Commissioned as part of a group asked to consider what codes mean to contemporary drawing, Then House No. 2 adopts an expanded notion of ‘drawing codes’ to include political, aesthetic, and representational codes found in planning and preservation documents. Literal codes that swirl around architecture and which are implemented through architectural drawings. Then House No. 2 considers how drawing historically salient features or elements intentionally ‘wrong’ might pervert entrenched aesthetic codes, or how manipulating conventional drawing techniques can frustrate the legibility of an architectural form. Then House No. 2 begins as a re-drawing the SF Heritage Haas-Lilienthal House, a Queen Anne style Heritage House. However, it is not a copy, but rather incorporates alternative meanings of ‘drawing codes’ by imposing and manipulating current San Francisco planning or preservation codes onto the Haas Lilienthal House. Formal, spatial, and compositional manipulations to bay windows, porticos, dormers, gables, fenestration, stairs, and turrets pair with abstractions to common building materials like shingles, and uncommon effects like fat rolls, rubble stairs, and shaggy facades. Thus aesthetic, building, planning, and preservation codes are simultaneously upheld as well as manipulated, affording alternative expressions for traditional Victorian preservation codes.
“It should represent every known and unknown order of architecture; It should be so heavily plastered with ornament so as to conceal its theory of construction; It should be a restless, uncertain, frightful collection of details giving the effect of a nightmare about to explode.”
-Peter Shmidt, Architect of the Haas Lilienthal House upon which this drawing is based.