One the themes of Doing Disability Differently is, of course, is to see dis/ability from a different perspective. Koolhaas Houselife is a documentary where a cleaner is seen having to haul her vacuum up a tight and enclosed spiral staircase, in a villa in Bordeaux designed for a wheelchair user, and pointedly aimed at getting the attention of the ‘able-bodied’ visitor.
As noted in the Architectural Review ‘This house needs celebrating, because it goes beyond assuming disability is only about accessibility and compliance, treating it instead as a central design generator. But it is also troubling. Despite making a powerful commentary on disability, the project both reproduces disability and ability stereotypically as an unequal binary relationship (albeit reversed) and treats it as a ‘one-off’ − as an issue specific to this building because of its client − rather than building on any wider understanding or more general design approach.’
Excerpt of Koolhaas Houselife on Vimeo