The Cooper Union
School of Architecture


In 1990, as part of a proposal for the Marking the City Boundaries of Groningen project, John Hejduk wrote:

"During the past 15 years I have a singular method/way of practicing my loved discipline architecture. I have worked out of a room in my house. The room measures 7 feet by 9 feet. From this room has come the thoughts on a new way at looking at architecture and the construction of structures. The way is osmotic, by a form of osmosis. I am also a teacher and I fabricate books. When I work on my drawings I listen to music and I read. When I take a break from my work/room I go into the garden which my wife Gloria has so tenderly... tenderly and lovingly created. Like her the garden is a source of tranquility and inspiration. Together we live a simple life, an almost 19th-century life. She speaks for herself and has graciously taught me about music and literature... and about the growth of life. We cherish our privacies and we love literature... the silent word. Within this atmosphere work proceeds, structures are built through the social participation (almost medieval) of students, of architects, of engineers, of artists, of faculties, of a community of souls (through the world). "

Eleven years later, the Social Contract is alive and well in Groningen. Through the persistent efforts of several members of that community of souls – who captured the spirit of the initial design – Wall House 2 exists in the built world. Its manifestation is the story of a developer, a real estate agent and a group of city planners who spent eight years negotiating with various potential buyers, to no avail. A story so unusual that the developer, frustrated with the failed attempts to realize the house, decided to finance the construction himself, without a client. It is also the story of a project architect and devoted group of builders, who had never constructed anything so technically complex and artistically rewarding. And perhaps the final chapter of the story is about a neighborhood's inhabitants, who have fallen in love with the house and consider it an honor to be living with this great work of modern architecture.