The House: The Waken Desire

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Iwan Baan / Tatiana Bilbao

The House: The Waken Desire



Fall 2018

Studio Report



Iwan Baan / Tatiana Bilbao

The House: The Waken Desire



The House: The Waken Desire As a studio, “The House: The Waken Desire,” critically examines the latent assumptions or incentives driving the contemporary architectural image, and how the photographic process can rather be employed in favor of the people who will inhabit the spaces. This collection of student work seeks alternatives to the practice of either neglecting people from the architectural image or populating a render with reductive, stereotype-driven stock imagery. The first stage of this pursuit produced a series of photographs that focus on domestic space by way inhabitants’ daily activities and particularities. The studio’s final project was the design of a house, each of which presents a synthetic family portrait that depicts real needs, desires, and habituated customs.

Studio Instructor Iwan Baan / Tatiana Bilbao Teaching Assistant Eduardo Mediero Students David Kim, Alexandros Spentzaris, Minyong Kim, Danny Saenz, Eduardo Mediero, Ethan Poh, Hiroshi Haneko, Hye Rim Shin, Jonathan Yeung, Proey Liao, Meric Arslanoglu, Marianna Gonzalez, Sol Yoon Mid-Review Critics Simon Frommenwiler, Tilo Herlach, Jimenez Lai, Jing Liu, Débora Mesa, Anna Puigjaner Final Review Critics Emanuel Christ, Jose Castillo, Simon Frommenwiler, Kersten Geers, Simon Hartmann, Tilo Herlach, Sharon Johnston, Zeina Koreitem, Niklas Maak, Débora Mesa, David Van Severen


Title

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Preface

Projects & Photo Essays

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The House: The Waken Desire Tatiana Bilbao

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The Empty House David Kim

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Photo Essay Iwan Baan

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A House, a Trip, and a Calendar Alexandros Spentzaris

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T++ Minyong Kim

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A Domestic [Dis]Place Danny Saenz

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A House without Ownership Eduardo Mediero

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Intersection & Interaction Ethan Poh

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Mexico City Breathes: A Living Pavilion Hiroshi Kaneko

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Architecture of Desire Hye Rim Shin

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Living without the House Jonathan Yeung

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Beyond the Frame Proey Liao

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Glitch 1987 Meric Arslanoglu

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9 Rooms Marianna Gonzalez

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Images as Impressions Sol Yoon

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Contributors

Essays 22

Beyond the Unit: A Speculative Imagery of Housing and New Forms of Domesticity Niklas Maak

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A Studio is not a Textbook Jose Castillo


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The House: The Waken Desire

As a studio, “The House: The Waken Desire” took an analytical, critical, and ultimately projective approach to the house. We live in a time when uniform housing is being rolled out on tracts of land at the edges of cities throughout the world; this is especially true in our own context of Mexico. The creation of these neighborhoods only contributes to the desolation that comes with the impossibility of understanding our own identities, as well as how to belong to a community. The studio aimed to look at the ways different people occupy their homes and identify individuals’ needs to understand distinct ways of living. Rather than rely on the architect’s definition of domesticity, interpretations of domestic life can expand to develop collective and shared domesticity in order to focus on defining living spaces engaged with people and their communities. Expanding our interpretation of types of living required a methodology of seeing. I taught this course along with Iwan Baan, and integrated photography as a tool for seeing and understanding. Iwan’s photographs are deeply rooted in depicting everyday life, and expressively show both how he engages with people and the way they inhabit spaces. My work critically addresses social and collective dwelling. The studio’s objective was based on the belief that by looking at ways different people inhabit their spaces, we are better equipped to understand why they inhabit their homes in those ways, and therefore we can design better domestic spaces. Through photography we pursued the exercise of seeing of how people live, and from there the students defined and illustrated their own new definitions of domesticity.

Tatiana Bilbao

Understanding Domesticity Photography is currently understood as a primary descriptor of architecture. However, photographs do not neutrally translate space into two dimensions—the camera curates and modifies the shape and proportions of the surrounding space. The lens isolates and manipulates a small part of a complex environment through which the photographer obtains an image that corresponds with a preconceived concept. In the studio, Iwan and I explored the relationship between architecture and photography through the capacity of botho construct visual representations and imaginations of the most universal, and thus emotionally resonant, space: the house. Modernist architecture employed photography as a supposedly transparent medium of representation and a powerful communication tool. However, architects such as Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe carefully curated each frame, avoided the use of human scale, and airbrushed the photographs, effectively aestheticizing their projects. They erased distracting elements such as ornamentation or incongruous surfaces in order to emphasize sharp geometries. More strikingly, certain editorial modifications actively precluded context through the elimination of recognizable references to the sites. The actual image of architecture hasn’t changed dramatically from that of the early 20th century. Rather, we employ a computational toolkit to reproduce the photographic image, thus elevating a Photoshop-oriented design process. Contemporary architecture’s aesthetic priorities can be distilled to a two-dimensional image, rather than the material and sensorial qualities of the space. Today’s image-oriented paradigm of architectural production does not


The final studio project, which was the design of a collective domestic space, started with the assignment of a synthesis of a family portrait imagining real needs, desires, and habituated customs. Through photographs, students designed a contemporary conception of housing not merely visually appealing but also fundamentally habitable. Students created the program of their houses through the album images, and all spaces had to be described with photographs, drawing, collages, and other forms of visualization before being translated into three-dimensional physical models. Ultimately, the studio used a feedback loop between photographic imagery, observation of lived domestic spaces, and design to create an architecture that was sensitive to the experience of the user. By acknowledging the constructive aspects of image-making in architectural photography, the students expanded their definition of spatial analysis and were able to design houses for specific users through a unique lens. Finally, we learned the difficulty of objectively defining domesticity; when we developed this understanding further, we discovered that domesticity incites an individual definition based on our own desires and ways of living. By the end of the semester, the studio produced 13 projects, all with very different approaches to how and what domesticity and shared domesticity can mean.

