Domestic Boundaries

Domestic Boundaries

Via di Villa Spada, 343, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy
Project Year

Simone Galli, Riccardo Ferranti

Domestic Boundaries

M²FT as Architects

Domestic Boundaries is a research and an exhibition that explores the contemporary dissolution of the domestic environment, operated through devices. Our daily routine is changing and so our spaces. Basic human needs can be generalized in terms of physiological needs such as eating or sleeping, the need for security, love and belonging. Many of these needs have been reflected, in the last centuries, in the architecture of the residence, one of the main hereditary daughters of the industrial and modern conquest of the bourgeoisie.

The prototype of this model of home guaranteed the presence of spaces to relax, feel safe, expose the concept of property, build relationships, express personal identity and encourage gender segregation; it was a refuge from external anxieties, derived from the uncertainty of the future and the labor and production needs of the capitalist context. However, this idea of domestic space is continually being challenged by changes in the contemporary social and work structure. The demarcation between the house and the context is dissolving, including within its definition, also many other social, public, private and working spheres.

In fact, the advent of immaterial labour, where life itself is put to work, brings back domestic space as the epicenter of production. This becomes possible not just because new technologies make production ubiquitous, making the traditional workplace no longer relevant, but because immaterial production is based on aspects that until now were typical of the domestic domain, aspects such as sociability, affectivity and care. This releases the potential and latent productivity of the domestic space, as well as the domesticity of the traditional working space. It is therefore radically changing the urban structure on which the cities were founded over the past few centuries.

New technologies are also playing an important role in redefining the domestic sphere and the structure of the house. The multiplication of domestic devices is causing an alteration in the way we interact with these, consequently influencing the physical structure of space. Therefore, a common solution is to transform the bedroom into a private living room, i.e. in an environment where one can develop personal individuality, identity and interests. With the advent of virtual communities and a broader, multi-level global relationship, the outside enters and permeates the domestic sphere. The city must therefore absorb many of the previously reserved special features of the house’s architecture.

The deviation of the domestic from a fixed place highlights and points on the meaning of the non-place as an ephemeral and transitory space dedicated to circulation, consumption and communication as the new form of domestic hub in the urban context. As a result, more and more people move activities that are originally domestic to other locations in the urban context. Eating, socializing, relaxing, sleeping, going to the gym, seeking privacy are now part of a system of domestic urban relations. The house tends to the city, and the city turns into a home.

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