In the work of fiction ‘Korrektur’ (1975), by the Austrian novelist Thomas Bernard, the nameless narrator tells the story of his late friend Roithamer, a Cambridge academic obsessed with building the perfect Cone at the “precise center of the Kobernausser Forest”. Roithamer, the character, intended the Cone to be a house for his sister in their home country Austria, away from the family estate in Altensam. Bernhard, the author, used some non-fiction references taken from the famous episode of Wittgenstein, the Austrian philosopher turned Cambridge academic, which co-designed and obsessively oversaw the construction of his sister’s house in Vienna from 1925 to 1928. As a scientist himself, Roithamer uses mathematical precision (Reason) over any random decision (Chance) and (so he thinks) personal feelings (Emotion) during the process of designing the Cone. The result, barely described towards the end of the novel, portraits the Cone as a quasi-monastic building of geometric rigor, filled with cells and sparse spaces, surrounded by a powerful black forest, in a unlikely mix of rationalism and phenomenology.
This project starts with a provocation towards the fictitious Roithamer (and by extension to Thomas Bernhard) placing a Cube and not a Cone in the precise center of the Kobernausser Forest. However, a conical impression can be perceived through the crescendo of mass and density from top to bottom. The exercise emulates Roithamer’s original in respect of everything else, where spaces are intended to be austere, dim and articulated between enclosed towards the exterior and completely open to the elements.