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reflect nor prioritize the embodied reality of the people who will occupy the space. Nevertheless, some photographers and architects are actively working to present a more “real” or “complete” image of architecture, as exemplified by the Iwan’s work. His photography communicates an architecture that cannot be divorced from its context, nor from the scenarios and societies that dwell within. Photography is thus a medium to establish deeper conversations about the projects as living entities; the camera becomes a powerful tool to invite access into the inner life of buildings. Photographs allow others an imaginary possession of space, while simultaneously enabling self-reflexive pride and dignity toward their respective spaces. By using photography as a method to explore the typology of the house, the studio also examined different ways of living. In a growing sharing economy, there exists an expanding capability for changing the way domestic spaces interact with urban spaces. Cities have the potential to offer new relationships between public and private, and can even promote collective spaces that encourage community and interaction by blurring domestic and city boundaries. Homes need to be designed to allow diversity in how they are lived in and experienced. The studio critically examined the latent assumptions or incentives driving the contemporary architectural image, and questioned how the image drives the contemporary production of domestic spaces. We also tried to critically understand how the photographic process can be employed in favor of the people who will inhabit the spaces. The studio searched for alternatives to the practice of either neglecting people from the architectural image or populating a render with reductive, stereotype-driven stock imagery. The first stage of the studio produced a series of photographs that focus on domestic space by way of their inhabitants’ daily habits and particularities. During this assignment, there was a field trip to Mexico City to visit iconic Mexican architecture, as well as various peripheral towns in Hidalgo and San Luis Potosí. There, the students used photography to understand and capture traditional housing spaces with their inhabitants. The resultant images from this trip provided a critical groundwork for the students as they developed their final architectural projects. Taking what they learned, the students created photo essays to analyze a case study of housing typology, social housing, private housing, or co-op living through images of lived experience of the architecture.


Photo Essay

Iwan Baan



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Beyond the Unit: A Speculative Imagery of Housing and New Forms of Domesticity

Niklas Maak


thing that modernism was said to marginalize, hide, and annihilate: the impact of unexpected dynamics, chaotic forces, the role of time, the influence of weathering, water currents, heating, dehydration, erosion. He took pictures of footprints in the sand and bare legs sinking into wet sand near water. Then the shells appear once again, casting bizarre-looking shadows when lit from the side, acquiring a surreal plasticity. He took pictures of the moment a wet piece of wood sparkled in the sunlight, as though it were not enough for him to take the objet trouvé home with him, but it was also necessary to prevent the ephemeral impression from vanishing forever. He thus appropriated an object in two ways: by keeping it, and by taking its picture. It would seem that Le Corbusier feared the kind of disappointment later felt by the man in Italo Calvino’s story, “Collezione di sabbia“ (“Collection of Sand”), who collects sand from various beaches only to discover that its evocative power evaporates when removed from its original location. In “Talks with Students from the Schools of Architecture” (1942), Le Corbusier calls these “objets à réaction poétique” for the first time: “A pebble polished by the ocean . . . a broken brick rounded by lake or river waters, or bones, fossils, tree roots or algae, sometimes almost petrified, or whole shells smooth as porcelain or carved in Greek or Hindu fashion . . . broken shells that reveal their amazing spiral structure . . . seeds, flints, crystals, pieces of stone and wood . . . ,” things that, “tortured by the elements, demonstrate physical laws—wear and tear, erosion, splintering. They possess not only plastic qualities, but also exceptional poetic potential.” In a similar way, the architect took images of vernacular North African architecture and settlements. They represented the antithesis of urban envi-

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In recent years, architectural photography has been repeatedly criticized for its aesthetic-driven formalism. Buildings were presented as minimalist sculptures: the photographer had to pay attention to surface design, facade rhythm, and materiality, and then highlight these formal qualities in his or her work. The users, or residents of this architecture, were either not present in the pictures at all, or they took on the role of living garlands whose presence had to emphasize the qualities of the architecture. They were the ornaments that modern architecture could no longer afford. As in advertising photography for other consumer goods such as cars, the house shone like a sculptural fetish in these pictures—no traces of devastation and no sign of forces acting beyond perfect surfaces in and on architecture: the impact of a necessarily chaotic life, modifications, wear and tear, and other influences of a complex environment were banished. It has not yet been evaluated how this form of propaganda image production impacts the training and thinking of architects—how it conditions them to produce and propagate beautiful sculptures, and subsequently suppresses any idea that architecture could be something else. However, the obvious penchant of photography for object-oriented aestheticization is only half the truth. Since the emergence of photography as a medium of representation, it was not only used as a propaganda tool, but also as a medium of cognitive production; for almost a century, it has served architects as an epistemological tool. Take Le Corbusier: During his walks on the shores of southern France, he took hundreds of photographs of splintered wood, cracked seashells, ripples formed in the sand by the outgoing tide, and boulders hollowed out by the sea. In these photographs, he closely examined every-


