Andernach's Houses


Denis Andernach draws houses. The fact they are to remain drawings allows him to design them totally free. They are, however, not utopias, but typological examinations that combine conceived uses and elementary forms. Thanks to the thought given to construction, all the houses seem buildable. In landscapes void of people, Andernach composes scenarios, which present his houses as pure architectures, precisely because they remain drawings.

"Up front: The drawing is a kind of snapshot in the design process. When it is done, one knows what has to be improved."

Ornithologist House

Small towers are randomly arranged on a wood-covered ridge. The wooden construction consists of four pieces of wood, which, arranged in terms of how square they are, were added vertically. On the exterior, the wooden cladding contributes to the support and stability of each tower. Inside, a ladder leads upwards. The internal dimensions of each tower are reduced to the minimum needed to climb. When one arrives at the top, one activates a cable system to “open” the “wings”. Here one can lie down, which is best done with someone else, whereby each person should be on one side. Why this is an Ornithologist House is, I think, clear – how to arrive there on the basis of science, is not.



Reading House

Like an armada of beetles, the reading houses are located on a field facing the same direction. The corresponding sketch contains a construction principle. These are concrete prefabricated parts that are cast together. They age depending on the wind and weather conditions. If elements four and five (see sketch) are prefabricated as one element, one can avoid the fragile horizontal joint on the roof. One can only reach this “protected space” from directly below. It is cosy here, even though one can barely stand up. Light comes in from above to enable reading and two oculi define the limited relationship with the exterior. When the wind is stormy it is felt. One is isolated in one’s capsule and can read to one’s heart’s content. There are enough books available; the shelving has been tailored to fit on the back of the conical form.



Bone House

An art collector with a passion for finiteness encouraged me to draw a “bone house”: a room with a roof to store bones in. These are mostly found in cemeteries.  I had to determine how such a bone house could stand in the landscape. I wanted to forego all instances of pathos and religious trappings.  How I imagined it was thusly: one comes into the room by going down a staircase built onto the side of the central axis, reaching the space that is under the roof. The roof construction is made up of steeply arranged rafters that come together at one end to create a ridge purlin. With the aim of allowing daylight in through a narrow opening, the form work (using boards) and metal sheeting covering of the roof do not go as far as the ridge. The ossuary begins below, leading further and further into the Earth. Life goes on in the meadow of flowers above.



Fireplace House

Finally, a drawing where form follows function! A fireplace is positioned in the middle of a square-shaped room. The chimney hangs above it, at the centre of the roof construction. It is clad in roof boards protected by strips of bitumen. At the eaves, rainwater is carried away from the house by means of horizontal gutters. The supporting walls made of solid concrete offer seating on the inside and provide views to the exterior on three sides. A fourth opening on the closed wall would have been a logical consequence of the square-shaped plan. When I was drawing, I did think about that – but now it is too late, there’s no way back when using ink! Wood can be gathered in the forest and dried by placing it against the wall. The house serves one purpose only: sitting at the fireplace. Every other function would require a change in the form.



Roof House IV

Another roof house: in formal terms the relation to the Fireplace House is acknowledged. Surrounded by trees, the house stands in a clearing. The base is made of concrete, and is tapered, like the rump of a boat, towards the ground of the forest. A small ladder on one side provides access to the “deck”. Here, there is an open space in the wooden construction that provides a view over the surrounding woods. The trees directly around the house are young, with their trunks similar in size to the wooden supports used. One feels a part of the forest in between the supports and trunks. Diagonal rods serve to stabilise the construction in both horizontal directions. This time the roof is clad in metal sheeting with thin metal strips. There is no gutter running along the eaves; a drip edge made of metal sheeting protects the construction below. Stairs lead up to the sleeping area in the closed, protected roof space, finished off horizontally with a skylight at the top. There are no windows on the sides – so, before falling asleep, one only has a view of the sky.



Noah’s House

The rump of a ship with a storehouse and two-pitch roof is usually how Noah’s Ark is represented. The house I have drawn follows the same principle: the base is in concrete and suggests, in formal terms, the rump of a ship. A walkway provides access to the storehouse, which is a wooden construction over several floors, offering space for everything. Above it is the large two-pitch roof. The curvature is made possible by a form of plier construction, resulting in a roomy, daylight-filled space, in which a large blackboard and chairs are placed. Here all the family can come together – but not to travel, as a house cannot float.



