House Tour: ten new models for domestic life in LA

ARCH 502: Architectural Design V

Instructor: Maria Esnaola

We have a cemented idea of dwelling. One that history has sanitized -by using gender politics, policy and economy- and then marketed. We consume and accept ‘this house’ as norm. The forgetting of various inherited clichés and the possibility of interrogating our activity, and by extension the very essence of our domestic-being, can undoubtedly shed light on the limitations and imperfections of more conventional procedures to the conception of the contemporary house. But archetypes are caricatures, and it is difficult to accept that life, what is out there in all its brutality and incoherence, can be “domesticated” in such an elementary form. The position of this thesis studio, is not to give instructions but to serve as a springboard to fantasy, to trigger an interest in going beyond acquired constraints, to explore the limits of knowledge belonging to our discipline. The most emphatic teaching of the 20th-century home archetypes we will study is precisely that: to think from a radical position external to the epistemological boundaries, to put our trust in everything they’ve rejected, to reclaim the a lifestyle we could never before imagine. Only by making such an effort might we conceive the house we don’t yet possess, can we build the house that will give us a voice as architects. Of all times, we are today undergoing major socio-political changes that must be tested against the limits of dwelling. What does the house mean today? What does it mean to be the architect of domestic spaces that have larger social and political ramifications despite their innocuous ubiquity? What can we aspire to as a society?