The Single Family House Rhizome was built in a newly developed area of Heinde, a small village close to the city of Hildesheim in Germany. The project was developed in collaboration with local homeowners. From one of the houses in the neighborhood, a 1,80 m tall ’offshoot’ grows, and appears on the opposite side of the road. Although this offshoot has its own distinct form, the architectural style and color, as well as the standardized building materials, clearly connect it to the initial family house across the road.

Architecturally, unconnected buildings that are aesthetically linked can appear in functional settings, such as a small above-ground section of an underground technical complex that perhaps at first glance appears disconnected from, but is in fact linked to, a main building built in the same style. In other settings, buildings of similar but disconnected elements can have a more spiritual or purely aesthetic meaning. In many settings throughout Asia, for example, comparable architectonical ensembles can be found at temples, shrines or house altars.

In botany the term rhizome describes the offshoots of a rootstock that establishes new plants in the nearby surroundings of the 'mother plant'. In horticulture, these characteristics are used to clone garden plants like iris or bamboo naturally. At the same time, tenacious weeds, such as couch grass, spread in the same way.

The Single Family House Rhizome uses botanical principles as a metaphorical means to comment on and examine the uses of spatial structures within urban and suburban development strategies. It plays with the possibility that a house could grow right through the local spatial concept of property, as well as intervene in the municipal infrastructure. Almost in the eerie style of a classic horror movie, the seemingly uncontrollable growth of the house-clone questions the standardized individualism that finds its expression in the surrounding family homes.

This permanent work was realized through “LandArbeit,” Heinde, Germany, organized by the University of Hildesheim, Summer 2007.


photography: Sami Bill, Helmut Dick


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