14 May 2024

Domesticity and Domestication

La Sapienza University of Rome

Respondent: Chase Galis, ETH gta + lus

Anthonie Waterloo, Pan en Syrinx. Landschappen met scènes uit Ovidius' Metamorfosen, 1630 - 1765, Etching on paper, 291 mm × width 244 mm, Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam), Serial number: 4/6, Object number: RP-P-OB-61.458. Public domain copyright.

After the "fall" into the pandemic world (2020-2022), the rediscovery of the removed god Pan (Hillman, 1972), brings to light the modes of relationship and design strategies that his figure embodies. The aim of this research is to reflect on the contemporary evolution of the home by identifying strategies and methods adopted by some architectural projects that reflect on the home and domestic space, spatially translating characters and living conditions "in tension" (Vidler, 1994).

Anthony Vidler’s thesis at the end of The Architectural Uncanny. Essays in the Modern Unhomely, is used as the main investigative hypothesis on the changes brought about by architectural design: “Paranoid space is then transformed into panic space, where all limits are blurred into a dense, almost palpable substance that has replaced, almost imperceptibly, traditional architecture” (1994, 225). Replacing the word “paranoiac” with the word “panic” reopens the debate on the meanings about these terms, and how panic has estabilished itself as a “spatial condition”, defining typologies (or better models) and strategies for inhabiting space.

The proposal, starting from the etymology, through the use of literature and psychology manuals that refer to "panic" and the (goat) god Pan (Merivale 1969; Hillman 1972; Borgeaud 1979; Barthes 1977), attempts to identify an updated definition of "panic" and to transpose the updated meaning into the field of architectural design through the identification of "panic space", using domestic space and domesticity as a specific focus. The domestic space (the house itself) identifies a key model to which a possible theory of “panic space” can be applied. This is because, as Hillman points out, it is in the home that one experiences one’s private self: «[...] the relationship with Pan, and therefore with the imaginal field we call ‘myth’ and ‘Greece’, begins in the relationship that the individual has with the manifestations of Pan within his own private experience» (Hillman, 1972, 19).


Housing the Single:
Typological Experimentation, Policies,
and Cultural Models in
Italian Housing Projects and
Domestic Interiors, 1930s-1950s

Politecnico di Torino + KU Leuven

Respondent: Flavia Crisciotti, TU Munich

‘Independent Room for Bachelor’. In Pietro Leoni, La Costruzione Del Mobile Moderno, 2  (Milano: U. Hoepli, 1948).

This research delves into the largely overlooked history of housing projects for single people in Italy from the 1930s to the 1950s, a period marked by significant societal shifts and architectural experimentations. It critically examines the evolution of housing models and discourses for single people amidst the backdrop of rapid industrialization and changing household dynamics, challenging the predominant focus on nuclear family housing in existing scholarship.
In the early 20th century, the state of being single garnered attention within architectural debates, manifesting in diverse housing solutions like dormitories, boarding houses, and minimal dwellings. These models, popularized across Europe, epitomized modernity and progress. However, Italy presented a unique case where fascist ideology promoted the nuclear family and traditional gender roles, subtly integrating single-person dwellings within broader housing discourse. This research highlights examples from the Milan Triennale and various publications, illustrating Italy's distinctive approach to single people housing.
By employing a dual analytical framework, on the one hand, on research on secondary and existing sources and, on the other, on a novel perspective on some archival materials, this study juxtaposes the Italian experience against international trends, revealing a rich dialogue between local and global perspectives on housing for single people. It scrutinizes both housing projects and domestic interiors disseminated through architectural media, exhibitions, and legal frameworks to uncover the complex interplay of cultural, social, and regulatory factors shaping these non-normative living spaces.

This investigation contributes to a re-evaluation of Italian residential architecture's landscape, emphasizing the significance of single-person dwellings within the broader narrative of housing histories. By situating Italy's unique contributions within an international context, the research offers fresh insights into the design and cultural implications of single-person homes, underscoring their role in reflecting and influencing shifts in societal norms and living patterns.

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