BLACK DOMESTICITY

 

What is black domesticity?

When asked, "why become an architect?" one can answer with aspiration - to further the potential and limits of built space, or one can answer with desperation - to resolve what architecture has failed to do. While one can argue to do both, there's a clear divide between those who typically engage architecture in a positive or negative way. If we are products of our environment, it's safe to assume our past experiences have shaped our response to this question. 

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This exercise considers the domestic scale, reasoning the discrepancies between the homes we live in and cultural representations. I aim to illuminate the complex disregard of advancement and contributions to the domestic interior by unvoiced histories, and the learned archetypes devoid of multi-cultural nuance. The domestic experience poses an interesting paradox: we are required to retool and redefine spaces that were built with no consideration for us, but at the same time, we covet and aspire for them. An incompatibility arises across the entire spectrum of social, wealth and status. In impoverished communities, homes are heavily adapted to accommodate a new mode of living, and within high class, we see a space devoid of cultural utility for cultural objectification; the utility having been relinquished for an image of success.

I'm hoping to uncover, through comprehensive research and observation, different experiences of working class homes, emphasizing the methods and interventions others have used to redefine space. By revealing the differential found in the architectural lexicon and tropes we rely on in architectural practice and academy, we can derail the perpetuated falsity, mundanity and flattening of a multitude of living as previously ignored in the architectural language.

© 2019 by ELL San Francisco

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