Field House

The house’s surroundings are characterised by farming land. The paths in between serve as land management paths and are mostly only three metres wide – a measurement that, in my view, provides for a narrow yet beautiful proportion. The house in the drawing was placed on such a path and the formal symmetry is the result of the possible accessibility from both sides. The house is plastered and features few openings. A patio splits the roof into two halves in the middle. Here one can sit outside and is still protected from the dust of the fields. The asparagus rows are positioned orthogonally to the path and their shadows reveal the shade that comes from the evening light.



Boat House

This house is more a gesture or a reference point than a house. The concrete rump of a boat appears to set sail. A framework of wooden slats is attached to one side. The filigree wooden construction is stacked up in two layers and stretches upwards to a V-shaped roof, which drains away the water via the short sides. Further occupation with the construction would involve having to better stabilise the upper wooden slats lengthwise using bracing elements. I imagine the whole construction being used thusly: a ladder leads upwards, allowing one to lie down high above the wide landscape. The house would not work as protection against the wind, rain and sun, however; but that does not really matter in the moment.



Stilt House III

The Stilt House consists of a multitude of stilts below, with four horizontal levels inserted and covered in boards. At the bottom, diagonal rods provide greater stability. The upper part of the wooden construction is stabilised on each level using a cable system. Here, the horizontal rods are arranged on the outside so that the boarding can be fixed on one continuous level. The scale-like look of the façade arises out of a desire to protect the grain of the boarding by means of covering the layer above it. At one end, stairs lead upwards and the remaining space on the level can be used as a transitional refuge. Openings arise by leaving out part of the boarding. The inner organisation and structure are rendered more readable, but at the same time they weaken the protection offered.



Panorama House

The primary structure looks to be made of steel inlaid with wooden elements. Via concrete stairs in the foreground, one arrives in the living space, which is marked on the inside by the steep roof. The openings face the clearing; the back of the house against the wood remains closed. The windows are protected by projecting roofs above them. At the back, on two upper floors the bay area is pushed up against the gable. Here the small spaces for retreat are located and can be accessed via a spiral staircase. This House is one of the few to suggest liveability.



Gable House

The principle of addition is used again and again in construction, and not without reason. Like the trees in the foreground, three houses with pitch roofs are lined up on a concrete base. They “gain” in height via the number of floors and together represent a form that has a “front and back”. In the gable area, the houses are separated by the down pipes required for drainage. The drawing says nothing about the inner structure. My main concern here was to represent a form generated by repetitive details.



Stair House

The title of this drawing perhaps should not be the Stair House. No roof, no protection, no space – this house has nothing that identifies it as a house. Instead, three staircases in welded steel were drawn, which come together at the top. The staircases stabilise each other and form a bridge-like construct. I initially drew the staircases in a way that the uppermost level formed an equal-sided triangle. That appeared to me to be right and consistent in construction terms. But this uniformity had a built-in problem: it gave rise to the outer dimensions of a three-sided pyramid, which bored me. Which is why one of the staircases is somewhat longer at the top, just to break with the form. There is another Stair House behind this one. I was forced to think of the “Folies” in the Parc de la Villette in Paris. There are lots of beautiful “useless” things there.

Andernach's Houses

6/28/2023

Denis Andernach, Tanslation: Liam Burke


Denis Andernach draws houses. The fact they are to remain drawings allows him to design them totally free. They are, however, not utopias, but typological examinations that combine conceived uses and elementary forms. Thanks to the thought given to construction, all the houses seem buildable. In landscapes void of people, Andernach composes scenarios, which present his houses as pure architectures, precisely because they remain drawings.

"Up front: The drawing is a kind of snapshot in the design process. When it is done, one knows what has to be improved."

Ornithologist House

Small towers are randomly arranged on a wood-covered ridge. The wooden construction consists of four pieces of wood, which, arranged in terms of how square they are, were added vertically. On the exterior, the wooden cladding contributes to the support and stability of each tower. Inside, a ladder leads upwards. The internal dimensions of each tower are reduced to the minimum needed to climb. When one arrives at the top, one activates a cable system to “open” the “wings”. Here one can lie down, which is best done with someone else, whereby each person should be on one side. Why this is an Ornithologist House is, I think, clear – how to arrive there on the basis of science, is not.

