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Alternative Histories

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Strawberry Gothic Forever


CHA were invited to contribute to the ‘Alternative Histories’ exhibition curated by The Architecture Foundation, The Drawing Matters Foundation and Veldwerk Architecten in Autumn 2018.


Invited practices were asked to respond to a historical drawing or sketch from the Drawing Matters Foundation archives and imagine an alternative history of the original in the form of a physical model that can be read as both past and present.


CHA were presented with a drawing by John Lautner (1911-1994),  with a scheme for a semi-circular house raised on concrete piers for the artist Edgar Ewing on Mt Washington, Los Angeles (1952). Print with colour wash and crayon, 520 x 770mm. CHA responded with the proposal  ‘Strawberry Gothic Forever’.


Strawberry Gothic Forever draws on a number of architectural fantasies. Primarily, it can be seen as an anglicised version of Lautner’s house for Edgar Ewing, a circular structure intended for the Los Angeles hills but now embedded in the chalk face of the North Downs. But it also contains other references: to Buckminster Fuller’s dreams of a lightweight geodesic architecture, to the nostalgic craft utopia of William Morris and to the high-tech fantasies of the 1960s avant garde.


Lastly, the model has an autobiographical quality, a collection of objects and reference points that we have drawn together and re-assembled in our own corner of the world.  


For more information on the Alternative Histories exhibition see:





Charles Holland Architects

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