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Wall House

Pablo Casals-Aguirre

Discover the Wall House layer by layer.

In this short film, Pablo Casals-Aguirre reveals the life of a retired couple who move through the various layers of their suburban home. The sequence of the video is connected to the concept of the architecture – a series of layers. Casals moves us through those layers, revealing a sequence of spaces from outdoors to indoors, transparency to opacity, and openness to privacy. The transition through the spaces is facilitated by the couple themselves, who reconfigure the layers and allow us to pass through. The house is first observed as an object in context. It stands alone in a setting which appears to be more rural than suburban – a large plot without neighbors in sight. From this vantage point we observe a light, semi-transparent covering that screens the house, simultaneously hiding the structure and offering a vague glimpse inside.

The life of the couple unfolds as we enter the layer between the fabric skin and the structure. Through observing their interactions with the house we understand it not as a static object, but a mutable environment. Their ability to reconfigure the various skins allows them to change the spatial progression from outdoors to indoors. This flexible sequencing of spaces is epitomized by the couple's dogs who move rapidly between the interior, exterior and the layers in between. As we continue inward, more layers appear between the camera and the outdoors. Storage shelves and the objects that rest on them obscure our view. A polycarbonate shell forms a clear divide between interior and exterior, and contributes to the increasing feeling of enclosure. Our gradual transition leads us to the core of the home. Here, the surroundings are no longer visible and the opacity and privacy of the residence are evident.

At the end of the film the architects offer us a description of the layering of the home. They explain the transition from a concrete private area at the center, through the structure and (storage areas, past the polycarbonate shell and to the soft fabric skin. This description reconnects us to our own experience of the home, and reveals the relationship between the architecture and Pablo Casals' footage.


Architect: FAR (Marc Frohn, Mario Rojas)
Mentioned project: Wall House
Project location: Batuco, Chile
Production: Puro Chile ©2012
Music: Laurent Apffel, Matías Mahns
Editing: Francisco Marshall, Julia Bande

Chile 2012
Duration: 5'55''

Premiered within the exhibition "White Mountain. Contemporary Chilean Architecture" at Aedes (Berlin, October-December 2012).