The current transformation from a society based on the production of goods to a society characterised by information and communication leads to increasing interdependence in both time and space between work, shopping, entertainment and traditional domestic activities. The introduction of new technologies into homes and the different physical and communicative expressionsthisimpliesforthelivingspacestheconceptsofbeingprivateand of being public becomes crucial. The borders between the private and the public at home are opened up but to large an extent the existing building stock seems to lack the qualities needed to support those changes. My work ”shapingthefutureofdomestic”isanatlaspresenteddomestichybridswhere the concept of home gets altered with the addition of a special attributebased on someone’s needs or preferences. For example, how could theliving conditions reshaped if a water tank is an essential part of someone’s dream house(domestic pool)? Or how an abandonted wall could be transformedinto a house with new living potentials (living in a wall). Society as a whole develops new social structures, cultural forms and new ways to work and live, which also occur the concept of home and this work tries toexplore domestic space not only as a functional container, but as an essential part of man’sidentity.
What prompted the project?
The whole work is driven by my personal interest to discover boundaries on what seems domestic and explore new types of domesticity. Nowadays, in a period characterized by social transformations, continuous technological improvements and political uncertainties, the concept of home becomes more complex. The traditional concepts of domestic space are becoming obsolete and are being transformed into updated and augmented conceptions, leading the house to mutate into a hybrid where new qualities of use are emerged. Retail, work, cultural and leisure, programs that historically coexisted in mixed-use buildings, are now blended together in one single space. In such a space the limit between the private and the public sphere becomes increasingly blurry, causing them to co-exist in several occasions. It is precisely around those blurring limits, between what seems public and what seems domestic, where this project is constructed.
How and to what extent does this project develop and stem from your previous researches/projects?
The main idea for the project was born whilst researching for my master degree thesis that is entitled “Typologies_living-working”. The goal of the project was to explore possible transformations of domestic space when the working parameter penetrates in home. When I finished the research, I was fascinated by the idea of home as a process which raises the user as the main creator of his own way of living. By creating different case studies, I started to illustrate domestic stories with a number of concrete user situations related to someone’s needs, hobbies, lifestyle and condition at a specific period. For example, HOME YARD image depicts the various living conditions that are spread over a garden full of trees and plants for someone who loves to live near the nature. However, a sculptor can think of this space full of sculptures or art, and a bicycle lover can imagine this space as a garage for wheels and tools instead of plants and trees. It is a place where there is no limit, where everything becomes a continuous open space, a place of circulation, human interactions and unexpected surprises.
What defined your interest in the notion of the domestic?
Among all spaces around man, home is the most direct space related to man that affects him and gets affected by him on a daily basis. The house as a specific mode of dwelling originates with a desire for stability, not only by the need for protection from a hostile territory but also by a desire to settle and to give ritual form to life. Its function is to provide an orientation and continuity on which patterns of behavior can be established and preserved. French philosopher Gaston Bachelard wrote: ‘’home, before anything, is an inner space and location. Its most important virtue is to raise dreams. And finally, home provides the facility, for us, to drowns into our dreams, in tranquility ’’. This complex system of merge of functional needs and spiritual transcendence within the same place makes the domestic typology so interesting.
How do you approach the design of the home for individual clients?
As an architect I always design the space but I don’ t live in it so I like to give space for the unknown in my work and I prefer not to define everything but let the user figure it and come to their own conclusions. For example in the Domestic Fortress illustration arched rooms are spread around a central space which could be used as a working place, a garden, a court or a collective space if more than one person live in the home. The possibilities are endless and the space itself allows the user to control the private and public areas varying in time and needs. Finally, the main challenge for our hyper dense metropolis is to provide homes and not houses, avoiding alienation through solutions that are tailored to a specific human being but
simultaneously taking into consideration the ephemerality that characterized our contemporary life.
How has this notion changed and developed in the past few decades?
The basic function of a home is its ability to offer shelter. Shelter from the environment, threatening animals or hostile human beings. Home has also been the central place in man’s life ever since the emergence of an agricultural society when man transformed from being a nomad to living in a defined place. With the change of technology, lifestyle, work and social life through history, the construction and physical form of the home has changed. So has its use, and along with these changes, its meaning for its inhabitants. From being a rather public place in the agricultural society, the home in the industrial society became more private, basically arranged for a single family living on its own. Now, in the information society, the role of the home seems to be in a process of change once again. The dwelling appears to play a more central role in many people’s lives than it did in the later phases of industrial society.
Where do you see the future of the house as an ever so more open or private space?
Home, in general, is perceived as a private place. Technology is breaking up the traditional boundaries of the home, making the home more public than it used to be in the recent past. The home will have to adapt to a wide range of new activities, such as work, education, medical consultancy and shopping because of the Internet. These activities expand beyond the outer walls of the dwelling and engage the inhabitants in remote digital undertakings, from a physical place defined as “home”.
Today 55% of the world population lives in cities, this is set to increase dramatically by 2050, how and to what extent will this impact our relationship to the domestic?
The physical world has become more accessible through the virtual world. We are all always connected, regardless of our geographical location. All at once, distances, personal relations and structures that rule our society are reshaped by the influence of virtual media. The time spent in the dwellings is increasing while the size of households is decreasing, making more space available for each person. Moreover, market pressure and density lead to smaller spaces. Space is expensive and technology is ubiquitous leading to micro smart hybrid domestic solutions.
What role do we as architects play in maintain and challenging this relationship?
In the era of “connecting” and “disconnecting”, the integration of public activities in the domestic environment opens up the dwelling to the outside world and brings the outside world into the dwelling. Architects have a major challenge which is to create spaces that can adapt and be flexible, but at the same time are stable enough to exist physically and be economically viable. Architecture has to respond to paradoxes.
What is for you the architect's most important tool?
Creativity. Finnish architect Alvar Aalto said “You can’t chew pencils and spit ideas”. Being creative is work, it is a process, it takes time and I think is instrumental in keeping our inner child that looks at the world with playfulness and curiosity in order to explore new solutions.