Koolhaas Houselife (2013)
A Bêka & Lemoine Film.
Run Time: 58 minutes.
Language: French (English Subtitles)
“Heartfelt, thought-provoking and hilariously funny” – New York Times
In Koolhaas Houselife, the act of cleaning becomes an essential form of preservation, a daily ritual by housekeeper Guadalupe Acedo that rejuvenates OMA’s famed Maison à Bordeaux (1998) by architect Rem Koolhaas of OMA.
By shifting the dominant ideology of architectural representation in media, filmmakers Beka & Lemoine move beyond the superficial celebration of flawless architectural objects and instead embrace the messy and authentic reality of an iconic building that is also a home.
Through the portrayal of this extraordinary private residence, the film highlights the difficulties inherent in its upkeep, uncovering the peculiar demands imposed on the housekeeper by the architecture itself, often resulting in comical and absurd situations. The film finds its poignancy and humour in these characters and their interactions, emphasising the immense physical effort, time and care necessary for cleanliness.
Whilst still affirming the architecture’s iconic status, it also hints at the indispensable and ongoing private transformation needed to ensure the endurance of its iconic image. By capturing and shaping the performative aspects of architecture through cleaning, Koolhaas Houselife offers a unique and compelling exploration of the hidden, stories and contingencies within our built environments.
Following the film there will be a panel discussion with Dr Karen Burns and Foundation volunteer Corinna Orsteg convened by Yaseera Moosa. This DADo panel will use Koolhaas Houselife as a jumping-off point for a rich discussion around the ritual acts of care and maintenance inherent in the preservation and longevity of architecture.
Expect a meandering discussion, from historical and academic perspectives to personal insights into the continual maintenance of Walsh Street enabled by the Foundation’s generous and caring volunteers.
Dr Karen Burns is an architectural historian and theorist based at the Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne. She is a co-founder of Parlour. Her research projects include the new foreword to Matrix, Making Space: Women and the Man-Made Environment (Verso Classics Reprint). She is co-editor of the forthcoming The Bloomsbury Global Encyclopedia of Women in Architecture 1960-2015. (2024).
Yaseera Moosa is an Architecture Graduate living in Naarm. She works as a photographer, writer, and tutor, as well as working in practice at Clare Cousins Architects. She is interested in the ways architecture spatialises the political, and how thinking through objects, buildings and landscapes might reveal hidden or excluded narratives.
Corinna Orsteg, Robin Boyd Foundation volunteer.
Evenings with DADo offer an intimate commingling of film and conversation both large and small, centred around diverse historical and contemporary stories of architecture, design, landscape and urbanism. Feature-length films, documentaries, shorts and animations all find a home in Robin Boyd’s living room at ‘Walsh Street’, the social, energetic hub of the Robin Boyd Foundation. Guest speakers contribute unique perspectives on the various film subjects, kicking off the living room conversation in a home which decidedly sought to reject convention.
DADo’s 2023 program is presented by Thandi Paterson, Rebecca Roke and Andrew MacKinnon.
Image: Ila Bêka / Louise Lemoine