Reading the first diary and the last family house of Vladimír Karfík

Monika Mitášová


The paper is based on the parallel reading of the first Vladimír Karfík’s diary (1916) and his last family house (1968-72, Brno, Czech Republic). The first Karfík’s diary trancribes summer holiday memories, fantasies and ideas of fourteen years old college student mostly interested in piano playing, foreign languages, literature, drawing, photography and field trips. Reading of an intimate student diary is focused on the early dwelling fantasies and memories dealing with parents’, grandparents’ and foreign houses inhabited during Karfík’s childhood. Diary images of dwelling meet the dwelling concept of the last house built much later by a skilled and internationally recognised architect not to form an archetype, pre-text or an explanation of the last house, but to act as its double – doppelgänger forming and addressing the difference between widely dreamed, poetic dwelling space depicted in the diary and the late functionalist: scientifically coordinated architectural space embodied by the Karfík’s last house. Such a diary-house reading is critically compared with Karfík’s later writings on architecture: papers, lectures and memoires named Architect Recalls his Memories. It is also crititally differentiated from Gaston Bachelard’s Poetics of Space as well as from the established critical writings on architecture of Vladimír Karfík.

Keywords: first diary, last family house, ideas, student, fantasies, memories, Vladimír Karfík