Client: Mrs. Amirshahi
Location: Karaj, Iran, Islamic Republic of
Completion date: 2010
The project called for a multi-dwelling unit on a rectangular lot.
The artwork was generated through research and interpretation of the site’s unique cultural matrix.
A 30cm thick brick wall enclosed the property; this was the only remnant of a boundary that once contained a life. Throughout the years it had accumulated layers of hand painted advertisements.
A fragment of the wall would be preserved, through precise instructions the chosen wall segment was carefully dismantled stone by stone, numbered and keyed on the ground and re-erected in the building lobby as the ontological link with the site's memory.
“You employ stone, wood, and concrete, and with these materials you build houses and palaces: that is construction. Ingenuity is at work. But suddenly you touch my heart, you do me good. I am happy and I say: ‘This is beautiful.’ That is Architecture. Art enters in.(…)” Le Corbusier
Architecture is a curious amalgam of utilitarian and social aspirations. Insofar as it is a product of its functional requirements, it’s a tool of utility, not art; but to the extent that it is a container of life, a repository of feelings, the mechanical aspect disappears and the transformative or the artistic dimension comes to the fore. From this viewpoint the decisive factor in architecture is the transitioning of the technical into the tactile or poetic dimension, that is the quality by which it is assimilated or perceived. The perceiver is not a separate entity but a contingent fact and component of a poiesis. Once integrated, art is no more an external agent to architecture as the observer to art, the aim is a unified whole by planting the subject in the perpetual mis-en-scene of the lived experience imbued with the spirit of a place.
Soltani LeClercq is an art and architecture venture founded in 1991 by Francine LeClercq and Ali Soltani.
Francine LeClercq is an international artist with degrees in interior architecture and fine art from The school of Decoratif arts in Strasbourg, France.
Ali Soltani is an architect who received his architectural education at Pratt Institute in New York.
The nature of our practice is heuristic based on research and experimentation concurrently initiated and carried through by each in our respective modes, presented in mixed media, discussed and developed further throughout work in progress. While this is our usual mode of operation, it is far from a predetermined multi-disciplinary approach, rather it is simply a corollary of our collaboration, as both, the architectural and artistic procedures are ( with respect to a given problem) founded on survey and the specificity of a distinct location, hence the project is developed as the ontological extension of its site conforming to local architectural regulations and programmatic requisites.