Christ & Gantenbein

Triptych . Quidinish Isle of Harris

Christ & Gantenbein . AE Foundation

Harris Island’s bareness has been existentially threatening its inhabitants for centuries. Today, the hilly landscape of fields and polished cliff-platforms, tousled trees and omnipresent sea, rather lets one long for calm and promises concentrated work.

The inhabitants of this house wish to live here with their family as well as pursue their artistic work, or organise workshops with their students. Set between a house and a studio, the courtyard takes a central space, protected from the constant wind, the wide sky as its only roof. Three big windows, or rather barn doors, frame the view onto the sea and its white shell beach. The buildings’ simple steel structure is faced with corrugated sheets outside and wood inside. Artists are lucky not to have to distinguish their life from their work. One lives as an artist, one works as an artist. The house for the artists’ duo is an incarnation of this Lebensentwurf. This scenario is embedded in three houses: three houses as a life. Living and working face each other, with nature in the role of the mediator between both. Nature is not only the mediator, but the predator. The rough landscape is shaped from the mind-blowing wind. The house, as a fortress, protects from the salty air, the courtyard is a roof-less shelter, as if its cover had just been blown by the gaoth. Opening the door from the clear enclosure on a promontory, one is faced with the horizon: the infinite sea of the bay is the flat neighbour of the three pointed roofs. The farm as a type tells the story of sedentism. The project re-interprets the Scottish rural architecture as the goal of contemporary nomadism.

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