Choreographing Encounters


The Lancaster/Hanover Masque was Written in 1990 by John Hejduk and Alvin Boyarslay.The Masque Subject of the masque is the critique of the city and its community. The book largely represents an altogether different planning model to design in the form of a matrix, a list with numbered “objects and subjects”. The Masque represents an anti-statement to boredom and disappointment of the modern times (post industrial era).
The Masque

Dematerialization of thought : In the Lancaster/Hanover Masque , topological relationships are not materialized in the form of streets and roads , nor are places institutionalized by addresses. Instead, the Masque describes a different reality - one which consists of an infinite number of possible thought - choreographies within a liminal space . It describes a mental chora , suspended between play and seriousness - a liminal chora with an elliptical character , in which we are constantly in motion , oscillating between two “Voided Centres” which balance each other , at the same time drawn by the implosive energy of the riddle and pushed along by the nihilism of laughter.The labyrinth/masque simulates the enigma of fundamental questioning of dwelling by choosing eternal wandering and refuses any answer. Wandering deepens the encounter and the intensity of the images seen that widens the ease of recognition and flattening of these recognized experiences and histories.


The formality of Hejduk structures seem extremely humanised. It made me question if those shapes could or could not be termed as ornaments. And after abandonment of the renaissance and the modern era was it time to go back to some aspects of ornamentation again? Now that the distribution model has become more horizontal is it time to rethink the emotional (expressive) power of architecture? Will it really help us cope the shock of modernism and the isolation of the post-industrial era of capitalism? And if form where to be bought back into the city will they manifest the vernacular craft or a different kind of concrete poured brutal ornamentation?

How will the transition occur? In terms of Hejduk if we were to flatten out the embellished, modern and postmodern contexts of each country/region how would these facades shape themselves? To what degrees will they cultivate their histories? And how different a façade in India to a façade in New York be?

1) Summer visitors place – The summer visitor
So the summer visitor’s freight train disposes it’s cargo into bargeman’s barge. The farm manager
delivers a bouquet of flowers to her. Cezanne’s paintings are her main topic of study. She plays cards
with the farm manager and the fabricator. She is also a good friend of the time keeper.
Space: St. Louis, caboose, barge, the house of the suicide.

2) Bargeman’s place – the bargeman
Bargeman lives with his wife whose face reminds him of different places. His mistress lived at the
music Hall. He treasured a print given to him in Antwerp. It pictured a black Sea gull flying in
between the strips of green and brown wallpaper. A French painter made the work.
Space : Amsterdam barge, music Hall, Antwerp

7) Weather station – the weatherman
The weather man is in daily contact with the balloonist.
Space: Wheatfield’s of the Midwest

8) Plot division – the surveyor
the plot division structure is shared by the Sexton and the surveyor in it’s function. The surveyor is
elected by the farm council. The surveyor is dependent upon the balloonist.

11) Garden plots – the gardeners
each member of the community is allotted a garden plot. The Arugula man sits on a walnut chair. He nods away at intervals and repeats Arugula....I sell Arugula. The buyers place coins in the blue
enamel cup next to the chair.
Space : garden plots nort of the hedge walk

19) Sower’s house – the sower
an architect from Berlin photographed the grain storage. They thought of him as rude. The sower is
sexually attracted to the Cellist.
Space : Lincoln, Nebraska, French landscape

54) Inspector’s house – the inspector
investigating disappearance of the girl bycyclist,crucifixion of an old scare crows, robbery of a
painting owned by the collector, moves of the accused, murder of a rare peacock, the house of Dr.
Blanche.
Space : shooting gallery

66) Balloonist unit – the balloonist
selected from a manufacturers catalogue.he is a close friend and companion of the retired general.
He also takes part in the festivities of the travelling performers. He accompanies the summer visitor
in her arrivals and departures.

68) Time keepers place – the keeper of the time
his employment was terminated when the ferris wheel collapsed it was a tragedy for there
were children on the wheel when it fell. In each seat of the ferris wheel was a dead child.


The formality of Hejduk structures seem extremely humanised. It made me question if those shapes could or could not be termed as ornaments. And after abandonment of the renaissance and the modern era was it time to go back to some aspects of ornamentation again? Now that the distribution model has become more horizontal is it time to rethink the emotional (expressive) power of architecture? Will it really help us cope the shock of modernism and the isolation of the post-industrial era of capitalism? And if form where to be bought back into the city will they manifest the vernacular craft or a different kind of concrete poured brutal ornamentation?

How will the transition occur? In terms of Hejduk if we were to flatten out the embellished, modern and postmodern contexts of each country/region how would these facades shape themselves? To what degrees will they cultivate their histories? And how different a façade in India to a façade in New York be?