to distinguish between front and rear, to say whether a dark area is a plane or a hole, or to establish whether a brown stroke is a bar or an opening. This is a dizzying realm of constant metamorphosis, with overlappings and indeterminacy, with hard and soft edges, and hot and cold areas rather than rooms marked off clearly by walls. It would be too easy to reduce these spatial situations to the most common cliché of contemporary architectural criticism—the much-loved blurring of inside and outside space that is widely accepted as something intrinsically good, although most people are unable to explain why this blurring should be a beneficial quality. Bilbao, Baan, and the students go further than this. They question the axiomatics of housing. Instead of beginning with a program that prescribes a building of 10 units, they start by deconstructing the notion of a unit itself: What is a unit? Do we really need the same typical arrangement of kitchen, bedrooms, and corridors? How does the preconceived idea of “a unit” for a single person or a small family shape—and slow down—the imagination? How do certain fixed formats like the unit discourage architects and users of architecture to critically analyze the status quo, which is by no means without alternatives? How does the language of domesticity, with its clichés and formulas, prevent designers from inventing and making space for new forms of dwelling? This deconstruction is also a political démarche in times where a lot seems to derive from the idea of walls and partitions, and exclusive definitions of identity. Looking at the intellectual conservatism in the field of housing, we definitely need a deeper deconstruction of domesticity—other units of measure, different terminology, and another language to describe and invent new forms of domestic space. Photography can be a critical tool in this process, and language another. Take the definitions of “private” and “public” space. Neither are anthropological constants (e.g., a “need for protection”); they were the result of a clearly identifiable historical process of development driven by clearly identifiable interests of a particular group of people. When a person has been lying on a bed for eight hours, writing and sending emails, making business calls, buying or selling things on the Internet, Skyping, and posting content, and then puts aside their cell phone and iPad and goes out onto an empty nighttime street for a stroll—what is that person doing? Is that person moving from a private space into a public one? Or is he or she looking for an intimate, private

Beyond the Unit

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ronments designed swiftly at the drawing board and erected equally swiftly in concrete. The “poetic potential” of these objects and buildings was examined and extrapolated through photography. This resulted in a different idea about the production of space, as proven by Le Corbusier’s Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, France: the building seems to be molded out of the topography of a hill, and assembled like a collage around ritual movements, liturgical needs, and the position of the sun during the day. Architecture thus turned from a hermetic object that prescribes certain forms of behavior though its spatial regulations and discourages others to a form of hedging in desires for communication or protection, togetherness, or intimacy, in a different and more resilient way, allowing people to nest in and populate the architectural structure in unforeseen ways. Photography, used in this way, can also serve as a critical tool—a form of architectural criticism. One of the major achievements of Tatiana Bilbao’s and Iwan Baan’s studio, “The House: The Waken Desire,” was the integration of photography as an almost polemic tool in a fundamental deconstruction of the process of designing domestic space. Focusing on the inhabitants’ lives in different domestic buildings in the Mexican towns of Hidalgo and San Luis Potosí, the students’ photos show an almost oneiric labyrinth, and the superimposition of everyday objects, architectural elements, and nature: a reef formed by plants, columns, trees, TVs, radios, food, textile partitions. Unused items are set aside and start to form a kind of domestic undergrowth in forgotten corners, amid heaps of old bits of paper and other bric-a-brac; the undergrowth increases in density until it becomes hard to remove and almost assumes the character of a wall. The walls themselves are soon overgrown with a thick layer of kitchen utensils, clothes, books and pictures, plants, and carpets. This amalgam of inorganic and organic material looks clearly inhabitable, but not like architecture. Some of these photos are reminiscent of Mark Rothko’s color-field paintings, where luminous red blocks overlap, abysses open up, areas fade into one another like steam, a garish pink smolders behind a harsh orange, a Matisse blue spreads diffusely into a green reminiscent of Monet’s water lilies and sinks into a dull black. Traditional perspective is abolished completely, as dark areas of color float above or below lighter ones and overlap like clouds. The paintings generate space, but it is impossible


spaces of intimacy rather than private realms, and spaces of potentially more inventive forms of togetherness rather than clichéd versions of public space with benches, cafes, urban furniture, and other predefinitions of socially acceptable forms of being in public. The private, the capsule to which one retreats, is not something that is partitioned off from common space, but rather the other way around: individual spaces are compacted into a collective space that does not lead to the disintegration of those cells. Communal life develops between the cells. Scalewise, it is unclear if these spaces have the dimensions of a room or a square; if they are small or monumental; if they are the size of a room, or a house, or a Mesopotamian town. The materiality ranges from metal surfaces to brown mirrors and deep-pile carpet. What a utopia: an architecture beyond the obsession with interiority and immersion that scales the materiality of the domestic and the intimate up to the size of spaces for public life, and replaces the formal repertoire of units, walls, streets, and squares by an inhabitable landscape, a maze, a thicket, an urban reef, a Roland-Barthian labyrinth of intimate magnificenza. It would be interesting to examine what this shift in perspective means for a future theory of the domestic and the communal. On the day of the final reviews, Iwan Baan was sitting in front of a screen in Holland, waiting for his wife to give birth, thus unable to join the students in Cambridge. He followed the student presentations via Skype. In an act of conceptual beauty, Tatiana Bilbao immersed her mobile phone into one of the models and gave him a tour through the spaces. The camera turned the model into an actual building of uncertain scale. Iwan was guided though that spatial fiction as if it were real. While physically thousands of miles away, his eye was the closest to that space. The students could watch his reactions and sensations on his face on the mobile phone’s screen—an immediate form of architectural criticism, a face floating through a speculative space. Apparently, after photography, film will be the next medium to propagate and imagine the future of domestic, less domesticated space.

