Project by Robert Hutchison Architecture with Cory Mattheis, Gabrel Gonzales, & LOCUS
Architect/Conceptual Team: Gabrel Gonzales, Robert Hutchison, Cory Mattheis
Artist/Delineator Team: LOCUS - Violeta Burckhardt, Xavier de la Riva
Limas 15, Colonia Tlacoquemecatl del Valle, Mexico City
Executed August 2015, Demolished September 2015
Violeta Burckhardt, Gabrel Gonzales, Robert Hutchison, Cory Mattheis, Xavier de la Riva
Through installations and conceptual projects, our practice explores the place of narrative and memory in architecture. Our installation ‘Lineamientos’, executed in August of 2015, prolongs the presence of a building’s vacated inhabitants through the celebration of memory.
Inspired by the work of Sol Lewitt, we provided a set of typewritten instructions to an artist team for a physical intervention within a 1960s residence in the south of Mexico City. During our initial visits to the residence, we were struck by the emptiness of the house. Particularly poignant were the innumerable shadows on the walls left by paintings, mirrors, photographs, and other personal belongings that had been very recently removed from the house following the death of the owner. Our detailed set of instructions requested that the artist team document and categorize all of the shadows on the walls, and to redraw them at a reduced scale on a double height wall in the central stair hall of the residence. Each drawing was then to be connected with a single drawn line back to its original shadow.
The artist team had less than two weeks to perform the intervention before the residence was to be demolished to make way for a housing project. Upon completion, we attended the opening and experienced the intervention for the first time. We were overwhelmed by the quality of the drawing, and how the intervention encouraged visitors to explore every room of the house. Yet most startling was how the installation evoked and embodied the memory of the recently deceased owners. The residence was demolished two days later.
In the short interlude between a building’s abandonment and its pending demolition, there exists the opportunity to curb our haste to replace the old with the new, providing a brief moment in which to honor the past.