findings \ soft and subtle
homes without houses

homes without houses

homes without houses

homes without houses

with Tatiana Bilbao and Iwan Baan, Harvard GSD Option Studio, 18 Fall

homes without houses is a project that fosters the possibility of living in-between existing urban fabrics. Witnessing how family lifestyles are already spilling out into exterior neighborhoods during my site visit to Mexico City, I was inspired to design “homes” for families that may take advantage of these intersticial city space further. Refusing to accept the normative notion that a proper home often equates to an isolated house within the urban condition, homes without houses proposes to separate rooms typically within a house into different buildings. The connective tissue between the separated rooms evolves to become a communal living space. The specific outdoor domesticity which is already embedded in the local culture is designed to be integrated into their new experience of home.

homes without houses designs the homes of 6 families, redistributing each families’ 4-6 rooms across 6 existing houses. Instead of having to keep ‘living rooms’ and ‘communal areas’ trapped in small individual houses, the communal aspect of a house is designed to expand and occupy the in-betweens of the neighborhood. The communal deck or the floating communal lounge is inserted specifically for being an active tissue connection. In return, each house regains more functional rooms that may be redistributed to satisfy the growing needs of the 6 families.

While the current iteration is specific for the 6 families described in the project, this proposal may take on a much more flexible form in which the rooms within a building may accommodate different families’ needs over time.  The rooms may be flexibly switched or traded. Each family may then choose their best combination of 5-6 rooms within the neighbourhood that best fit their purpose of living for the specific period. Communal decks and lounges will be added in ratio the the amount of houses/families being involved.  They will act as diaphragms in every such community. Amplifying and celebrating the flexible organic living pattern that is ever so present in current Mexico City culture, homes without houses redefines the language, constraints and connections of a single family home.

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