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Niklas Maak

moment of reflection outside after spending the day doing what in antiquity took place in so-called public space: exchange of information, trade, debate? The discussion of domesticity needs a revision of its axioms. But beyond professional circles there is no fundamental, systematic discourse about what dwelling, working, and publicness could mean in light of changed collective social rituals, technological innovations, and ecological challenges—what other potential forms can a house, as a private place for retreat, and a square, as a place of “being public,” take in view of changing lifestyles, social rituals, and technical possibilities? In 1977, Roland Barthes, in his lecture at the Collège de France subsequently published as, “How to Live Together,” took the question of domesticity and the criticism of the bourgeois concept of life in well-portioned units a conceptual step further: “Is there such a thing as a model of the anti-hut?” Barthes asks, finding it in Piranesi. The latter’s “carceri are supposed to be the anti-hut (note that they are vast, anti-cellular structures; a demonic capsizing of levels),” the philosopher notes: “Piranesi: ‘Out of fear springs pleasure.’ That dramatic, criticized breaching of the quant¬à¬sois, that foreclosure of the interiority of the room as a refuge and as a pleasure . . . that space of emotional agitation, that ornamental and hysterical transparency: the magnificenza.” The concept of privacy prevalent in Western Europe and America is shaped by an aggressive concept: the Latin word privare means “to rob.” Being in privato thus means being in a space previously wrested from a collective whole, which henceforth needs to be defended against the intrusiveness of others. Hence, the private sphere is conceived as robbery and the emergence of property an act of aggression against the community: one robs something and makes it inaccessible to others. This aggressive conceptualization of domesticity is the very foundation of every Western discourse on dwelling, and is reinforced by the prevailing notion in Western philosophy that the constitution of the “proper,” the self, as an act of distinction from the world. The architectural discourse on domesticity is locked in this figure of thought. Though widely accepted, this definition is in need of justification and is by no means without alternative. Some of the students’ design proposals are far-fetching Gedankengebäude, figures of thought beyond the conceptual constraints of fearful definitions of privacy. They offer


Essays

Intersection & Interaction Ethan Poh, Poh “Intersection & Interaction.”



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A Studio is not a Textbook

Jose Castillo


For these reasons it has been refreshing to see that recent housing studios exposing the limits of design and architecture. Not all problems can or should be resolved by design. To sift with both disciplinary assertiveness and scientific humbleness proves a strong pedagogy but also a quite effective way to reimagine forms of agency for the profession. But to use housing as a way to reframe the limits and capacities of architecture is not without the possibility of producing new narratives and new representations. As a model of deliberation for engagement and dissent, a final review is the closest it gets to the everyday realities of a critical practice engaged in housing production. For six hours on December 10, 2019, we gathered to discuss and partake in one of these experiments in pedagogy during the final review of “The House: The Waken Desire.” The work showed strong ideas, compelling representation, and innovative narratives, fostering an engaged discussion among the jury that was evident of the fact that today, more than ever, even with our fragmented approaches, housing matters.

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To teach—and to be a student in—a housing option studio in architecture school is a thankless job; an elusive white whale bound to produce limited successes, multiple frustrations, criticism from colleagues, constant second-guessing, and an ever-present feeling that “we could be doing this differently,” all while striving to achieve a eureka moment: the possibility of discovering something new about housing that could actually be relevant for the discipline or useful beyond our profession. Housing is probably the most contentious and charged program in architecture. It is a wicked problem by nature and hence every answer, position, or attitude can only be partial, and ultimately limited to the way we frame the problem. Whether it addresses the broader themes of inequality, inclusion, the role of state vs. private, or affordability, or if it addresses the questions of typology, domesticity, character, or experience, each approach is certain to be incomplete in some way. Studios often oscillate between the overarching and dominating view of their instructors (whether formal or procedural) and the independent approach of the students. As critics we always debate whether to view a studio’s success as the homogeneous (and hegemonic) project put forward by the instructors or to celebrate it as the platform for diversity and plurality of outcomes, forms of talent, and developed interests. The initial brief can be subverted by analytical work, conversations among students and instructors, or studio travel; but the design processes and the final destination can be quite different from what is expected. The task of teaching, designing, and discussing housing requires simultaneously understanding the larger issues, but the discipline to focus on a narrower set of questions; there is no equivalent of a housing studio “aleph.” An option studio about housing should make problems surrounding housing visible. In this process we also acknowledge that the visibility of one problem is supported through the invisibility of others—a studio in which problems should be put forward and other problems should suspend judgment. The technique in a housing studio is about simultaneously attempting to reconcile apparently opposing topics (say, for instance, affordability and real estate) and putting in conflict two apparently opposing ideas (such as domesticity and urbanity) in tension. A successful studio is about the spaces between critical reconciliation and productive tensions; not about “solving” them but instead framing them in new and creative ways.


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Eduardo Mediero, “A House without Ownership.”

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Projects and Photo Essays


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The Empty House

David Kim

Think about visiting an empty house that you want to imagine living in. You enter through the front door and probably see a living room or a drawing room. Depending on the house, maybe a kitchen is close by, followed by a series of bedrooms and closets. In the closet, you imagine your clothes inside. In the bedroom, maybe a new bed frame, your bookshelf, and a desk. In the hallway hangs art given by your friend. In the kitchen, your favorite dining table, and in the living room, maybe a new TV and your grandma’s hand-me-down L-shaped sofa. You can imagine it all there in the empty house. Your objects are what will make this your home. The architecture is set, and in your mind, you can imagine yourself and your things in it. But what happens if you flip this mentality around? What if your possessions were in front of you, and the architecture didn’t exist? No empty house, no defined spaces like kitchens or bedrooms. After all, aren’t these constructs created by someone else? What if what laid in front of you were your objects, and instead you imagined the architecture? What spaces emerge from this thought? Now, maybe, clothes don’t necessarily need to go into the closet, the bed doesn’t need to be in the bedroom alongside a nightstand and lamp. By inverting the object-and-architecture relationship, not only is the idea of traditional domesticity liberated, but you also rethink the definition of any given space. Domestic space can now be defined by the objects, not by the architecture.


