- In addition to what I have stated when annotating the Colomina’s essay in the book Raumplan versus Plan Libre, Beatriz Colomina offered a perceptive reading, one that begins to suggest the multifarious nature of the space alongside the pool. In every Loos house, she writes, “there is a point of maximum tension, and it always coincides with a threshold or boundary. In the Moller house it is the raised alcove protruding from the street facade, where the occupant is ensconced in the security of the interior yet detached from it. The subject of Loos’s interiors is a stranger, an intruder in his own space. In Josephine Baker’s house, the wall of the swimming pool is punctured by windows. It has been pulled apart leaving a narrow passage surrounding the pool, and splitting each of the windows into an internal window and an external window. The visitor literally inhabits this wall, which enables him to look both inside, at the pool, and outside, at the city, but he is neither inside nor outside the house.” (13)
- Colomina iss undeniably correct about how Loos creates places of great tension in his designs. But her imagined observer is fixed in place, motionless, the views static and unchanging. Loos’s conception here- and, indeed, elsewhere in his later domestic designs-was assuredly intended to be dynamic. It is not only about a singular viewing experience, but also one that is constantly changing as the subject moves her or his body and head.
- Beatriz Colomina has drawn a related comparison, emphasizing the tension between elements of theatricality and intimacy in the house. “In the Muller House … the sequence of spaces. articulated around the staircase, follows an increasing sense of privacy from the drawing room to the dining room and study to the “ladies room” (Zimmer der Dame) with its raised sitting area, which occupies the center or “heart” of the house. But the window of this space looks onto the living space . . . [T]he most intimate room is like a theater box. placed just over the entrance to the social spaces in this house, so that any intruder could easily be seen. Likewise. the view of the exterior, toward the city, from this “theater box” is contained within a view of the interior. Suspended in the middle of the house, this space assumes the character both of a “sacred” space and a point of control. Comfort is produced by two seemingly opposing conditions. intimacy and control.” (13)