Charles Simonds

Growth House, 1975

With this project, defined by Simonds as his “only really good idea”, the artist continues his quest for an authentic fusion between man and nature. This “growth-house”, which nurtures at the same time as it protects, is devised as a self-sufficient and self-renewable dwelling from season to season. It is made of clay bricks containing seeds. These latter germinate, grow and thus transform the structure, which is converted from being a shelter to being a source of food, harvested and then eaten. If the dream of an edible architecture conjures up the world of fairytales and childhood, Simonds constructs the image of a universal house, at once “hermaphroditic” (encompassing the male characteristics of construction and protection, with the female principle of fertility), and cosmic, through its circular form, connected with the organic laws of evolution as much as with the calendar cycles present in archaic societies. The artist consolidated this project in 1994, in the form of an installation on a 1:1 scale, which was shown at the Fundacio la Caixa in Barcelona.

Aurélien Vernant

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