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The Empty House

36 Above: Physical model of the domestic space.

Following page: Drawing showing the collection of objects of our daily life.


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David Kim


The Empty House

38 Above: Physical model of the domestic space.

Following page: Physical models of the individual scenarios.


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David Kim


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40 Physical model of the domestic space.


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Photo Essay


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A House, a Trip, and a Calendar

Alexandros Spentzaris

The project is a home made for many. It questions the natural limits of the house and researches condensed ways of living that are developed on the axis of time. The residents are found in a continuous state of peer-hosting, and the property transforms into a lifelong prepaid rental. This peculiar collective home shared among common friends is designed as a house with dynamic limits: 30 domesticities for 60 people. The house is transformed into a chronological device. The process experiments with spaces that follow my own metonymic, intuitive logic. This is a combinatory process of adding and subtracting drawings, maps, photographs, and models, and the goal is to create a narrative through a sequential order of fragments. I believe that these spatial singularities, when juxtaposed and then placed in sequence, could foster immediate synoptic insights into trajectories that depict animated life. The project functions cartographically too, as it explores how spaces can be conceptualized through the movement between different topographies, whether they are urban, semi-urban or rural, by transforming the cartographic and diagrammatic notions of what a “home� could be.


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Villa Analoga.

A House, a Trip, and a Calendar

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Alexandros Spentzaris Geocalendar. A trajectory.

Fig. 1 - Geocalendar - A Trajectory


Conceptual painting.

A House, a Trip, and a Calendar

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Alexandros Spentzaris The assemblage of the physical model.


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Photo Essay


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T++

Minyong Kim

This project explores the agency of thresholds in architecture, specifically in the context of cohousing. To examine its autonomy on one extreme, thresholds with different typologies are laid out before spaces are laid out—an exercise that depends solely on imagining the experience of going through the thresholds and sequences of programs that a cohousing situation requires. Each threshold is then transformed to characterize imagined spatial qualities of the spaces they connect. Defining typologies of thresholds also defines the formal and experiential aspect of adjacent spaces together, as each is a gateway, and a relationship, between two worlds: passing through, one enters a new world markedly different from the previous, and the threshold coherently brings them together. Although walls and slabs are what physically divide space, the spaces themselves unfold along thresholds. A threshold is a sequence of going through a threshold, entering a world, passing through another threshold, and entering a different world. Spaces and thresholds are reciprocal: a threshold loses its meaning when there is no noticeable difference between the worlds. The project defines three basic threshold typologies based on horizontal, vertical, and diagonal movement of the human body in space. Then, it explores possible transformations of the basic typologies (such as elongation or shearing) to instantiate thresholds for more specific purposes: thresholds are laid out in a sequence to create atmospheric contrasts between the spaces.


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54 Diagram of movement in space.


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Minyong Kim A taxonomy of different kinds of thresholds


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56 Top: The physical model of the domestic space with the different thresholds highlighted in red.

Bottom: Collage of the domestic space.


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Photo Essay


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A Domestic [Dis]Place

Danny Saenz

An increasingly neoliberal approach to policy and asymmetrical trade contributes to migrations out of the Mexican countryside and into urban areas. The idea of economic beings, rational and individualistic, runs in tension with Mexican traditions of agrarian collectivism and ignores social contexts of the daily lives of the country’s inhabitants. This tearing away is manifested in the many geographic displacements resulting from these economic realities. The neighborhood of Atlampa is likely on the receiving end of these forces. Existing housing developments butt against concrete sidewalks and crowded parking lots in austere expanses of hard edges and impervious surfaces. Informal housing lines its edges and spills through the gaps in its fabric. Toward the western end of the neighborhood, a set of new gaps emerge where a warehouse is decommissioned and abandoned. The displaced converge here, seeking to make place. Subdivided into cells, it is a diagram of apportionment and regimented allotment, defined by isolating delineations. This system of access through a central corridor affords efficiency, yet flattens the relationships between the existing cells where access to any one space from another links all through the same street, much like systems of proprietary parceling which, when set up in series along a circulation route, do little to reflect the more organic nature of social structures, but rather promote a degree of urban anonymity. A porous scheme with interwoven courtyards seeks to promote a new set of urban relationships geared toward the collective in an attempt to push back against the pernicious effects of a systemic uprooting.


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A Domestic [Dis]Place

62 Top: Site of the project in the industrial neighborhood of Atlampa.

Bottom: Physical models of the different interventions done in the existing warehouses.


Bottom plan.

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Danny Saenz


A Domestic [Dis]Place

64 Physical model of the domestic space.


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Firstname Lastname Physical model of the project.


