CATEGORY: XXS architectureARCHIRECTS: NARTARCHITECTS / Csaba Kovács architect, Áron Vass-Eysen architect TEXT: Tamara Poós architect TRANSLATION: Zoltán Lengyel PHOTOGRAPHS: Csaba Kovács, Áron Vass-Eysen, Tamara PoósOn the Pretext of a Shed
Childhood. A huge shed, the size of a church. Heat outside. Gentle breeze inside. Outside the buzzing of bugs and insects. Blinded by the outer sunlight you can hardly see the outlines of straw bales, objects, machines. In the dim there are things you can see and there are things you cannot. Sounds are far away. Everything seems unreal in the light sneaking in through the rifts. Dust is flitting in the air. The sun sheds light on the specks of dust. The inner space is parceled by dust and light. You might pass through them into another particle of space. Or I might reach with my hand into another dimension. Sometimes I am blinded by the light sneaking in through the rifts. It is not even necessary to twinkle in order to perceive more intensive light; dots and lines are blurred anyway. As I peek through the rifts I can see my grandmother passing through the yard. Each rift contains another phase of the movement. In between there are boards turning grey. It is forbidden to climb on the straw bales: my grandfather doesn’t want us to play inside. We are here in secrecy. Then I open the door and the sun floods in fading out everything. I step out into the blinding summer.
Nagybajom, Hungary, Csányi Foundation. I give them a call in advance that I wish to see the house. Szilvia Némethné receives me with a smile. She shows me around inside the building of the foundation. I tell her that I am interested in the small house. A wondering countenance, a half smile… Really? Yes, the shed. Without further questions she smiles; she is very kind and helpful as she tells me that I can meet the children in the afternoon, too. Around the shed I take a hump of pictures; I relive feelings and perceptions described above. I meet boys about fourteen years old in the afternoon: Laci Hajdú, Laci Fehér, Attila Sipos. Let’s go outside and have a look at the little house! A slight hesitation, questioning looks at each other… is it serious?? Well, all right… While going outside they tell me about their occupations, possibilities, studies. There is drama studies, too, individual work; suiting the talent of each of them. Soon they are going to do their language exams. And what is the use of the shed? Well, they have put in the snow-tyre, there are plastic bottles in bags and firewood also. Pardon the mess. I ask them whether they had played in the shed as a little boy. They answer with a huge smile, no question, even now! And we look at the lights together as they blur. We lurk outside. I point it out how clever the structure is. Really! Otherwise the upper ledger would be head high, we would beat our heads into it; and in this way it works well as storage also. I mention them that the young architect whose task was to plan this shed was eager to do this right, however small the task was. Architects, both young and experienced, wished to do a good job out of enthusiasm. The boys pat the splay ledgers and the boards with pride. The shed is theirs.
closed the door should be unnoticeable, and all that adds up to a homogeneous whole. It
While working in Nart I could have paid attention to the realization of this little building right out from the planning phase. I could have felt the fight against crisis; yes, we build sheds out of virtue! I could have felt the enthusiasm for the brutally drilled, beautiful and genial wooden buildings of Yuri Grigoryan. I am aware of the restrictions: the maximum size of ten square meters, and that it should be a separate garden building. The aim is to be as cheap as possible. Let it be built from simple hairy board. Let it be constructed in modules. We need not cut it by its length, the rifts help equipartition. The splay of the roof should be identical with that of the main building. I could have seen the meticulous work with the joints, the exactitude that defines the pry of the door in order to have everything suitable and pliable to each other; when should be constructed in a way that you can stand under and in it; no object should intrude into the inner space. What else is necessary besides what I have listed above? A lot of work and humility which results in a natural and self-evident form and reshapes the details into their simplicity. Above this what makes this house so self-evident? And I wonder what the user can feel from this endeavor, if at all? What is the impact of the building on its “users”, the laymen without the knowledge of ideologies, architectural prototypes, philosophies, portfolios and architectural forums? Can we architects “use” this? What is the influence of tradition? What subsides in one in the form of feelings, long-term thoughts, seeds, memories? Especially in children. Do they value what they have? What is the influence of the lack of tradition? What if this is simply a created tradition with tale-telling elements? How can we evoke common visual memories? How can we make them to be not too spoonfed, not too made-up Hungarian? Here in Nagybajom it was enough to spell out a sentence and we already arrived at sharable memories about the shed with these no longer children, not yet adult youngsters. How do these memories disappear? Why do we long for other things? How can we preserve the respect for our own childhood as well as the respect for the sharable childhood? How can we preserve the experience and ability of losing ourselves into the observation of light hasps? Maybe with the help of a visual “Kodály Method” that has an impact and provides experience for everyone? Instead of a teddy bear made of polystyrene-balls, painted with tempera.
Let’s get back to the house. It is self-evident. It speaks in a modest way. No need to talk down others. It lacks visible strain. It is as it should be. Inside (its being) it is much more than itself. Behaviour, character. temperance, curiosity, common sense, economy and function, creative thought, feeling. Tradition and conscious architecture. Fine poetry. Answers all my questions.