People who live in glass houses shouldn’t live near fireworks factories

We’ve received some interesting suggestions from readers recently (send more, more, more)


and one of the most interesting was this house of adaptively reused windows in the alternative community Christiania in Copenhagen, sent by Kristian Seier who says

the glass house and its many neighbours are seriously under threat these years, but the wild, everyday poetry of this building has rarely, if ever, been achieved by any professional, Danish architect, and it should be listed rather than razed.

His commentary says it for us, a sad reflection on lost ideals and the critical importance of understanding layering if we are to understand history:

le corbusier famously claimed that all architecture could communicate was ideas. and the original ideas of christiania are well put by the best buildings out there: an open community of equals; a deep distrust, no, dismissal of authorities – including architects; a deep trust in the creative potential of ordinary people when left to govern their own lives. modesty. individualism. sustainability.

today, there is a strong political will to tear the houses down. they are illegal, follow no building code, have no permits. the old copenhagen defense line on which they are situated must be cleared to protect the city’s cultural heritage.

but these buildings are cultural heritage too. and while the 20th century has left us all with a distrust of utopian and idealist thinking, tearing them down will be acting in a dangerous denial of history.

Some commenters compared this building to the Hexenhaus of Alison and Peter Smithson,


their most only endearing construction but we feel that’s a purely formalist and superficial comparison. It reminds us more of the work of the Russian architect and artist Alexander Brodsky whose Paper Architecture satirised the “all plans and no buildings” path to architectural celebrity.

vodka pavilion

We hope one day to emulate his Vodka Ceremony Pavilion with a Beer Drinking Pavilion in our garden (although since last Saturday night we have been considering an Exploding Fireworks Factory Viewing Pavilion complete with artfully broken windows reminiscent of those now found on one side of our house).