La Casa della Falsita – False House (1982)

Peter Wilson:

The 1982 ‘Casa Della Falsita’ exhibition was decidedly under the English architectural radar. Held in Munich at the Focus Furniture Gallery, the inspiration for the show was the result of a squabble with municipality, after the shop owner, Peter Pfeiffer, was denied planning permission to build a spiral staircase between his store and the basement. Frustrated but unthwarted, Pfeiffer and his wife decided to find another way to work with the space, inviting 11 architects to freely transform the whole building, but only through drawings and models.

The participants represented a trans-European neo-avant-garde grouping, one that perhaps even signalled a paradigm shift endemic to the early 1980s. This was a time when postmodernism (the Jencks/Graves/Mickey Mouse variety) was on the ascendancy in the architectural world.


I remember being taken by the idea of the false house, not least for its proximity, homonymically, to Terragni’s Casa del Fascio. I had by then also spent some time pursuing the concept of Architecture Parlante, and it seemed logical that if architecture could speak whether in terms of fascism or French Revolutionary Architecture (Ledoux),then it could also lie. This linguistic capacity was a return to the emblematic, exiled by modernism but now re-legitimised as a new figuration (1980s New Wild Painting). To this rhetorical end individual window groups on my Leopoldstrasse facade chatter in different languages. Some speak in high modern, others whimper ‘we are not windows; we are flags’. Another, communicated to the exhibition model-maker as ‘grass in glass’, mutated to ‘lawn in lantern’. Six more windows mutely accept their morose fate in a traditional rectangular gridded format. In total, this facade of window languages adds up to post-Babel chatter – the linguistic turn of the 1980s. (…)“

la casa della falsita_flase house_1982_peter wilson_study_model_studien_modell