Opinion

How the Meaning of Home Influences Residential Architecture

The Architect is responsible for generating a built outcome relating to unique concerns of  practicality, legislation, time, budget and brief. How these constraints and opportunities influence the very personal architecture of our houses?

What makes a house a home? Our homes have a deep and unique emotional meaning not only reflecting but also affecting who we are, how we feel, think and act. Is it the responsibility of our home to successfully support our daily activities while nurtures our thoughts, memories, feelings and patterns of behaviour?

How does this unique meaning and interpretation influence residential architecture?

Shane Cotter and Kathryn Wilson founders of Architectural Farm describe the transition from house to home as a process which occurs over time through use and occupation. They describe their role in architecture to design an engaging backdrop which allows this process to happen.

01Image Source: Architectural Farm.

Shane and Kathryn note “each project brings its own definition of family and the needs of everyday life.  Much of our current work deals with extending and reimagining existing houses, varying in age from 10 to over 100 years old, and this naturally puts existing place, space and materials, as well as the household’s requirements, at the core of our design development. The tangible presence of craftsmanship, materiality and atmosphere in each house informs our approach to each project.”

We often view the home a private realm but it also has a public face; a space-to-be and a space-to-share. The house is situated within a bigger context of the neighbourhood and of the community. There is a threshold from the city to sanctuary, delineation from shelter to outlook and distinction between refuge and prospect.

Architectural Farm explore techniques of material and scale to define such thresholds. Shane and Kathryn write “changes in height and changes in levels not only allows us to introduce elements of surprise and delight in our designs but also helps us define and contrast the spaces for sharing from areas for the individual.”

We tend to connect the home with a sense of permanence, both in spirit and material. How can architecture covey permanence when we constantly change? Shane and Kathryn suggest permanence by allowing the mass of their architecture to be grounded directly to the site yet “varying sources of natural light, textures and natural materials are important to our work as it allows the atmosphere and the perceptions of inhabitants to change over time.  Materials age, while textures and grains react with fleeting glimpses of sunshine, and the house can quietly acknowledge the varying weather conditions of our Irish context.”

How important is home to the larger context of community? Erhard An-He Kinzelbach of KNOWSPACE describes the home a product of context, both material and social? Erhard is inspired to design with response to immediate local conditions and materials. His architecture is therefore tied both to the individual and the collective. The home carries both a genotype and a phenotype.

02Image Source: Archicentral

If the home is both private and public then is it also a territory of compromise? Is it also a compromise been the idea of client and the vision of the architect? The home, like architecture can be seen as fragmentations of theory and practically. It is possible or relevant to give the home the same sense of individuality as its occupants? How does one begin to design for human prospect, refuge, enticement, peril and order?

Understanding the permanence of home Fabio Candido and Marco Sarri of sundaymorning describe the home as a place of a never ending return. “The site influences typological and formal decisions, starting from the way with the construction lays on the ground. The meditation on formal aspects and construction materials allows us to make tectonic decisions. The physical and cultural circumstances influences the dialectics between inside and outside. The material selection comes from a synthesis between opportunities and construction traditions on one hand, and pertinence of formal choices on the other hand.”

03Image Source: sundaymorning

The meaning of home is as individual as the occupier. Leonidas Trampoukis, co-founder of LoT describes the home as the place in your head, carried by your personal image or feeling.  For Leonidas ” it is not the idea of belonging somewhere, in physical terms, but the feeling of being comfortable, the moment of perceiving and enjoying the little small things that inspire you and bring peace. The state in which one appreciates the moment and dreams of the future.”

04Image Source: Lot

Is home just as much about personal discovery as the permanence of nesting? Leonidas writes “the home is linked to the senses, the power and possibilities that the initial conception of a project has to offer and the architectural quality of the resulting space.”

He continues, “the abstract formal compositions, moments of beautiful lighting conditions, in-between transitional spaces for unpredictable use and expressive materiality are among simple things that inspire us everyday and are hard to not reference to when it comes to brainstorming for a new project. It is an intimate and personal approach for which one has to invest in great communication skills to be able to extract essence from and for the user. The experience of inhabiting an architectural work is a life changing factor and an unique opportunity for one to discover home.”

The meaning of home no matter what it looks or feels like is both defined and defining. As much as it is a discovery of architecture it is a discovery of self.

Discussion

One comment for “How the Meaning of Home Influences Residential Architecture”

  • JChambers

    Hello Archi-Ninja
    Thank you for your in depth discussions and elaborations on ideas that, while not Arch Record specific, feel more real to how I believe architecture should be. I recently found your site and am perusing the articles.

    When I read the following…”Shane Cotter and Kathryn Wilson founders of Architectural Farm …They describe their role in architecture to
    design an engaging backdrop which allows this process to happen,” it catalyzed what i have thought about the architecture of home for a long time. I have always likened it to building a stage for life. It is good to see others thinking the same way and not just trying to show how much fascia and trim they can add.

    Again, thank you for your exploration and sharing of your ideas.

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