PROSTHESIS, TECHNOLOGY AND TRAUMA IN THE MACHINIST FETISHES OF OMA'S VILLA AT BORDEAUX
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The paper will look at the historical notion of prosthesis through an analysis of Rem Koolhaas’s 1998 House at Floirac where technology becomes the literal and spiritual generator of the space mediating, through architecture, the uneasy collision between the body and the machine. Organised around a centralised passenger lift for the wheelchair bound owner of the house, and enveloped by the associated family spaces, the house is a highly calibrated architectural object which supplements the body and its internal desires, while at the same time being dependent upon it for its programmatic completion. In the House at Floirac technology is problematised as competing internal and external programmes which a spatial conversation between the sky and ground. The paper will explore the themes embedded in the spatial programme of the House at Floirac by connecting it with the broader theoretical speculations of OMA and a cultural history of prosthetics. Read as an extension of Koolhaas’s gendered observations of the architecture of Manhattan, and eroticised speculations in “Strategy of the Void”, the House at Floirac is evidence of a much deeper strand in OMA’s work through which technology and the body are entwined.
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