Received 14. 02. 2007 21:10 fromfrom
Reversible Destiny Haus
Japanische Künstler haben ein Haus speziell für ältere Menschen entworfen.
Es geht dabei nicht um möglichst viel KOmfort, sondern um das Gegenteil.
Das Haus ist so eingerichtet, daß es seine Bewohner ständig auf Trapp hält.
Dec. 19, 2005 issue - Most people, in choosing a new home, look for
comfort: a serene atmosphere, smooth walls and floors, a logical layout.
Nonsense, says Shusaku Arakawa, a Japanese artist based in New York. He
and his creative partner, poet Madeline Gins, recently unveiled a small
apartment complex in the Tokyo suburb of Mitaka that is anything but
comfortable and calming. "People, particularly old people, shouldn't
relax and sit back to help them decline," he insists. "They should be in
an environment that stimulates their senses and invigorates their lives."
With that in mind, Arakawa and Gins designed a building of nine
apartments known as Reversible Destiny Lofts. Painted in eye-catching
blue, pink, red, yellow and other bright colors, the building resembles
the indoor playgrounds that attract toddlers at fast-food restaurants.
Inside, each apartment features a dining room with a grainy, surfaced
floor that slopes erratically, a sunken kitchen and a study with a
concave floor. Electric switches are located in unexpected places on the
walls so you have to feel around for the right one. A glass door to the
veranda is so small you have to bend to crawl out. You constantly lose
balance and gather yourself up, grab onto a column and occasionally trip
and fall. Even worse, there's no closet space; residents will have to
find a way to live there, since the apartment offers only a few
solutions. "You'll learn to figure it out," says Arakawa. Ten minutes of
stumbling around is enough to send even the healthiest young person over
the edge. Arakawa says that's precisely the point. "[The apartment]
makes you alert and awakens instincts, so you'll live better, longer and
even forever," says the artist.
Completed in October, the apartments are now selling for 3,000
each—about twice as much as a normal apartment in that neighborhood.
Arakawa and Gins have received dozens of inquiries and are now in the
process of showing and interviewing potential buyers. They have a
certain celebrity cachet: Jakucho Setouchi, an 83-year-old popular
author and respected Buddhist nun, bought one on the top floor.
Built by Takenaka Corp., a leading Japanese contractor, the apartments
actually meet every building-code requirement. The artists are not
worried about possible injuries or lawsuits, but make sure each buyer
understands "the concept" of the building before he or she signs the
contract. This isn't the first time Arakawa and Gins have created
seemingly hazardous structures; 10 years ago the pair opened the Site of
Reversible Destiny—Yoro Park, a theme park in Gifu, central Japan. The
popular tourist spot consists of attractions designed to throw people
off balance, made up of warped surfaces and confusing directions.
Visitors often fall—but so far nobody has sued.
Arakawa and Gins hope the Reversible Destiny Lofts will catch on outside
Japan as well. Each unit is made up of large concrete blocks that can be
preassembled, making the Mitaka complex a prototype for mass production.
In fact, Arakawa says, they are in talks with interested parties in
Paris and New Jersey about building similar complexes. Their ultimate
goal: to turn an entire community into a Reversible Destiny town, where
people of all ages live, work, study and play in their unsettling
buildings. "It will be a revolution," says Arakawa. "This will change
the way people live." That is, assuming people don't mind living with
sloping floors and no closets.
© 2007 Newsweek, Inc.
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