Pritzker Architecture Prize-winner—and former Russ Meyer script writer—Rem Koolhaas created 10 years ago one of the most amazing houses on the planet: the Maison à Bordeaux. This house is a wonder of engineering with moving walls, lifting bedrooms, platforms and automated windows designed to allow complete free movements to its owner, a man who has to move on a wheelchair after an almost-fatal car accident. Now, Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine are showing their film Koolhass Houselife across America, a fascinating movie about this living home that seems taken out of a science fiction movie. We talked with Ila about the house and their work around it.
Located in Bordeaux, France, this house is like a space station waiting to be launched into orbit. Looking at it, you would expect the X-Men to walk by at any time. However, it also has a warm, sunny quality that makes it absolutely amazing. Koolhass Houselife is a film that captures these qualities perfectly, but adds another, more practical dimension to it by showing this high-tech home from the perspective of Guadalupe Acedo, the housekeeper and the person who actually has to take care of keeping all this amazing design alive.
Jesús Díaz: I find very interesting that you decided to focus on the live of the house itself, through the life of the housekeeper. What made you take that view?"
Ila Bêka: Koolhaas HouseLife is the first film of a series we are making on contemporary architecture entitled "Living Architectures." The concept of these movies is to develop a look on contemporary architecture that tries to escape from a strong current tendency of idealized representation of our architectural heritage that show us architecture as perfect icons and break the link between architecture and the life which is inside.
The character of the housekeeper, Guadalupe Acedo, embodies in itself this image reversal we are looking for, because during all the film she points out the complex world of daily life, the care and maintenance such a house requires.
JD: What was the main challenge in filming this house, compared to your other architecture pieces?
IB: The three films we have already done are each one exploring a different scale. Koolhaas HouseLife enters in the daily life intimacy of a private house. Pomerol, Herzog & de Meuron talks about a Herzog & de Meuron refectory for grape pickers, and Xmas Meier is a urban investigation of the impact of the Richard Meier's new church in the Tor Tre Teste neighbourhood, in the suburbs of Rome.
But the main intention of the Koolhaas HouseLife project was to "give life" to one of these architectural masterpieces that we can see everywhere without never being able to see them how they "really" are in everyday life.
JD: The concept is great indeed, but also the photography, which is beautiful. What equipment did you use for filming and editing?
IB: For this type of projects we have to be very "light" in order to be almost "forgotten" by the persons we follow in their daily activities. We try to work only in two, one for the camera and one for the sound. The video editing has been made on Final Cut Pro and the sound editing with Logic Studio, with a last generation Mac Pro. [Bêkafilms, Stories of Houses, and Wikipedia via Archidose]