Gue(ho)st House – Delme, France - Atlas Obscura
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Gue(ho)st House

Delme, France

This building’s ghostly exterior reflects its former lives as a prison, school, and funeral home. 

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On the grounds of La Synagogue de Delme Contemporary Art Center in Delme, France, stands a ghostly sight: the Gue(ho)st House, a gallery and visitor center with a strikingly spectral exterior.

When the art center was looking to redevelop its grounds, it began to search for private proposals. The goal was to make the center more visible from the road, but in a way that would take into account the memory of the place while building for the future.

Enter French artist-architects Christophe Berdaguer and Marie Péjus, who turned their attention to one particular building. This building had a long history, having previously served as a prison, a school, and a funeral home. As such, people had come and gone continuously, leaving lingering traces of the past within its four walls. Ghosts, if you will.

So Berdaguer and Péjus set about turning the building into an actual ghost house, or perhaps more correctly the ghost of a house. By covering the entire house with blocks of polystyrene, they gave the building its chunky form. They then covered the whole thing with two coats of sprayed polyurethane resin, which provided a solid, waterproof skin. The naturally yellow resin was then painted white, creating the ghostly façade that appears to drip onto, and merge with, the ground below.

The inspiration and the name for the Gue(ho)st House came from the French-American painter and sculptor Marcel Duchamp and his famous wordplay: A Guest + A Host = A Ghost. And in its new role as a visitor center, the Gue(ho)st House fulfills all three: The art center is the host, the visitors are the guests, and both come together in what is now a strikingly ghostly house.

Know Before You Go

The Gue(ho)st House is located on the grounds of La Synagogue de Delme Contemporary Art Center in the village of Delme in northeastern France. Delme is about 181 miles directly east of Paris, and about a 30-minute drive from Nancy or Metz. The art center is open Wednesday to Saturday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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