Daisuke Hirabayashi: Koechlin House

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This book by photographer and architect Daisuke Hirabayashi is a meditation on the often overlooked lives of buildings after the architect has left. Through a sequence of intimate, immersive images, Hirabayashi explores Koechlin House, an early private home designed by now-celebrated architects Herzog & de Meuron in Basel, Switzerland. His images picture the house as a site of everyday life, with all its small joys, surprises, awkward infelicities, rituals, and revelations. The original clients left long ago, and this book quietly studies the current owner’s unplanned, harmonious occupation.

The Koechlin House was designed ‘inside out’, prioritising the experience of the interior home over its outward-facing appearance. In this sense, Hirabayashi works in the spirit of the building, centring the embodied experience within and disregarding the omniscient and dehumanised view prevalent in so many accounts of architecture. Alongside a text by architects and writers Ellena Ehrl and Tibor Bielicky, these images encourage us to rethink the perspectives and details we deem ‘architectural’ and leave us newly aware of the long and many-storied lives of buildings.

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