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Tema - diseño
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1

The quote is not from a documentary on contemporary architecture. It’s the opening line from a newspaper article criticising the political situation in Catalonia.

2

The “alone” is dedicated to José Ramón Hernández.

3

Dewey, Melvil  A Classification and Subject Index for Cataloguing and Arranging the Books and Pamphlets of a Library (Dewey Decimal Classification) (1876)

4

James E. Tucker, The Playboy Bed, Designed for Luxurious Lounging and Sleeping. In Playboy Magazine, November 1959 (Vol. 6, No. 11)

5

In 1961, John Lautner designed the house for the (more or less) conventional Sheats family, but in 1972 it was bought by the less conventional James Goldstein. The present residence is the result of five decades of alterations, carried out by Lautner himself and Duncan Nicholson.

6

For example, Lina Loos’ room (1903) by Adolf Loos.

7

In Le Corbusier’s Ville Savoye (1929) it’s possible to choose between a room with a pillar and a room with a pillar and a downpipe. Double the fun. Looking over the development of this project is a very interesting exercise, revealing master strokes such as the version with a bathroom arranged around a pillar, like a pole-dancing stage. Quetglas, Josep (2009). Les heures claires. Proyecto y arquitectura en la Villa Savoye de Le Corbusier y Pierre Jeanneret. Sant Cugat del Vallès: Associació d’Idees, Centre d’Investigacions Estètiques, p. 359

8

“The builders stuck to old habits and the new houses were built without bathrooms. Bathtubs with running water were an unheard-of luxury in the city, and were only used by aristocrats. His spirited ten-year struggle produced no practical results. Of course, the same had happened twenty years earlier with toilets. City Man clung pathetically to tradition.” Delibes, Miguel, Mi idolatrado hijo Sisí. Destino, Barcelona. (1953) [Own translation]

10

Lavin, Silvia Form Follows Libido. Architecture and Richard Neutra in a Psychoanalytic Culture. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. pp. 74-81 (2004)

In My House That’s the Way We Are

Still from Luis Buñuel’s film “Le fantôme de la liberté” (1974). Source: 20th Century Fox

A few months ago Manuel Vicent wrote that “a well brought up family knows that every room [sic] in the house has its own rules of behaviour”1. Ever since I read it, I haven’t stopped turning that affirmation over in my mind and wondering whether I myself am a domestically well brought up person.

I’ve been living alone2 for several years. That’s got its advantages, like knowing the food I left in the house will still be there when I get home, hours or months later. But it’s also facilitated certain habits that have led to changes in a home that was originally just another 1970s design intended for anodyne, conventional, patriarchal, catholic, hetero-normative families.

The first thing I did when I moved in was replace the crucifix above the bed with a Mazinger Z picture. Then I set up a dark room in the bathroom, where it became normal to find rolls of film hanging from the shower head. Logically, a DDC1293 shelf unit with part of my library took pride of place between the toilet and the toilet roll holder. The other DDCs are scattered around the house, organized like those in any old bookshop.

I use one room as my ministudy. There, papers, books and computers share space with countless Playmobil and Mr. Potato figures. Unlike the bookshelves, the toys are kept in perfect order. Another room is a mixture of guest room, storage room, airing closet and breeding ground for dust mites. About ten years ago, some friends spent the night there. None of them have ever gone within 600 km of the room’s rug again. It’s such a terrifying space that I’m thinking of turning it into a dungeon, even though I don’t cut the figure of a handsome millionaire.

The problem is that my gym is in a room where I also sleep, read, keep my collection of videos and do many other things that I don’t have space to go into now. I’ll leave that to your imagination. I don’t know what Vicent might have against those round beds, the ones referred to as being “immodest”, but I must admit I too prefer a large, rectangular, versatile Playboy-style4 bed, if only for the ease of finding sheets. For me, a two-by-two metre job, like the one in the Sheats Goldstein Residence5 would be a minimum requirement. What I don’t consider at all practical is a hairy bedroom6, or one with a pillar stuck in the middle of it7.

These are all convention breakers, things that we all manifest to a certain extent, and which turn any simple, monotonous dwelling into a unique, personal home. But they’re things that also define other forms of inhabiting, perhaps just as reasonable and correct as those which, here and now, we consider socially and culturally “normal”: and just as normal as it once used to be to live in a house without a bathroom8 or a kitchen9, or to have an orgone accumulator10.

As architects, we should be capable not only of providing solutions for any of these personal peculiarities, however much they may shock us or differ from our own idea of inhabiting spaces, but also of exploiting such experiments to reflect on the notion of domesticity itself. Because we should all be free to live as we wish.  The sad thing would be to have to live only as we’re allowed to.


Text translated by Andrew V. Taylor

Notas de página
1

The quote is not from a documentary on contemporary architecture. It’s the opening line from a newspaper article criticising the political situation in Catalonia.

2

The “alone” is dedicated to José Ramón Hernández.

3

Dewey, Melvil  A Classification and Subject Index for Cataloguing and Arranging the Books and Pamphlets of a Library (Dewey Decimal Classification) (1876)

4

James E. Tucker, The Playboy Bed, Designed for Luxurious Lounging and Sleeping. In Playboy Magazine, November 1959 (Vol. 6, No. 11)

5

In 1961, John Lautner designed the house for the (more or less) conventional Sheats family, but in 1972 it was bought by the less conventional James Goldstein. The present residence is the result of five decades of alterations, carried out by Lautner himself and Duncan Nicholson.

6

For example, Lina Loos’ room (1903) by Adolf Loos.

7

In Le Corbusier’s Ville Savoye (1929) it’s possible to choose between a room with a pillar and a room with a pillar and a downpipe. Double the fun. Looking over the development of this project is a very interesting exercise, revealing master strokes such as the version with a bathroom arranged around a pillar, like a pole-dancing stage. Quetglas, Josep (2009). Les heures claires. Proyecto y arquitectura en la Villa Savoye de Le Corbusier y Pierre Jeanneret. Sant Cugat del Vallès: Associació d’Idees, Centre d’Investigacions Estètiques, p. 359

8

“The builders stuck to old habits and the new houses were built without bathrooms. Bathtubs with running water were an unheard-of luxury in the city, and were only used by aristocrats. His spirited ten-year struggle produced no practical results. Of course, the same had happened twenty years earlier with toilets. City Man clung pathetically to tradition.” Delibes, Miguel, Mi idolatrado hijo Sisí. Destino, Barcelona. (1953) [Own translation]

10

Lavin, Silvia Form Follows Libido. Architecture and Richard Neutra in a Psychoanalytic Culture. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. pp. 74-81 (2004)

Autor:
(Gijón, 1981) Arquitecto (2005), máster en restauración arquitectónica y doctor en urbanística y ordenación del territorio por la Universidad de Valladolid. Compagina la práctica profesional vinculada a la planificación urbanística con la docencia en el área de proyectos arquitectónicos. Sus intereses giran en torno a la representación e interpretación cultural del territorio, los medios de comunicación y la disolución de los límites disciplinares.

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