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Photo Essay


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A House without Ownership

Eduardo Mediero

In opposition to processes of production, finance capitalism focuses on investment as the means for profit. With this, the house has become a key element for the exchange of value, simplifying its components to financial assets that allow greater fiscal efficiency. This radical understanding of architecture as an accumulation of capital value and short-term profit has had a pronounced effect on our built environment. However, one of the main problems in discerning the reasons and motives for the crisis of housing markets during the modern era is the inability to signify what housing really is. On the one hand, a house is seen as a place of domestic bliss—a refuge of familiar solidarity, love, relaxation, and social reproduction. At the same time, the house is a tool of real estate profit through the fixation of its functions by global market forces. This latter understanding of housing is intrinsically tied to private property. However, private property is not only a legal designation for ownership. The origin of private property is the origin of owning the means of work and production. Claiming property over something specifically implies that it has economic value, and therefore a potential for profit. By transforming the household into private property, one inevitably exercises power over others who do not have it. It is necessary, now more than ever, to create a housing model that operates outside the cyclical forces of the neoliberal market, where housing does not have economic value and therefore does not belong to anyone. Housing that cannot be exploited. A House without Ownership.


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A House without Ownership

70 The Cabinet of Domesticities.


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Eduardo Mediero Detail of the exterior of the project.


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Following page: Detail of the interior domestic space.

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A House without Ownership

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Firstname Lastname


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Firstname Lastname


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Photo Essay


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Intersection & Interaction

Ethan Poh

This project looks at the places of intersection that become defining features of the house. A house has multiple families within it; and when multiple families interact, differences are revealed and tensions arise. There is no tension in an isolated environment; it is only through interaction with “another� does difference become defined. So, domesticity and tension go hand in hand. What if the domestic intersections became celebrated and those points of tension became manifested in architecture, so that architecture begins to describe the relationships within the house? Designed for three families, the house is organized into three towers, allowing each family to architecturally express their idea of home. However, the personalities of each home, along with their specific programming and unique structural organization, are not expressed in the tower. Like a person unaware of their own habits until interacting with another and realizing their differences, the homes only express their personalities when they interact with a different home. Located in the intersections situated between homes are rooms for residents to de-stress, socialize, rest, play, work, and meditate. Because each family has separate ideas of the rooms’ purposes, tensions arise from the pairing of two different ideas for the same space. Architecture begins to manifest the relationship between families. The architecture begins to not only show a different home for each family, but also the personal relationships between them.


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Intersection & Interaction

80 Snapshots of the various domestic spaces of the project.


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Ethan Poh Snapshots of the various domestic spaces of the project.


Program : Rest C to A Sauna

Program : Work B to C Office

Program : Meditate B to C Closet

Program : Play C to A Studio

Program : Work C to B Gallery

6

Program : Play A to C Initial sketches of the proposed domestic spaces. Library

Intersection & Interaction

Program : Play A to C Library

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6

Program : Rest C to A Hammocks

Program : Meditate C to B Lounge

Program : Rest C to A Sauna

5


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Firstname Lastname Physical model of the project.


2

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Photo Essay


2

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Mexico City Breathes: A Living Pavilion

Hiroshi Kaneko

Domesticity is explored through the lens of a pavilion—a “Living Pavilion.” A pavilion that, as if it were alive itself, bears the scars of water as it supports both the city below it and the families within it. The “Living Pavilion” is a collective living project playing host to three families organized around a shared resource: water. The architecture serves as a reminder to the families about the conditions of Mexico City and the broader sociopolitical issues that surround it. Not intended as a solution to the city’s infrastructural problems, the “Living Pavilion” seeks to motivate cultural shifts through conversation, text, and, perhaps most of all, inspiring wonder. It is meant to foster the conversations we have in the neighborhood, around dinner, and around children and our parents—the conversations that are just as important as those at school or work. The architecture challenges us, but never lets us slip. Water is a temporal force in Mexico City; it feeds the lush environment and supplies the city from aquifers below. However, as a source of flooding, water is also a destructive force. Bruteforce engineering collects water and sweeps it off the mountains using massive storm drains. The “Living Pavilion” merges spatial ideas of community with a bold architecture that exhibits the power of water. The building, a vessel, challenges the families to think how their domestic lives are situated within the context of the city and the context of water. The building both feeds the thirst of the city below it, and supports the lives of the families living within it.


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Mexico City Breathes: A Living Pavilion

88 Top: Detail of the physical model.

Bottom: Samples of the material investigation.


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Hiroshi Kaneko The pamphlet being unveiled.


Plans of the project.

Mexico City Breathes: A Living Pavilion

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Firstname Lastname Detail of the physical model.


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Photo Essay


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Architecture of Desire

Hye Rim Shin

“Architecture of Desire” explores the reality of site conditions—and introduces the desired reality—of Santa María la Ribera in Mexico City. This project represents and re-presents the “desires” of and presents new opportunities for the neighborhood’s residents. As implied by the saying, “The grass is greener on the other side,” people are full of desires. The project addresses four foreign families who are alien to a community, yet desire to live as locals—as “the other.” Each case is represented by creating “the other half” of the existing building. This game of creating parts and the whole will be played using the relationship between what is familiar and what is not. The existing half is considered “the other” and the newly inserted half as the “new other.” Visual similarities will allow the “new other” to feel like they belong to “the other” community; however, they will not be able to dwell in it. As much as the “new other” utilizes the same materials and houses the same rituals and programs as “the other,” their building will never be the same. Yet, there is also a space that allows desires to be enriched. A space of opportunity. In this space, the two groups can interact in multiple ways and allow desires to float, transform, transgress, and progress. Four desires—the desire to show, the desire to learn, the desire to meet, and the desire to serve others—are translated into the site-specific programs of a museum, a school, a culture center, and restaurant. Each deconstructs the programs between public space and domestic space, allowing for interaction between not only the two groups, but for the entire community.


