What can be done with a haunted building?
Artist-architects Christophe Berdaguer and Marie Péjus have decided to embrace architecture’s ghosts with their Gue(ho)st House, a transformation of a historical building on the grounds of La Synagogue de Delme Contemporary Art Center in France.
Gue(ho)st House takes its name and idea from Marcel Duchamp’s famous wordplay: a Guest + A Host = A Ghost. This idea was fittingly borrowed for the remodeling of this multiple-use structure, the ground level of which contains a reception center and office, and the upper level of which will provide accomodation for visiting artists, students, and professionals.
The artists stated: “To us, architecture is a space for imaginative possibilities, for telling stories to ourselves and others. It is above all the materialisation of a collective dream, that of a community of people and ghosts.” We were so intrigued by this building that we decided to ask Berdaguer and Péjus a few more questions….
The building has quite a few ghosts -- it's been a prison, a school, and a funeral home. Did you want to exorcise them from the space, or commune with its ghosts?
We did not exorcise them – we considered the project along with the archeology of the place. It looks to the past, but above all it projects ourselves in the future.
The exterior of the building is extremely eye-catching. Did you transform the multi-functional interior of the house as well?
There is a visual continuity between interior and exterior with the whiteness, but we kept the patina of age: the stairs, the doors etc.
You are also artists yourselves. Part of the function of the house is as an artist residence. How did you think about designing a building and space for artists to work in?
The public commission didn't imply the transformation of the interior (as well as the house): we simply suggested different things, for instance, the quality of the wall, the floors, and the lights. The house includes a simple studio for a short stay with a room, a kitchen and bathroom.
Centre d'Art Contemporaine La Synagogue de Delme
33 rue Poincaré 57590