“Visions of the future living environment have generally been synonymous with the active domestication of environments outside the enclave of the house. A trend that parallels the dissipation of many dichotomies that were characteristic of the modern movement: Inside / Outside, Public / Private, Work / Home, Labor / Leisure, and others.”
—The Future Living Project, Hitoshi Abe and his UCLA AUD research team
What is today’s vision of the future living environment? If the separation of domestic and work space into discrete zones informed the ethos of modern architecture and urban planning in the 20th century, the 21st century is characterized by the fluidity and flexibility of spaces and lifestyles. Co-working and co-living spaces have been at the forefront of this paradigm shift, which sees a restructuring of patterns of inhabitation, the rise of new forms of community, and the reconciliation of domestic and work environments. As lifestyles continue to transform, architecture needs to be redefined to accommodate changes in daily life. The WORKHOUSE, Life after Pandemic will explore possibilities for the future of our environment through the research of changes happening today, specifically the merging of spaces for domesticity and for work.
The overlap between domestic and work spaces
In our present moment, domestic and workspaces are beginning to reconcile, combining in a diverse range of forms and contents. An analysis of this reconciliation through a survey of both contemporary spaces and past visualizations of the future will be used as a point of departure to define parameters for the design of a multi-programmed building.
This studio seeks to understand and unlock the potential of reunification of the domestic and work environment to produce new value in contemporary society through a number of questions:
- What is the role of architecture in contemporary collective life? How can architecture catalyze programmatic relationships that produce value and respond to changing ideals of society?
- How can we critically engage the economies of architecture? How do sharing economies and changing patterns of habitation impact the way we consider space use and ownership?
- What is the value of spatial proximity when decentralized communication allows work to happen anywhere? How can we address the fragmentation of physical spaces and the emergence of new types of communities? How should we account for the acceleration of these trends under COVID-19 and future uncertainty?
Analysis + Argument → Programmatic Ecology → Building Design
The WORKHOUSE Advanced Studio consists of three phases. In Phase 1, students will analyze a series of precedents and create an argument about domestic and work spaces. This phase will be complete in pairs. In Phase 2, students will translate their research on work and domestic spaces to develop a programmatic ecology for a new building design for a site in Japan. The last phase will use the work from the previous phases as the basis for a building design. These working phases are described in more detail below.
Phase 1: Analysis + Argument (Weeks 1-3)
Students will work in pairs to conduct a parallel study of contemporary spaces combining elements of domesticity and work and images from the past depicting the future in order to develop a narrative that speaks to ways that changes happening today may open up possibilities for the future. Groups will compare the way the future has been visualized in the past with the contemporary phenomena of co-working and co-living, to form a basis for producing their own visualizations. Each group will build their narrative week-to-week, gaining specificity as more information is analyzed. The presentations will create a narrative using drawings, diagrams, and supporting images to address the above lines of inquiry and draw comparisons between precedents.
By the end of Phase 2 each group will use their Phase 1 argument to write a short essay that uses the precedents to clarify their argument. This will ultimately turn into a printed collection of essays. Between presentations, there will be lectures from workplace designers.
Phase 2: Programmatic Ecology (Weeks 4-6)
In Phase 2, each group will develop a Programmatic Ecology consisting of a program, site, and narrative for a new building in Japan. The proposed program must contain both residential and work environments. The goal of the Programmatic Ecology is to illustrate a building’s potential value through the thoughtful coordination of relationships across multiple time modes. Through the Programmatic Ecology, students will define the relationships between activities and communities who will inhabit the building. By adapting the framework of a business plan, students will demonstrate the reality of their programmatic proposal using diagrams, illustrations and data to produce a short video presentation. Work produced in Phase 2 will act as the design brief for the last phase. This phase will include lectures from industry specialists.
Phase 3: Building Design (Weeks 7-15)
Employing the Programmatic Ecology developed in Phase 2, students will work individually to design a new building that embodies the ideas developed in the preceding phases. The final studio presentation will integrate the architectural strategy of the building design with the previous research and Programmatic Ecology.