top of page

non-typological architecture

Alchemists House, Denver, 2021, ONTAc

Alchemist's House

Alchemist's House is a 2200-square-foot house to be built in a rapidly gentrifying Denver 'art district.' Because of a limited budget, and the architect's and client's inability to decide on or tolerate any particular furniture or room arrangement staying the same for more than a month, it was decided that the house should essentially have no fixed interior subdivisions. The house will be completed without interior walls and therefore the configurations of space that characterise the formulaic market-driven typology and housing types built by developers as single-family housing in Denver. Instead, a kind of 4d non-figurative architecture, a 6'6" structural grid will be ‘deployed,’ allowing walls and floors to be inserted in 1000s of possible configurations by future inhabitants. Utilities and plumbing will not be concealed in the walls and can therefore easily be plugged in or out of and easily adjusted to whatever location. In its initial configuration, the house will be fitted with 2 cooking areas, one in an interior rock garden and jungle, and the other in the loft. Because 80-90% of the inhabitants of private single-family housing in this area of Denver are creative workers who spend at least 3-4 days a week at home the house will provide a kind of inspiration, or perhaps even ‘call,’ to 'keep thinking and building' via its DIY and reconfigurable internal organisation and unfinished aesthetic. However, to counterbalance the total undecidability of the endless project of its reconfiguration, it must also feature calming, and rhythmically ordered elements that allow one to spend long hours – (and perhaps in the not-too-distant future, their entire life) on the inside! The ground floor is therefore an interior garden with a mixture of trees and plants, from delicate to hardy, intermixed with giant, heavy boulders anchored to the ground and which can only be moved if the house is demolished. The house steals its facade and envelope from Gio Ponti's 1971 Denver Art Museum. The term ‘Alchemy’ is derived from Greek and the Arabic ‘al-kīmiyā’ and refers to the process of transmutation by which to fuse with or reunite with the divine or original form.” 

Zürich, Zentralbibliothek, Ms. Rh. 172: Aurora consurgens (

bottom of page