Ornithologist House II (Ornithologenhaus II), Indian ink on paper, 48 cm x 62.5 cm  – © Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
01 | 03
Ornithologist House II (Ornithologenhaus II), Indian ink on paper, 48 cm x 62.5 cm – © Denis Andernach



Reading House

Like an armada of beetles, the reading houses are located on a field facing the same direction. The corresponding sketch contains a construction principle. These are concrete prefabricated parts that are cast together. They age depending on the wind and weather conditions. If elements four and five (see sketch) are prefabricated as one element, one can avoid the fragile horizontal joint on the roof. One can only reach this “protected space” from directly below. It is cosy here, even though one can barely stand up. Light comes in from above to enable reading and two oculi define the limited relationship with the exterior. When the wind is stormy it is felt. One is isolated in one’s capsule and can read to one’s heart’s content. There are enough books available; the shelving has been tailored to fit on the back of the conical form.

Reading House (Lesehaus), Indian ink on paper, 62.5 cm x 48 cm – © Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
01 | 02
Reading House (Lesehaus), Indian ink on paper, 62.5 cm x 48 cm – © Denis Andernach



Bone House

An art collector with a passion for finiteness encouraged me to draw a “bone house”: a room with a roof to store bones in. These are mostly found in cemeteries.  I had to determine how such a bone house could stand in the landscape. I wanted to forego all instances of pathos and religious trappings.  How I imagined it was thusly: one comes into the room by going down a staircase built onto the side of the central axis, reaching the space that is under the roof. The roof construction is made up of steeply arranged rafters that come together at one end to create a ridge purlin. With the aim of allowing daylight in through a narrow opening, the form work (using boards) and metal sheeting covering of the roof do not go as far as the ridge. The ossuary begins below, leading further and further into the Earth. Life goes on in the meadow of flowers above.

Bone House (Beinhaus), Indian ink on paper, 62.5 cm x 48 cm – © Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
01 | 03
Bone House (Beinhaus), Indian ink on paper, 62.5 cm x 48 cm – © Denis Andernach



Fireplace House

Finally, a drawing where form follows function! A fireplace is positioned in the middle of a square-shaped room. The chimney hangs above it, at the centre of the roof construction. It is clad in roof boards protected by strips of bitumen. At the eaves, rainwater is carried away from the house by means of horizontal gutters. The supporting walls made of solid concrete offer seating on the inside and provide views to the exterior on three sides. A fourth opening on the closed wall would have been a logical consequence of the square-shaped plan. When I was drawing, I did think about that – but now it is too late, there’s no way back when using ink! Wood can be gathered in the forest and dried by placing it against the wall. The house serves one purpose only: sitting at the fireplace. Every other function would require a change in the form.

Fireplace House (Kaminhaus), Indian ink on paper, 46 cm x 62.5 cm – © Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
01 | 03
Fireplace House (Kaminhaus), Indian ink on paper, 46 cm x 62.5 cm – © Denis Andernach



Roof House IV

Another roof house: in formal terms the relation to the Fireplace House is acknowledged. Surrounded by trees, the house stands in a clearing. The base is made of concrete, and is tapered, like the rump of a boat, towards the ground of the forest. A small ladder on one side provides access to the “deck”. Here, there is an open space in the wooden construction that provides a view over the surrounding woods. The trees directly around the house are young, with their trunks similar in size to the wooden supports used. One feels a part of the forest in between the supports and trunks. Diagonal rods serve to stabilise the construction in both horizontal directions. This time the roof is clad in metal sheeting with thin metal strips. There is no gutter running along the eaves; a drip edge made of metal sheeting protects the construction below. Stairs lead up to the sleeping area in the closed, protected roof space, finished off horizontally with a skylight at the top. There are no windows on the sides – so, before falling asleep, one only has a view of the sky.

Roof House IV (Dachhaus IV), Indian ink on paper, 62.5 cm x 48 cm – © Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
01 | 05
Roof House IV (Dachhaus IV), Indian ink on paper, 62.5 cm x 48 cm – © Denis Andernach



Noah’s House

The rump of a ship with a storehouse and two-pitch roof is usually how Noah’s Ark is represented. The house I have drawn follows the same principle: the base is in concrete and suggests, in formal terms, the rump of a ship. A walkway provides access to the storehouse, which is a wooden construction over several floors, offering space for everything. Above it is the large two-pitch roof. The curvature is made possible by a form of plier construction, resulting in a roomy, daylight-filled space, in which a large blackboard and chairs are placed. Here all the family can come together – but not to travel, as a house cannot float.

