Shinkenshiku International design competition: the plan-less house
Client: Japan Architect
Design: Monolab, team: J.W. van Kuilenburg with T. Iwashita, J. Umemura, A. Kret
Year: 2006


…the fourth room


This house goes beyond description. It is an instrument to analyze the characters and behaviors of its residents. Not passively by evoking emotions as an average result of neutral space forms or applied materials, but actively. An assemblage of five totally different elements (four embedded devices that split emotions and a central space that synthesizes emotions) makes it into an advanced and precise instrument for psychic analysis. The house assists the residents in a process of awareness and completion.


A part of a garden is excavated and held with a retaining wall made of local stones. The place is surrounded by, embedded in and subject to nature, animals, trees, plants, sun and climate which makes it into a space for the residents in their emotionally balanced, supernatural state. The house can be built anywhere, the garden will grow with local climate, plants and animals, from rainforest to desert, from prairie to mountain range. The super natural space is located between the four devices that are buried in the surrounding soil.


The four devices are carefully designed assistants to split, fathom, survey and evaluate the four human basic emotions: anger, sorrow, fear and joy. All assistants in this house are fundamental spaces, each one designed and tuned for splitting off one specific emotion through a dedicated space shape, material, color and specific contact with the outside world. As a result of the emotional state in each device, specific parts of the body will make contact with specific parts of the devices. This makes materialization very important. All devices are fit for longer stay, each one holding a small kitchen, sanitary unit and place to sleep. All are fitted with an entry & exit door, which gives the house four entries & exits in total. The anger device is made of a vulnerable (repairable) paper cylinder with three service pockets behind. The sorrow device is a cave of purple polished natural stone with four dimmed sky lights. The fear device is a completely white diffuse space, with rounded corners to avoid any orientation. A big door contains the service modules and mirrors the person at the table in front. The joy device is holding the resident(s) in a white, warm, leather ‘hand’ with a glass top that can jump open: space and garden become one.


The life pattern of the people living in the house can be recorded and/or reminded by the super natural space as they move (sub)consciously from device to device as a result of their emotional status. The residents will be able to analyze their behavior and character with the help of their flow patterns. Every use of the devices, every determination, hesitation, doubt, etc. will be available for analysis. What to think of entering through the fear device, inviting friends to have diner in the anger device, then drink a cup of tea in the fear device after a phone call of a relative, read a thriller at night in the sorrow device and sleep in the joy device…?