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Architecture of Desire

96 Snapshots of the physical model and spatial references.


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Hye Rim Shin Detail of the physical model.


Architecture of Desire

98 Detail of the physical model.


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Hye Rim Shin Physical model.


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Photo Essay


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Living without the House

Jonathan Yeung

The contemporary understanding of living and dwelling has rendered the definition of a house to be dependent on the existence of an isolated building. Referring to your neighborhood or streets as part of your house is something rather uncommon. Upon observing the organic lifestyles in Mexico City and realizing the benefits of the intimate network of lively semi-public spaces in alleyways and streets, is it possible to question this very definition of a house, and reimagine living conditions without the absolute boundaries of a single isolated building? This project asks six families in Santa María la Ribera to willingly forfeit their isolated houses in exchange for a series of rooms distributed across these six properties. Semipublic rooftops are redesigned to not only connect between rooms, but also to captivate and encourage the sense of community. The new definition of a house is no longer constrained by the physical building, but is instead expanded across the dynamic urban fabric. The collective lifestyle within the neighborhood becomes part of their house. Depending on the family’s preference, the daily routine between the living room and the kitchen may be just a few steps apart, or it may involve a one-minute socializing experience in the urban outdoors. Thus, this project tries to inspire a new way of collective living by searching for spatial opportunities to open up, mix, elongate, and connect between existing houses.


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104 Physical models of the domestic spaces.


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Firstname Lastname


Living without the House

106 Top: Section of the domestic space.

Bottom: Site model of the urban intervention.


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Jonathan Yeung Detail of one of the domestic spaces.


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Photo Essay


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Beyond the Frame

Proey Liao

The house participates in the layers of privacy that exist within the city as a whole. The house is often considered to be one’s last layer of privacy, but in fact it is our own eyes—a positioning of relationships between ourselves and others. In Mexico City, the “vecindad” is a common typology in multi-family living, in which multiple individual units line an open, linear shared outdoor space. However, “sharing” space does not operate so simply; outside of special events, holidays, birthdays, etc., a shared domestic interaction does not take place on a large scale, but on smaller ones—often between just two people. These vecindad spaces we encountered in Santa María la Ribera were often empty of people but full of their things: for shared storage rather than shared interaction. Sharing in domesticity is not a large act—it is small and private. The cultural milieu of today’s world is edging toward a pluralistic view of intersectional narratives, implying there is no single history, no single story to a space or place. This means the single, large shared vecindad as a spatial typology is mismatched with this mentality of the multiple. The small, private act of sharing is better captured by specificity—small, private spaces that characterize the relationships within them. This project imagines the “beyond”: What could be beyond this facade in Santa María la Ribera? What could be beyond five quotes from five different stories? What could be beyond the frame? These questions could only be answered by artificially viewing the vecindad as an omnipotent author and architect of the frames and their contents.


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Beyond the Frame

112 Section and elevation of the physical model of the domestic space.

Following page: Detail of the physical model.


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Proey Liao


Beyond the Frame

114 Details of the physical model.


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Proey Liao


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Photo Essay


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Glitch 1987

Meric Arslanoglu

In the past, “glitch” meant an undesired and an unpredictable malfunction, one that brings forward previous sequences, melts layers, and deletes bits, because of limited technical opportunities. When we think about it right now, it offers great opportunities for diving deep into different layers and creating unusual experiences. A reinterpretation of this concept as an architectural approach pushes the project to trace the memories of Mexico City (its memories of the water, earthquakes, and the industrial background of Atlampa) and explore its layers through human struggles. Mexico City’s ground level sinks average of 20 centimeters each year due to the use of aquifer water under the city. Just like a glitch error, embracing this sinking malfunction as the indicator of the site’s specificity provided a background for designing unique domestic spaces, which modify themselves alongside each unique character’s timeline. In “Glitch 1987,” the idea of domesticity is associated with the scale of time, and it represents the life cycle of humankind: time passes, children grow, and old people die, all while the city’s ground level sinks. Using this sinking malfunction in favor of creating different spatial experiences establishes the foundation of this project, which aims to adapt itself to changing conditions. Since this sinking affects the function of spaces year by year, the project tries to redefine the relationship between publicity and privacy through the lens of the human life cycle.


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Glitch 1987

120 Diagrams of the life cycle and characters in the project.


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Meric Arslanoglu


Glitch 1987

122 Top: Site model.

Bottom: Physical model of the project.


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Firstname Lastname Detail of the domestic space.


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Photo Essay


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9 Rooms

Marianna Gonzalez

Interested in a family scenario that presented characters who were each having an identity crisis, I created an extended nuclear family made up of three characters: 01 grandfather who is recently widowed 02 parents who are both physicians 03 children who are physically identical Nine rooms were designed by considering these characters as spaces: 01 the grand room 02 the ready room 03 the morning room 04 the son room 05 the you room 06 the double room 07 the round room 08 the triple room 09 the non-room These rooms all measure 40´ x 40´ and do their best to make no domestic assumptions and assume no conventions that we find in our houses. Sometimes our houses don’t give us the things we need, but this house has undetermined spaces that you are free to define. The point is this: these rooms have personality, but so do you.


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9 Rooms

128 This and following page from top to bottom: The Non-Room; The Double Room; The Morning Room.


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Marianna Gonzalez


9 Rooms

130 Plan of the project.


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Marianna Gonzalez Physical model of the project.


