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Deciding to sell, but not die.
July 10, 2009 1:48 PM   Subscribe

Champions of Reversible Destiny, architects Arakawa + Gins believe that people die because they're too comfortable. Having lost their life savings through Bernie Madoff, their bewildering East Hampton Bioscleave house - and, presumably, immortality - can now be yours for only $4million. [via the always awesome It's lovely! I'll take it!]
posted by Beautiful Screaming Lady (57 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
It looks like Pee-Wee's Playhouse puked all over it.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:51 PM on July 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Huh. Does Google need a new office in the Hamptons? That's is some crazy primary coloured stuff there.
posted by GuyZero at 1:52 PM on July 10, 2009


Oh god how I would have loved that as a kid. It's not what I'd choose to have now, but I can still see why someone would love it.
posted by yoink at 1:54 PM on July 10, 2009


Their book MAKING DYING ILLEGAL, while interesting, has the design aesthetic of a high-brow 4chan thread or perhaps Something Awful. I mean, A Grapes of Wrath/Osama bin laden mashup? Really?? Or maybe these are just cover ideas that got discarded for a good reason.
posted by GuyZero at 1:57 PM on July 10, 2009


That would be hell to vacuum.
posted by Floydd at 1:58 PM on July 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Reminds me of Hundertwasser-style architecture.

I nearly broke my left foot on the "undulating ground" in Hundertwasser Alley, so I'm not huge fan.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:59 PM on July 10, 2009


That house is fucking ugly.
posted by Saxon Kane at 2:04 PM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, I get it. The land is 4.5 million and it would cost 500K to demolish the place and start over.
posted by billysumday at 2:05 PM on July 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


1. Bumpy floors
2. Primary colors
3. ???
4. Live forever!
posted by echo target at 2:07 PM on July 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Is that a shipping container house?
posted by IanMorr at 2:07 PM on July 10, 2009


Right, because when you're old, what you really need are undulating, bump-covered floors.
posted by jquinby at 2:08 PM on July 10, 2009


Hey, a foam rubber room with a kitchen! What a great idea!

...boing...boing...

"Whee!"

...boing...boing...

"Yay!"

...boing...boing...

"OHMYGOD THE STOVE THE STOVE FIRE OHGODITBURNS! GAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaa.....

boing.
posted by MrVisible at 2:12 PM on July 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


I lived in a house for many years which was an art installation. Each room was a canvas. I turned the wall in the living room into a fifteen foot long and ten foot tall zither (it would have been a harp but we decided cutting the middle of the wall out would have hurt the structural integrity of the house). One of the rooms was tiled with undulating broken ceramics. Someone even added a fork, with the tines sticking up. There were various theories about the potential malice of the positioning of the mosaic, given a housemate's ex girlfriend who liked to go barefoot and lived on the far end of the room, and his (at the time) current girlfriend who was tiling the floor.
posted by idiopath at 2:18 PM on July 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ugly to many, but a labor of love and joy that they have to abandon. Sad.
posted by kathrineg at 2:25 PM on July 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


If I were rich, this is definitely the kind of thing I'd buy. (Not as a main house, that would be insane. Just a place to visit now and then.)
posted by jcruelty at 2:28 PM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


architects Arakawa + Gins believe that people die because they're too comfortable

They do not actually believe this, right?
posted by adamdschneider at 2:28 PM on July 10, 2009


They do not actually believe this, right?

They built a house betting they were right, so yeah I think they do. I've seen this house before, I think it was the NY Times.
posted by fiercekitten at 2:37 PM on July 10, 2009


I knew that seemed familiar. They've also built some lofts in Japan based on their theories.
posted by marylynn at 2:40 PM on July 10, 2009


I get it: It feels like it's taking forever for death to come.
posted by longsleeves at 2:47 PM on July 10, 2009


Apparently, the couple has yet to meet Hob Gadling. According to him, people only die because they think they have to. Nothing about legalities, it's just a personal choice, really.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:56 PM on July 10, 2009


As the Republicans tell us, poor people are far too comfortable. So perhaps increased mortality amongst poor people is due to this very fact.
posted by XMLicious at 2:57 PM on July 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Somewhere around photo eight or nine, I realized that I want to buy it and paint the entire thing an industrial steel grey.

Everything. The floors, the ceilings, the benches, the counter-tops. All of it. All the same color. Then I'd invite people over just to watch them try to navigate around all the while wondering what the hell was wrong with me.
posted by quin at 2:59 PM on July 10, 2009


Photo #12, which is apparently of a bathroom, confuses me.
posted by gurple at 3:02 PM on July 10, 2009


What's with all this cynicism about this? It's awesome.

The boredom + complacency = death equation is not so far off the mark. If, as you age, you also let yourself get lazy and complacent, if you don't use the muscles god gave you, then your world gets smaller and smaller, and those muscles give out. The whole scope of your existence contracts. Reversible Destiny is meant to be an antidote, something that encourages variety and openness to the unexpected in the lives of its inhabitants. A physical and psychological remedy for people who don't have serious physical disabilities, but live their lives as though they did.
posted by avianism at 3:08 PM on July 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'd rather die than live there.

