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DESIGNER
ALLAN WEXLER
DATE
1994
LOCATION
North Fork, NY, USA
TYPE
residential
USE
Art project / Guesthouse
Vinyl Milford House

The Vinyl Milford House is an art-installation commissioned to Wexler in 1994 by the Katonah Museum of Art in New York. The artist’s point of departure was the Vinyl Milford, a prefabricated, vinyl-coated, sheet metal storage shed found in a typical American suburban backyard, which was manufactured by Arrow Industries and transported to the desired locations within a 13cmX76cmX182cm box. Wexler transformed the shed into a compact guesthouse with a very theatrical functionality. The limited space within could not facilitate the simultaneous accommodation of a bedroom, a dining room, a kitchen and a bathroom, so a very minimal selection of furniture and utensils, that represented each room’s purpose, was grouped and pushed out of the main space and into the surrounding walls, creating ghost-like, shaped bulges in the structure’s exterior. The main interior space was left empty, yet ready to be used as a stage for performing everyday activities, one at a time, by sliding-in the objects associated with it. In the artist’s words, “you could empty the space depending on what function you needed, and because it made you aware of those decisions and details, it ritualized those everyday actions.”

TRANSFORMABLE DESIGN FEATURES AT A GLANCE
PRINCIPLE
PHENOMENOLOGICAL
sliding
ACTUAL
sliding
TYPE
PHENOMENOLOGICAL
nesting elements
ACTUAL
nesting elements
SYSTEM
manual
ELEMENTS
Interior configuration
Application Framework
Enclosed Space Open Space
Private Space Public Space
Passive Communication Active
Project Scale
Kinetic Elements Scale
Equipment
People
Intensity of Activity
Fluctuation of Intensity
Periodicity of Fluctuation
Design
New Design Intervention
Requires Support Self Supported
Simple Geometry Complex Geometry
Low Tech High Tech
Manual System Intelligent System
Surface Transformation
Volume Transformation
Morphological Variations
Modularity
Portability
Adaptability
Sustainability
Materials
Conventional Sophisticated
Elastic Rigid
Transparent Opaque
Warm Cold
Weight
Maintenance
Insulation
COST (estimation)

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Image source:

1, 2, 3, 4: Mostaedi, A. (2006). Great Spaces. Flexible Homes. Barcelona: Links Books, 159-161.

Further Reading:

Bartolucci, M. (2003). Living Large in Small Spaces.
New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. Galfetti, G. G. (1997). Pisos Piloto: Model Apartments. Experimental Domestic Cells.
Barcelona: Gustavo Gili Editions. Mostaedi, A. (2006). Great Spaces. Flexible Homes.
Barcelona: Links Books. http://www.allanwexlerstudio.com/