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Photo Essay


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Images as Impressions

Sol Yoon

Personally, I go home to seek tranquility and safety. But when contemplating the differences that define a house and a home, my mind naturally retreats to thoughts about my family, and I ultimately claim that home is wherever my family is—it is nostalgia, a feeling, a sentiment, an emotional attachment. The project takes the that a home is not a home without its people; specifically, the relationships and their characteristics that define daily routines. Photography’s facility to capture such moments allows us to stitch together an understanding of the realities of the people who will occupy the space—their habits, their rituals, their culture, and their atmosphere. “Image as Impressions” uses this idea of abstracted impression as a starting point for not only exploring the presence of the self, individuality, and character, but also for integrating such identities in a community through form. Imagining still frames from a scene of a film, the storytelling doesn’t stop because the camera stops moving, but the frame is a mere representation of an instance within a story. It won’t give you the whole story but it leaves traces of information, hints of what was and what could be. Upon reflection of the whole collection, an initial selection process was determined through what best described this temperature spectrum. Five defining photographs were chosen to extract an impression from their established spaces to manifest five nuclear families. By analyzing the environment and depth within, it provided necessary details for narrative and character developments.


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Images as Impressions

136 Physical model of the project.


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Sol Yoon Plans of the project.


Jorge

Dahlia

Jose

Garcia

Diagram of the domestic spaces.

Images as Impressions

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Ronaldo & Maria


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Firstname Lastname Detail of the physical model.


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Photo Essay


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Contributors

Tatiana Bilbao Mexican architect Tatiana Bilbao is founder of the eponymous architecture studio. Bilbao’s work is defined by its multicultural and multidisciplinary perspective, whilst not losing sight of local context; it aims to humanize and regenerate places, opening up opportunity for cultural and economic development. The studio’s architectural work includes the Culiacán Botanical Garden, the Bioinnova building of a Mexican university, a reflective holiday home in Mexico, and a flexible social housing prototype displayed at the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial. Bilbao’s work has been recognized internationally, and has received awards such as the Kunstpreis Berlin (2012) and the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture (2014). She has taught as a visiting professor at the Yale School of Architecture, Rice School of Architecture, and Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, and her work has been published in numerous publications including The New York Times.

Iwan Baan Dutch photographer Iwan Baan is known primarily for images that narrate the life and interactions that occur within architecture. As the inaugural recipient of the Julius Shulman Excellence in Photography award (2010), Baan has collaborated on several successful book projects such as Insular Insight: Where Art and Architecture Conspire with Nature (Lars Müller Publishers, 2011), Torre David: Informal Vertical Communities (Lars Müller Publishers, 2012), and Brasilia and Chandigarh—Living With Modernity (Lars Müller Publishers, 2010). Baan’s work also appears on the pages of architecture, design, and lifestyle publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Architectural Record, Domus, Abitare, and Architectural Digest. Baan was named one of the 100 most influential people in contemporary architecture world by the magazine Il Magazine dell’Architettura on the occasion of their 100th issue, and is recipient of the AIA Stephen A. Kliment Oculus Award.


Jose Castillo Jose Castillo is a practicing architect and urban planner living and working in Mexico City. Castillo holds a degree in architecture from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City as well as a master of architecture and a doctor of design degree from the Harvard GSD. Castillo’s built work and writings have appeared in several publications including Praxis, Bomb, 2G, Domus, Arquine, Geographical UK, Monocle, AD, Wallpaper, The New York Times, Architecture, Monument, and Architectural Record. He has contributed as an author in La Casa Latinoamericana Moderna (Gustavo Gili, 2004), 2G Dossier Iberoamerica (Gustavo Gili, 2008), The Endless City (Phaidon, 2010), and Reinventing Reconstruction (Ruby Press, 2010). Castillo has lectured extensively all over the world and is a member of the editorial board of Arquine and the Deustche Bank’s Alfred Herrhausen Society.

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Niklas Maak Niklas Maak is the arts director of the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and an architecture theoretician working in Berlin. He has pursued parallel careers as a writer, educator, newspaper editor, architect, and visiting professor at several international universities. In 2014, he worked with Rem Koolhaas’s Biennial team as a consultant and contributor. For his essays, Maak has been awarded the George F. Kennan Prize (2009), the prestigious Henri Nannen Prize in Germany (2012), and the COR Prize for architectural critique (2014).


Colophon

The House: The Waken Desire Instructors Iwan Baan, Tatiana Bilbao Report Editor and Design Eduardo Mediero A Harvard University Graduate School of Design Publication Dean and Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design Mohsen Mostafavi Assistant Dean and Director of Communications and Public Programs Ken Stewart Editor in Chief Jennifer Sigler Associate Editor Marielle Suba Production Manager Meghan Sandberg Series design by Laura Grey and Zak Jensen ISBN 978-1-934510-76-6 Copyright Š 2019 President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without prior written permission from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Text and images Š 2019 by their authors.

Image Credits Cover, pages 6, 30-31: Iwan Baan Inside cover: David Kim Special thanks to Hiroshi Kaneko for the student portraits. The editors have attempted to acknowledge all sources of images used and apologize for any errors or omissions. Harvard University Graduate School of Design 48 Quincy Street Cambridge, MA 02138 publications@gsd.harvard.edu gsd.harvard.edu



Studio Report Fall 2018

Harvard GSD Department of Architecture

Students David Kim, Alexandros Spentzaris, Minyong Kim, Danny Saenz, Eduardo Mediero, Ethan Poh, Hiroshi Haneko, Hye Rim Shin, Jonathan Yeung, Proey Liao, Meric Arslanoglu, Marianna Gonzalez, Sol Yoon

ISBN 978-1-934510-76-6

9 781934 510766