This seminar investigates the politics of housing by focusing on the relationships between spatial, material, and typological decisions architects make when designing housing and the most pressing issues confronting 21st-century households.
Designing housing is about the way people live, the way they relate to one another, and the kind of cities they aspire to be part of. Purpose-built housing today is disconnected from these issues. It responds to the diversity of lifestyles in cities by partitioning citizens through different sectors, such as luxury housing, social housing, student housing, housing for the elderly, affordable housing, or housing for the homeless, rather than addressing them in an integrated and inclusive way. Housing for each of these ‘sectors’ is also frequently provided in different areas of the city, amplifying the segregation of members of society from one another, instead of fostering interdependencies and a sense of community. Regardless of which sector it is designed for, it provides a standard, inflexible type of apartment, conceived around the ideals of a nuclear family, which denies the existence of diverse households in the city. Moreover, the standard apartment is based on the idea that a home is a place away from work, which is no longer the case since many people work from home following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Subjects covered by the course will include community, difference, flexibility and appropriation, and wellbeing in relation to 21st-century households.