That's the joke, right?
posted by pokermonk at 3:09 PM on July 10, 2009


Things appeared to be going well for the couple before Mr. Madoff's arrest in December. . . . The lofts, finished in 2005, cost about $6 million to build. Five of the nine lofts, which rent for $1,700 to $2,300 a month, have tenants.

So, four years after construction, 45% of the lofts remain empty?

In what way does this mean that "things appeared to be going well for the couple"?
posted by Gordion Knott at 3:15 PM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


As conceptual artists they can say things like "we're building houses to make people immortal" with a completely straight face and not really believe it, but rather provoke discussion and deeper thought while making something weird and cool.

Which is to say, I guess, that shallow, functional criticism of the house two artists built for themselves looks pretty silly.
posted by donblood at 3:28 PM on July 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Maybe they're on to something. After all, Danny Bonaduce's still alive somehow; maybe it was that bus.

(To be honest, a lot of those interiors are heaps better than the chromophobic checkerboard stuff churned out by those awful Scottish fellows on the TV, or that high-class beigery of Sarah "everything goes with taupe" Richardson. I guess what I'm saying is that Arakawa & Gins could probably build a successful career in Canada.)
posted by Sys Rq at 3:31 PM on July 10, 2009


Also I don't know if it's appropriate for the elderly, but bounding across an undulating floor and swinging around a pole in order to sit down for dinner sounds like a lot of fun.
posted by donblood at 3:45 PM on July 10, 2009


Architectural Style: Contemporary
Really? With what?
posted by Flunkie at 3:53 PM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


they must have really thanked god for bernie madoff, being rich and comfortable almost certainly would have killed them sooner rather than later... now they have a whole new lease on life. they should give away the house and live forever.
posted by geos at 4:32 PM on July 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


The only good that could ever come from that house is if they decided to host Burning Man on the property and finished it off by burning it to the ground.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:43 PM on July 10, 2009


Metafilter taste is usually predictable but every so often swings in weird directions. The responses in this thread are pretty much exactly what I'd expect if this house appeared on FARK--except without the photoshops. I guess it's the Madoff association--people's "fuckin' rich people" response is overriding their "wow, that's wacky-but-cool" response.

Given that their whole aesthetic/ergonomic principle is founded on making a space that is deliberately challenging, it seems really odd to to see all these "haw haw, the floors aren't even level!!!" responses.
posted by yoink at 5:20 PM on July 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think the problem is that it's just really ugly.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:28 PM on July 10, 2009 [8 favorites]


I'm with Geos: nothing like losing all your money to put the zing back into your 'struggle to remain viable.'

Are these the same folks who designed that house where the only bedroom was in an entirely different structure, up a hill from the main house? You had to go outside, whatever the weather, to go to bed. I always kinda liked that idea, having to confront nature before you could sleep.

The Bioscleave is alright, but it would be better if the house were constantly changing of its own volition: undulating floors, doorways that gradually disappeared, sinks that either dried up or overflowed...that'd keep you on your toes.
posted by Bron at 5:37 PM on July 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


I can't speak for anyone else, but I'd take it a bit more seriously if it weren't for the half-blind kindergartener color scheme. This just doesn't say 'carefully considered design' to me.

Besides, wouldn't the potential benefit of these fade with time, as you got used to the place? Wouldn't it be better to move to a different cheap, ugly, poorly-laid-out apartment every year?
posted by echo target at 5:37 PM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not feelin' it.
posted by everichon at 5:43 PM on July 10, 2009


"Forty years of scientific and philosophical investigation into how best to sustain human life and how to use architecture to help people live exceedingly long lives fuck with people has been put to good effect in this house like no other."
posted by Pronoiac at 6:17 PM on July 10, 2009


If Kurzweil (Kurzweil!) thinks the wobbly floor thing is crap, then it must be really crap.
posted by meehawl at 6:39 PM on July 10, 2009


Kamakazing bid, meh.
posted by Mblue at 6:49 PM on July 10, 2009


Previously?
posted by Ritchie at 7:13 PM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Besides, wouldn't the potential benefit of these fade with time, as you got used to the place? Wouldn't it be better to move to a different cheap, ugly, poorly-laid-out apartment every year?

You know, I was wondering that. In The Future, of course, we'll have big expensive brightly-colored houses that rearrange themselves underneath you while you're sleeping. Wake up in the morning under what turns out to be an overturned bathtub, wrestle the coffeemaker down from its perch, forage for an outlet, see where the refrigerator's wandered off to... that'll keep you spry, yep!
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:45 PM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would go batshit crazy motherfucking insane if I lived in that house.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:28 PM on July 10, 2009


But you'd never die.
posted by GuyZero at 9:43 PM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


As a dude who really enjoys trail running, I've often asked myself, "How can I recreate the bumpiness of trails on the inside of my house?"

