Koolhaus III in Breakers dAlliez (11,158) is another exciting piece of work in our evolving spectrum of residential builds. Unlike some homes which rely extensively on textures, and others that depend on pure abstract surfaces, Koolhaus III assumes a position between the two. In terms of function, this build also seems to sit somewhere in the middle, neither a fully-engaged domestic setting nor a completely detached artifact.
The house is a composition of strong primary shapes which serve to establish a rich sequence of enclosed and courtyard spaces with landscape elements flowing from inside to outside. Despite the build's well-established formal expression, the spaces for the most part are quite amorphous and transparent, with the potential to be perceived in a number of different ways depending on one's viewpoint.
This sense of fluidity is further reinforced by the build's material palette. The walls are expressed as a combination of pure white surfaces and white colored bricks, but the use of white colour in this case is substantially different than that found in previously visited builds. It could be suggested that the plain white surfaces impart a certain sense of abstraction to the textured 'realness' of the brick, while the white color of the brick acts to 'realize' the abstraction of the plain solid surfaces, with the net effect of canceling each other out in a curious act of dematerialization. The wall treatments, when combined with the delicate filigree of the various window conditions reinforce not only the importance of the occupied ground plane and the objects contained within the various spaces, but also the surrounding landscape (which as of this writing is a delightful holiday mashup of snow and palm trees).
The builder Rem Koolhaas takes his online namesake from the founder of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), arguably best known to the North American public for the new Seattle Public Library and various projects for Prada (especially if that episode of Sex and the City where Carrie buys a red shirt for her soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend means anything). Koolhaus III, however, in its formal rigour seems devoid of any sort of uppity cultural criticism or zeitgeisty goodness typical of the Dutch powerhouse, nor does it appear to fundamentally challenge notions of the nature of residential living in SL. Instead, it presents a very well-executed alternative to the historicist styles that seem to prevail in the residential market, and is another fine example of a residence that is built to accommodate both the site and its occupants rather than impose upon them.