It is only normal, we feel, to think of chiaroscuro, now, when there will be 350 years since the death of the great Dutch painter Rembrandt.
In painting, the chiaroscuro found its master… but what about architecture ?
Le Corbusier mentions, in his definition of architecture, light, but "shade" is mentioned only as an afterthought, in a way, in the extended definition, although he is probably the only architect who ever conceived, and built, a Tower of Shadows, in Chandigarh, India.
We feel that light and shadow need each other, in a dialectic not very different from Yin and Yang… and there are other pairs of opposites, of course, if we are to mention just the sun and the moon.
In essence the “chiaroscuro” is the dramatic, intense meeting between light and shadow, and architecture cannot be indifferent to this “chemical wedding,” as the alchemists would call it.
What is strange, perhaps, is that the antonyms of chiaroscuro, if we are to trust Thesaurus, are: "clear, bright, open, respectable, honorable, reputable, light, aboveboard…" It is interesting to notice the moralization of the word… how else to explain such words as “respectable, honorable, reputable ?”
But this would mean, of course, that if we are to design THE HOUSE OF CHIAROSCURO, we might have to design a house that is NOT “respectable, honorable, reputable…”
Interesting, no ?
The whole modern movement seems to shudder… the glorious desire for Purity, for Light, for LACK of dirt and shadowy things…
That is, what life is so full of.
So in a way, then, THE HOUSE OF CHIAROSCURO is, in fact, THE HOUSE OF THE REAL, without misleading illusions.
Yes, we believe the THE CHIAROSCURO HOUSE is the most real of all houses, actually, because it doesn't lie to itself, and others.
Rembrandt didn’t hide this duality of life, and architecture should not hide it either.
So we invite you to design THE HOUSE OF CHIAROSCURO, that is, of Light AND Shadow, equally legitimate!
If we are entering now in a Post-Materialistic Age, as it is said in some circles, we believe that reflecting on the meaning of a possible (and necessary, we would add) HOUSE OF CHIAROSCURO might be beneficial.
You could locate your house wherever you want.
What we want to encourage is to express, as strongly and as imaginatively as possible, the dialectic between light and dark, without the rosy illusions of an optimism that is not, any longer, sustainable.
Please send us your work digitally to firstname.lastname@example.org by October 4th, when there will be 350 years since Rembrandt’s death. Please register before the deadline. If you have any question, please write to us.
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