What is it exactly home? What is the actual meaning behind the term ‘home’? We often relate it to the place were we belong and were our roots are, a place where we simply feel safe and comfortable. However, ‘home’ happens to be a far rougher concept. For instance, an igloo can definitely be home for inuits, but it is obviously not factual for everyone.
We were presented during the lecture the case of ‘Pruitt-Igoe’ which was a large complex of public houses in St. Louise, Missouri, designed by the architect Minoru Yamasaki, known for the design of the World Trade Center. The purpose of this urban plan was to solve the problem of overcrowding that was existing back then in the streets. It was first occupied in 1954 and since then its state started to decline like the luxury building of the Ballard’s novel ‘High Rise’ (1975) where the ideal complex starts an internal war. The complex was finally demolished in 1972, which was claimed to be “the death of modern architecture” by Charles Jencks, an American architectural theorist.
“Pruitt-Igoe”, the architectonical design of public buildings in St. Louise. (1954).
Cover of Ballard’s novel “High-Rise”
Since then, the vision of our personal spaces changed and there began to be isolated building for very concrete purposes such as schools, shopping centres, airports. Each of them with its own feeling, its own atmosphere.
This lecture was particularly addressed to makes us wonder what’s our relation with the space, whether our behaviour change when we are at home or away and why we feel free away from home although our roots call us to come back.
Our identity is somehow linked to the place we are coming from: home. It is so essential for our own identity that it is reflected on something as common as the Passport. And definitely this piece of information on this piece of paper will with no doubt determinate were else you would be able to go, for example, as not all passports are accepted everywhere. On the other hand, though, there are people that don’t feel identified by their native country and feel that home might be somewhere else. And, at the same time, I wonder myself what is home nowadays for all those who never stop travelling for business reasons, for instance. Do they have more than a place called ‘home’? But at the same time, the meaning of ‘home’ itself is inherently linked to one and only concrete place.
Passports of the world that proves where we all come from.
This last point can be linked to the second part of the lecture where we have been introduced to the concept of the ‘non places’. That is to say places with no memory, no history, no sense of identity. Airports are such a good example since they are places where people just go there to be guided to get to somewhere else, you are irrelevant and anonymous.
Milton Keynes, is a ghost experimental city 45 miles north-west of London created to solve the overcrowding problems in London but turned to be just a place to visit and leave. This artificial city can be considered as a non-space too due to its lack of identity.
The artificial city of Milton Keynes.
Another interesting concept is the simulated spaces which are those unreal environments that just resemble other but are just fake images. Those would, for instance be, themes parks such as Disneyland were the princesses get “smiling training” before they start working, or Los Angeles which is an ideal city where everything pretends to be as it is supposed to be.
Augé, M. (1995) ‘Non-places: introduction to an anthropology of super-modernity.’ Verso Books
Ballard, J. G. (1975) ‘High-Rise’
Baudrillard, J. (1983) ‘Simulation and Simulacra.’
Hauer, G & October, D (2015) ‘Space and Place’ [Lecture to GMD Year 1] T303: Contextual and Theoretical Studies. UAL