living without 'the house'
with Tatiana Bilbao and Iwan Baan, Harvard GSD Option Studio, 18 Fall
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 your neighbourhood or streets as part of your house is something rather uncommon, except for when you are ‘homeless’. 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 re-imagine living conditions without the absolute boundaries of one isolated building?
This project asks 6 families in Santa Maria La Ribera to willingly forfeit their isolated houses in exchange for a series of rooms distributed across these 6 properties. Semi-public 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 instead is 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 1-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.