Repeating the Past
Repeating the Past


While perusing the competition entries I�ve seen very few authors acknowledge the vast history and development of minimized living environments. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and this is evident in many designs seen here. With this posting I wanted to add more to the conceptual discussion of the minimal dwelling and the integration with the access afforded by the 21st century, and see if we can�t generate some less pragmatic discussion.


The problem of creating or designing a �Minimum Dwelling� - to reduce superfluous and inefficient to create a space optimized for living. Early 20th century planners and designers tackled the problem, as industrialized cities faced enormous growth. Karel Teige wrote an excellent treatise in 1932 entitled �The Minimum Dwelling� (English Translation Eric Dluhosch © 2002 MIT Press) that delineates the origins and development of the modernist minimalist dwelling. This work surveys the efforts at the time for the design a new proletarian architecture; the production of a highly efficient and replicable space. His work encompasses many of the housing models at that time, some examples of which are included in the last two images above. His projected end result for the Minimum Dwelling is be the socialist ideal for Teige � �service functions become separated out entirely from the general space of the dwelling and become centralized, and the dwelling space itself changes into a single cell for individuals, which takes over to provide again in a single space the distinct living functions of sleeping, intellectual work, and personal intimate life.� (p. 16) What is interesting from these images from the late 1920�s is of course that they could substitute themselves very neatly for many of the schemes produced for this competition.


Thirty some years later, the work of Archigram provides a very different conception of the minimum dwelling. The attached images are from a proposal from 1967 for �Living 1990� (© Archigram Group) is a look at life 23 years into the future, envisioning smart partitions within a single space that will move and adjust over the course of the day to meet the functions and needs of the inhabitants � presaging the robotic conference room tables seen in the video on michelangelo�s TAAC! proposal. Even more minimal dwellings are the Suitaloon and the Cushicle mobile environments that the individual wears on their back (or rides within for the Cushicle) that connect to each other, expand and adapt as several bodies come together. It seems that Archigram envisioned the flexibility and technology Graham was looking for before most of us were probably born.


Obviously these are just a couple disparate examples, which hopefully will get people thinking outside the box of utilitarian considerations. As this is tangential to the submission I am (slowly) working on I didn�t want to bog down that future post with all this stuff. A huge amount of literature and visual references providing concrete pragmatic solutions exists out there... hopefully others will find other material worth sharing. If you can find or would like to pass anything along to me I�d be happy to put it up here so as not to get your posts bogged down as well. Happy competition y�all!



Other entries in this project