A Delicious Deconstruction
Architecture writers love to look to the culinary arts for linguistic stylings and trends, and I say if the slippah fits, wear it. Just think back to your favorite season of Top Chef: Deconstructed this, Redux that, Sous Vide something or other, Eggy suspensions etc. Cut to Erin Moore's "Outside House" - not necessarily something edible, but something no less tasty! While we may fault culinary trends as fleeting fads, (grape flavoured potato chips?) good architecture transcends fashion and digs deep into the core of a human's primal sheltering instincts. These programmed inclinations live under the surface of conscious thought and really are the arbiters of bodily happiness. Translation please Liam! - What I mean is that even if you know nothing about architecture, some rooms and houses make you feel delighted, and others make you feel lost and uneasy. What's happening is that this subconscious "Top Chef Judge" is critiquing the space and signaling the limbic body to either calmed delight or itchy despair.
Hawaii as the perfect Architecture Laboratory
Since Hawai'i's climate is so moderate and so even, it makes for a perfect architecture laboratory where we can workshop space ideas in a simple form without much consideration as to heavy duty insulation against extreme cold or heat. It offers us a chance to focus on a simplified response to these primal human concerns. Here's where Erin Moore's Outside House (Kipuka Makai) and its flavor of "Architectural Deconstruction" excel. When one is smitten with a lover as I have long been with Maui's natural seductions, anything resembling a conventional "house" tends to be an annoying parent obstructing the romantic process:
"What are you two doing out there? Time to stop playing and get inside to do your homework!"
"Turn that music off! Your room is a mess! No more TV until you tidy your room" etc.
The conventional house, while perfectly useful and desirable in other planetary locations, becomes an awkward foreigner when it is plunked onto Maui's sensual skin - desperately asking you for directions in a language you cannot understand. No abundance of granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and endless square footage can come close to the joy of sitting on a small lanai with a tin roof in a misted tropical rainfall, chatting to a steaming pot of tea - petulant banana leaves waving for your attention, and a suspicious chicken peering at you from behind a rusty wheelbarrow. It is spacetimes like these that cause us to wonder if we haven't been delivered by a high speed dream into the heaven realms.
What is a Deconstructed House?
In its simplest form, deconstruction is a "taking apart" of elements. The Outside House takes apart the idea of one structure and becomes 2 pavilions each with a distinct purpose. The first, a sleeping, meditation space with a window to the morning sun, and an enclosed cozy safe wooden interior is the introvert. The second pavilion is a covered deck with angled open air kitchen and shower facility - the extrovert. Built to minimize any disturbance on the land, the structures were designed to be delicately attached - each only touching the ground in four places - allowing for easy removal and dis-assembly if needed. The space between the pavilions is the virtual hallway - the garden, the forced rendezvous with our dear Maui's volcanic skin.
Recipe for a Deconstructed Maui House
1. Take a small house and divide into parts - set aside.
2. Gently fold in some landscape. (organic is best if possible)
3. Plate everything at an angle taking advantage of the view
4. Garnish with red Ti, Lava Rock Salt, and any native plants you have in the fridge.
Serve immediately but know that this dish will last for approximately 80 years give or take. At meals like this, it's helpful to ask your guests to turn off their phones so that they can enjoy the subtle flavors of this meal without interruption. More pictures and details at Dwell.com's article. More about Erin Here.
Photography by Olivier Koning - See more of his work at http://www.olivierkoning.com