M A D I S O N _G R A Y | deep_SIGHT
 
"Architecture is the world between walls." jef7rey HILDNER
 
 
THE WORLD BETWEEN WALLS
 
"Stories utilize or release certain frameworks that allow us to examine ourselves, ask fundamental questions, and speculate about the meaning of our lives."  Mike Figgis
 
A PURE REFLECTION
 
Alastair Gordon writes of Eileen Gray's wonderful E.1027 House (1926/29) at Cap Martin on the French Riviera that not only was it a "pure reflection of its site. It also became a perfect reflection of Eileen Gray herself, one of the great architectural self-portraits of the century ("blueprint: utopia preserved," House & Garden, September 2001).
 
In one respect the Dante|Telescope House is the same: It is, for better or worse, "a perfect reflection" of jef7rey Hildner (if not also, in many aspects of convergence, of David Zlowe, the owner of the house)—it is Hildner's face in the mirror...in the mirror of thought, as it were. A snapshot of who he was, mentally, during the five years (1992-1996) of its realization. Today, 2001, he is at once the same person and different. Dante|Telescope House represents a foundation of research and point of view. It's still in place. It's home. But he has journeyed out beyond its boundaries to explore other ideas during the past several years. Dante|Telescope House is part of a larger universe of dreams. It represents the beginning of a quest—the threshold to new superstructures that will rise up and push back the limits of thought.
 
"Gray designed several carpets that echoed the themes of the house," Gordon writes, "and she stenciled inscriptions onto walls as if each room were part of a poem. The architecture of E.1027, its furniture, rugs, and inscriptions, were all conceived as a single, integrated expression" (164). Which prompts me to frame the Dante|Telescope House the same way. Of it, too, it could be said:
 
Hildner designed several carpets that echoed the themes of the house, and he wrote inscriptions, glued pages of text, and painted murals on ceilings and walls, inside and outside, as if the house were a book or a painting or an astronomical observatory...as if a book/painting/observatory were a house. As if the house were the world itself between walls. The architecture of Dante|Telescope House, its furniture, rugs, glass, exterior and interior murals, inscriptions, paintings, light fixtures (each of the 9 provides a bookshelf on which rests a book that is is central to the thematic structure of the house), and garden—inscribed with the force-lines of the house—were all conceived as a single, integrated expression.
 
The visual is the subject of Dante|Telescope House. As such, it is an expression of the simultaneous presence of a visible aesthetic system and an invisible ontological conviction. A world of semi-abstraction, engaged in the drama between abstract form and narrative content. It's about art and the poetic dimension of human dwelling. Dante|Telescope House tells a story. And the story is for the heart as much as for the eyes. It's a story about architecture as a device of orientation in the world...geographically and intellectually...visually and emotionally...physically and spiritually.
 
What is a house? "It is the shell of man," said Eileen Gray, "his extension, his release, his spiritual emanation."
 
...his spiritual emanation
...a pure reflection
 
—I think Hildner (jef6.9137rey) would agree.
© 2001|MADISON GRAY
e-mail MadisonGray@thearchitectpainter.com

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