclid’s algorithm

Visual privacy provided by the curved hallway in the Whispering House
Visual privacy provided by the curved hallway in the Whispering House

Living room of House One with open view of the rhythm of the construction
Living room of House One with open view of the rhythm of the construction

View of the construction from the office space in House One
View of the construction from the office space in House One

Bedroom in House One
Bedroom in House One

House One
House One




PROJECTINDEX
 
DIS-TANCE
Technische Universiteit Eindhoven
ARCHITECTURE

A design for two houses, Whispering House and House One, using Euclid’s algorithm to achieve better and unique design solutions.
House One is 39 metres long and comprises a studio and a nearby guest house. The design focuses on studying the grid generated using Euclidean rhythms in their one-dimensional representation. Measurements of 480, 720, 960 and 1200 mm are combined in a unique modular construction grid. The grid is visually less rigid than most modular construction systems used in the building industry and has greater potential for different combinations. Euclid’s algorithm is used as a means of composing different modular elements in a pattern comparable to a musical beat. The calculation method served as a guideline for modifying the patterns. The algorithm can be used on any other chosen design to proportion the structural grid.
Whispering House is about perceiving distance through different senses. The visual experience is determined by the house’s subdivision into rooms in accordance with the two-dimensional representation of Euclid’s algorithm. The experience of distance can be observed through hearing as well as vision. Reverberations in the main space make the house seem larger and the whispering gallery makes distances seem shorter. This gives every resident a privacy zone so that in a small house the sense of family can be retained for a household of two parents and three or four children while individual members can at the same time enjoy sufficient private space.
Both designs seek to refute the myth of the existence of a perfect proportional system. Formerly it was thought that proportions were a mystical recipe for beauty. At present the idea prevails that the experience of beauty is as much a product of habituation as of roused expectations. We regard a particular ratio, such as the Golden Section, as beautiful because of its mystical charge. We are expected to find it beautiful because we are told that proportion holds the pattern of life. But other proportions can just as easily evoke a sense of beauty. Maybe the presence of a pattern is in itself enough. As a purely logical mathematical system, proportioning refers to a pattern of relationships between different components of a building and can be understood as such. My study into the nature of proportions rejects the idea of proportion as a recipe for beauty. I have redefined proportion as a system. This new attitude to proportions yields a flexible approach to designing new spatial arrangements. There are still an infinite number of such proportional systems to explore. This experimentation with new dimensional systems can result in unique designs, better structural solutions and more flexible modules and can at the same time satisfy our own aesthetic expectations.
My graduation project sounds out the concept of proportion as contained in Euclid’s algorithm. The algorithm is normally used to find the greatest common denominator of two numbers or of two random lengths. It has never been applied in architecture before now. Euclid’s algorithm creates a rhythm that can be spread over a particular distance. Designing on the strength of this new algorithm was an experiment to study the experience and perception of the division brought about by the algorithm. Both houses were designed proceeding from the algorithm, be it each in their own way. Its possibilities are explored by applying it to distances between different elements of the design such as the construction or the function. Consequently each house is a case study of the one- and two-dimensional representations of the same new proportional system: Euclid’s algorithm.