Now... I know. And that's good. I think.
posted by ph00dz at 10:38 PM on July 10, 2009


Fuckin' rich people.
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:30 AM on July 11, 2009


architects Arakawa + Gins believe that people die because they're too comfortable

Hey, I think I have a sofa these guys designed.
posted by rokusan at 1:13 AM on July 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


In The Future, of course, we'll have big expensive brightly-colored houses that rearrange themselves underneath you while you're sleeping.

BLDGBLOG talks about something similar.
posted by Ritchie at 4:17 AM on July 11, 2009


Some architects build pretty but impractical houses (Frank Lloyd Wright, I'm looking at you). Others build less pretty but practical homes. There are arguments for both approaches, but I can't see the appeal of the "buttugly and horribly impractical" take of this home. I don't know whether living in that house would make me immortal, but I would certainly look forward to the alternative after a short while.

This is the first story that makes me give a kinder look both to death and Bernie Madoff...
posted by Skeptic at 5:29 AM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Given that their whole aesthetic/ergonomic principle is founded on making a space that is deliberately challenging, it seems really odd to to see all these "haw haw, the floors aren't even level!!!" responses.

Yeah but the "challenge" here seems more concerned with making an obvious statement on the client/architect's behalf than with being effective either operationally or conceptually. Not only do the occupants acclimatise to the obstacles, turning them into little domestic rituals, but the drive to make it uncomfortable in turn becomes a source of comfort. From the sound of the article the architects don't push themselves to respond specifically to the client's needs or to develop their own vision of evolving discomfort, having settled on the formula; "A typical apartment has three or four rooms in the shapes of either a cylinder, a cube, or a sphere. Rooms surround a kitchen-living room combination with bumpy, undulating floors and floor-to-ceiling ladders and poles. Dozens of colors, from school-bus yellow to sky blue, cover the walls, ceilings and other surfaces." which doesn't really chime with their mission statement "Procedural architecture is an architecture of precision and unending invention." What about all the other senses of discomfort; taste, smell, sound, temperatures etc. etc. Why bother with a properly furnished house, why doesn't discomfort mean abandoning the internet, TV, fridges, electricity? Why doesn't it mean a 200m restraining order on humanity or putting the whole thing inside a foggy swedish sauna? or rolling all furniture on travelators? Why does it always come down to a seemingly arbitrary line drawn at primordial physiological effects? On the distributive side of efficacy, why does immortality cost so much if discomfort can be so ubiquitously engineered, is in fact omnipresent?

As a sort of operative challenge the work relies on a sort of half-assed primitivism, as a conceptual metaphor it's indulgent and laboured. Maybe "haw haw the floors aren't even level" isn't a very sincere engagement, but I'm not sure the architects deserve much more.
posted by doobiedoo at 6:36 AM on July 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've stayed in the lofts they built in Japan. Crap. The only way that living there could make me live longer is if my twisted ankles prevented me from leaving the house and doing dangerous things. These two fruitcakes perfectly illustrate the difference between brilliantly wacky and just plain wacky.
posted by donkeymon at 7:12 AM on July 11, 2009


The cheap way to achieve this immortality effect would be to install sharp pointy spikes on all horizontal surfaces, so that nobody can ever sit down or lie down. Of course, they might then die from insomnia.
posted by bad grammar at 12:47 PM on July 11, 2009


Am I the only one who had a vivid mental image of Arakawa and Gins both reading "--And He Built a Crooked House--" by flashlight under the covers when they were kids?
posted by timeo danaos at 1:59 PM on July 11, 2009


Let's see... to live longer I should live in an uncomfortable house and eat a third less than what is typically recommended.

I can't remember who said it, but the reply "Why would I want to?" comes to mind.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 4:35 PM on July 11, 2009


Where's the NOC?
posted by Jeremy at 6:09 PM on July 11, 2009


If I could only figure out why some people get millions for their stupid ideas, but I can't get millions for my totally brilliant ideas.

For example, my old apartment was a loft in a converted commercial building that was for all intents and purposes totally zombie-proof. Industrial rolldwowns, no windows on the first two floors, walled off loading dock, the works. And the building used to be a metalworks and then it was a seafood distributor, so it had both an industrial furnace with 5 story smokestack and a full floor working freezer. Apocalypse ready urban living!

I think this should be a new architectural category, but put the words "zombie invasion" in your business plan, and all of a sudden everyone's pockets are all tight.
posted by billyfleetwood at 11:43 PM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'd live there in a frickin' second.

I mean, obviously the roof would leak, because all Amazing Houses leak (most famously Fallingwater, whose occupants can't say they weren't warned). But I'd use sandbags to put the drip-buckets on, or just knock a drain into the lowest part of every room, or something. I'm sure other practical issues, such as cleaning, would similarly yield to relatively brief analysis.

And clearly it wouldn't actually make me live any longer, except if via some obscure physical-exercise sort of route which I don't think is really what the creators meant.

But for pity's sake, people. Boxes? We're all still sitting around in boxes?

Feh.
posted by dansdata at 10:31 AM on July 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


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