This is the most challenging house architecture. Who could have imagined a rotating home that’s balancing on a single concrete column?
This, of course, is not a real home as such, although it’s very much designed to look and function like one. Called ReActor, this art installation is a Schweder + Shelley collaboration, forming part of their experimental, performing art series of “social relationship architecture”. It was in 2016 that the architect-artist duo lived in the rotating house in upstate New York for a total of five days. They did it in the name of art. The habitable 13m x 2.5m dwelling rotated 360-degrees balancing atop a 4.5m high concrete column. The dwelling also tilted in response to Alex Schweder and Ward Shelley’s movement, outside forces and interior conditions. The rotations and see-saw like tilts made the intimate relationship between the architecture and inhabitants completely visible.
For more than a decade, Alex Schweder and Ward Shelley have been practising a form of experimental architecture that explores the dance between the designed environment and its consequences. Since 2007, the duo has designed, built, and lived in (or on) structures in locations where the public are invited not only to witness but also to actively engage with the artists in direct dialogue about their practice—an activity that has coalesced into what they call “performance architecture.”
Blurring the boundaries between art, architecture, design, and performance, the artists’ work poses questions about the nature of social space and the way architecture influences human behavior. Alex Schweder received a BA from the Pratt Institute School of Architecture, a MArch from Princeton University School of Architecture, and is completing a PhD through the Department of Architecture at the University of Cambridge, UK.
Here’s a video of how this house works: