Maison Louis Carré by Alvar Aalto

You know how modernism can sometimes glide over the darker mysteries of life? Its pure volumes, white whites, and slick compositions could easily make one think we have evolved away from magic, rites, and rituals. Take Alvar Aalto‘s Maison Louis Carré. Designed for a Parisian mid-(last)century art lover, the house-museum has airy asymmetrical tall volumes, curving woody furniture and crisp grassy terraces bathed in such sophistication we might actually believe in evolution. Jain gets it. She knows this is just our one point perspective. She knows that folded in to the scene right in front of us is a whole wonkier paradigm.

Farnsworth House, Plano, IL by Ludwig Mies van de Rohe

For me, this video, which is for a song about the value of family and affection, seems misplaced in such a stark and modern house. It would seem that using a more traditional suburban single family house would serve the nostalgic atmosphere better. No? I suppose, what the Farnsworth House permits though, through its (perceived) blankness, is the space for the projected “memories” of the story’s character. The Farnsworth House, in this light, is any house… every house. This is particularly funny to every architect I know, however, because we study that house so intensely as one of the highest examples of modernism. For us, this house is anything but neutral!