While in Ithaca photographing a house, my client suggested that I visit Simon Unger's Cube House. Sounded very interesting, I looked up the house and found beautiful photographs of a simplistic cube, nicely set in the landscape. I made my way to the house only to find questions.
Cube House, completed just 13 years earlier, had failed. It wasn't this simple cube nicely set in the landscape. It was a simple cube, a shed, and junk tossed about it's yard.
What happened? Did Ungers fail in his design process? Did he ignore his client's program? Did the client not speak up? Perhaps the house was perfect for 12 years and recently storage needs changed. Why isn't the shed designed to complement the cube? Is it simply ok the way it is? Should Ungers have planned for a future need like this? I'm not architect, I wasn't involved in the process and there are an infinite number of possibilities. I was left with only questions.
An architect is lucky to get something like this built, the photographer is over joyed to photograph it, and the media is happy to call it good design. Then, it seems we all move on to the next thing — forever cementing this ideal picture in our minds. All while the clients struggle to maintain this ideal.
We're quick to praise completed work, always happy to give each other awards, and faster to condemn design solely on renderings. With architecture, I think we miss a major portion of the story.
After the postcard image, how successful is it for the client?