Noahs House (Noah's Haus), Indian ink on paper, 48 cm x 62.5 cm  – © Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
01 | 06
Noahs House (Noah's Haus), Indian ink on paper, 48 cm x 62.5 cm – © Denis Andernach



Field House

The house’s surroundings are characterised by farming land. The paths in between serve as land management paths and are mostly only three metres wide – a measurement that, in my view, provides for a narrow yet beautiful proportion. The house in the drawing was placed on such a path and the formal symmetry is the result of the possible accessibility from both sides. The house is plastered and features few openings. A patio splits the roof into two halves in the middle. Here one can sit outside and is still protected from the dust of the fields. The asparagus rows are positioned orthogonally to the path and their shadows reveal the shade that comes from the evening light.

Field House (Feldhaus), Indian ink on paper, 62.5 cm x 48 cm – © Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
01 | 02
Field House (Feldhaus), Indian ink on paper, 62.5 cm x 48 cm – © Denis Andernach



Boat House

This house is more a gesture or a reference point than a house. The concrete rump of a boat appears to set sail. A framework of wooden slats is attached to one side. The filigree wooden construction is stacked up in two layers and stretches upwards to a V-shaped roof, which drains away the water via the short sides. Further occupation with the construction would involve having to better stabilise the upper wooden slats lengthwise using bracing elements. I imagine the whole construction being used thusly: a ladder leads upwards, allowing one to lie down high above the wide landscape. The house would not work as protection against the wind, rain and sun, however; but that does not really matter in the moment.

Boat House (Bootshaus), Indian ink on paper, 62.5 cm x 48 cm – © Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
01 | 06
Boat House (Bootshaus), Indian ink on paper, 62.5 cm x 48 cm – © Denis Andernach



Stilt House III

The Stilt House consists of a multitude of stilts below, with four horizontal levels inserted and covered in boards. At the bottom, diagonal rods provide greater stability. The upper part of the wooden construction is stabilised on each level using a cable system. Here, the horizontal rods are arranged on the outside so that the boarding can be fixed on one continuous level. The scale-like look of the façade arises out of a desire to protect the grain of the boarding by means of covering the layer above it. At one end, stairs lead upwards and the remaining space on the level can be used as a transitional refuge. Openings arise by leaving out part of the boarding. The inner organisation and structure are rendered more readable, but at the same time they weaken the protection offered.

Stilt House III (Stelzenhaus III), Indian ink on paper, 62.5 cm x 48 cm – © Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
01 | 05
Stilt House III (Stelzenhaus III), Indian ink on paper, 62.5 cm x 48 cm – © Denis Andernach



Panorama House

The primary structure looks to be made of steel inlaid with wooden elements. Via concrete stairs in the foreground, one arrives in the living space, which is marked on the inside by the steep roof. The openings face the clearing; the back of the house against the wood remains closed. The windows are protected by projecting roofs above them. At the back, on two upper floors the bay area is pushed up against the gable. Here the small spaces for retreat are located and can be accessed via a spiral staircase. This House is one of the few to suggest liveability.

Panorama House (Panoramahaus), Indian ink on paper, 62.5 cm x 48 cm – © Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
01 | 04
Panorama House (Panoramahaus), Indian ink on paper, 62.5 cm x 48 cm – © Denis Andernach



Gable House

The principle of addition is used again and again in construction, and not without reason. Like the trees in the foreground, three houses with pitch roofs are lined up on a concrete base. They “gain” in height via the number of floors and together represent a form that has a “front and back”. In the gable area, the houses are separated by the down pipes required for drainage. The drawing says nothing about the inner structure. My main concern here was to represent a form generated by repetitive details.

Gable House (Giebelhaus), Indian ink on paper, 62.5 cm x 48 cm – © Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
01 | 03
Gable House (Giebelhaus), Indian ink on paper, 62.5 cm x 48 cm – © Denis Andernach



Stair House

The title of this drawing perhaps should not be the Stair House. No roof, no protection, no space – this house has nothing that identifies it as a house. Instead, three staircases in welded steel were drawn, which come together at the top. The staircases stabilise each other and form a bridge-like construct. I initially drew the staircases in a way that the uppermost level formed an equal-sided triangle. That appeared to me to be right and consistent in construction terms. But this uniformity had a built-in problem: it gave rise to the outer dimensions of a three-sided pyramid, which bored me. Which is why one of the staircases is somewhat longer at the top, just to break with the form. There is another Stair House behind this one. I was forced to think of the “Folies” in the Parc de la Villette in Paris. There are lots of beautiful “useless” things there.

Stair House (Treppenhaus), Indian ink on paper, 62.5 cm x 48 cm – © Denis Andernach
© Denis Andernach
01 | 02
Stair House (Treppenhaus), Indian ink on paper, 62.5 cm x 48 cm – © Denis Andernach
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