Koolhaas Houselife

By Ila Bêka, Louise Lemoîne

Koolhaas Houselife

“It is not flattering, but realistic” (Rem Koolhaas). In Koolhaas Houselife, Guadalupe Acedo, the home’s caretaker and housekeeper is our guide through one of the masterpieces of contemporary architecture built in recent years: Maison à Bordeaux, designed in 1998 by Rem Koolhaas/OMA. Unlike most movies about architecture, this feature focuses less on explaining the structure and virtuosity of the building than on allowing the viewer to access the hidden domestic life of an architectural icon.

On the surface, this documentary looks like a pure caricature of the failures of the building, proving the validity of the saying “all great architecture leaks” and making a reference to the absurd modern world of Jacques Tati’s Mon Oncle. However, while the film’s amusing approach favours the prosaic over the usual elevated aesthetics, the viewer comes away with a rare sense of the inner workings of this much-photographed work. A real experiment that presents a new way of looking at architecture.

Following the film, a 10-minute interview with Rem Koolhaas reacting to the film will be screened.

Koolhaas Houselife


Introductory film: Il Girasole – una casa vicino a Verona
By Christoph Schaub, Marcel Meili

Connections between cinema, the shifting views of an architecture of animated elements, and personal narrative are examined in this beautifully photographed and poetic short film, narrated by the designer Angelo Invernizzi’s daughter. Like Koolhaas Houselife, Il Girasole (The Sunflower) also concerns the life of a solitary house: a modernist villa from the 1930s that turns on an enormous circular stone base to continually face the sun. A personal, almost melancholy, film, recounting private memories and cultural aspirations that together evoke an elegiac atmosphere.

Il Girasole - a house near Verona
Switzerland, 1995, 17min. 35mm
Italian. Subtitles: English

Cinematography: Matthias Kälin
Sound: Martin Witz
Editing: Fee Liechti, Christoph Schaub
Production: Christoph Schaub, Marcel Meili

Bio: Christoph Schaub was born in Zurich in 1958. Schaub is one of the leading documentary filmmakers in the field of architecture films. Films like Birds nest – Herzog & de Meuron in China (2008) are highly acclaimed by critics. He was a member of Videoladen Zurich and contributed to founding Dschoint Ventschr AG. As a freelance lecturer he worked at the higher institute of design and at F+F, Zurich and acted as an artistic director of the ONOMA exhibition EXPO 2002.

  Koolhaas Houselife
Italy/France 2008, 58min. Video
French. Subtitles: English

Cinematography: Ila Bêka
Sound: Ila Bêka
Editing: Tiros Niakaj, Louise Lemoîne
Production: Francesco Pappalardo for BêkaFilms

Ila Bêka is an Italian-born architect, director and video-artist. He currently works on several video installations based on his collection of video-haikus.Louise Lemoîne is a graduate in cinema and philosophy at the Sorbonne. She is a documentary and fiction film scriptwriter and writes for several art and architecture magazines. Lemoîne and Bêka both live and work in Paris, currently on a series of contemporary architecture films.