• Jahnavi Chavda

Where is Home?

Updated: Sep 1, 2019

8th August, 2019

Chapter 13: Where is home? from the book 'Housing and Dwelling' edited by Barbara Miller Lane, the key aspect is the discussion of the notion of home or dwelling, which is deeply affected by one’s relationship to a conception of a homeland or a home space. The definition of home has been changing throughout the 20th century and that is exactly this chapter is about. The sense of homeland today varies from person to person and shifting from one home to another can be a very different experience with respect to distance, time and locality. But nomads also have a strong sense of homeland which makes you think what is the sense of a homeland today and where do we belong. So it’s not necessary to spend a lot of time where you belong but still the idea of a homeland is there. Some say “Home is where the heart is” thus proving another point of view of one’s relationship to a conception of a homeland.

In pre-industrial era, it was a huge thing to be shifting from one town to another. But after the industrial revolution, the flattening of distances occurred because of easy travelling equipment. Even if people miss their old homelands, when they shift, the notion of going back is rare, voluntarily or involuntarily.

Coming back to how architecture is related to all these, as architects, we don’t know who we are designing for so while people carry the memories, we should try to create elements which connects people to their homelands. But after Globalisation and Standardisation, the sense of homeland has become less emotional because most things stay the same nowadays in different places.

The design begins to change with different places and climate so if you are designing the same thing in two different places which are far away and are so different by culture but the climate is the same, should it be the same or different is a question, if the climate is the only aspect affecting the design.

Coming back to the exercise given the preparations for the next time problem, the list of things which had to be prepared; like library, part-plan, name plate, grid, sketches of unit-plan can be done in advance to solve the time problem faster. So it is kind of a test of putting all the preparatory material together which can be a reverse process than generally how the studios are conducted.

Streets in the Sky

Chapter 11: 20th century apartments dwelling ideas and realities, focuses on the problems in 20th century apartments, the idea of vertical circulations and streets in the sky! This idea was not about the production of the houses but about the feeling to stay so up in the sky. But chasing this idea, the high-rise housing estates were becoming the hub to crimes. According to Jane Jacobs, street is the life of the cities. The streets on the ground are government properties but streets in the sky are not. And there is nothing in the city without privately constructed buildings. Before Corbusier’s idea of the center of Paris: Plan Voisin, long linear blocks or a well designed facade was popular. Such example can be ‘New Amsterdam School Housing’.

New Amsterdam School Housing

Plan Voisin

Anonymity is better or the idea of surveillance is, is a constant debate. The implications of replacing human eyes to CCTV cameras are a huge, personally. Surveillance provides security and less crime and vandalism but Anonymity allows you to be who you are. CCTV cameras are a constant watch but the eyes of the street are different from that in forms of neighbours and other people.

While discussing the chapter 7: Rural memories and desires, it was implied that people try to escape their routine life and development of farm houses are the results of that. From their hectic life, basically to unwind or rejuvenate, people tend to go to farm houses and weekend homes.

At last, the discussion about the parking spaces implied when the parking is in the basement, one cannot plant trees on the ground so in a way parking choices are kind of like a war between the trees and the cars.

So all over, today’s discussion was a partnership between the architectural aspects of the article and how people’s thinking affect every architectural decision.

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