The current house(ing) typology is by all means a contested space manipulated by social, political, and economic forces. Contemporary domestic environments are highly commoditized and although they are conceived as a fundamental component of our lives, is the one single most powerful apparatus of discrimination. This typology, which comes for a complicated history, was established in our society as a means of economic and political control, defining clearly the roles of different genders and of course of different classes and races.

Nevertheless, it is the place that we all humans need in order to exist as long as it its conceived as the vital shelter to protect our bodies from the weather and allow it to be nurtured and grow. In this regard it is by all means the most vital structure on our planet. The recognition of its importance as the place to make life possible, a vital necessity for all humans became a universal human right inscribed in the United Nations Declarations of Rights in 1948.

House(ing) today, that one that we have replicated over and over, very explicitly though out the world for at least almost two centuries, has a very problematic foundation. Its condition of being a political apparatus to control and shape society only responds to a society that is surrended to the extraction of value at any cost. It then has long been forgotten as the vital structure that holds our body to exist. The current model has a problematic condition that relies on the three major frictions on which its foundations or replications are based: “the house as a place of rest, as if work could be separated from life and housework would disappear; the house as private property within everyone’s reach, as if when considering it a commodity it would not be determined by market-driven dynamics, making it unaffordable to the majority; and the house as a sanctuary for the nuclear family (husband, wife and children)”. 1

In this studio we will consider the house well apart from the modern apparatus that has in place two purposes for the house: “from the suburban house to the (city) apartment- driven by the imperative to privatize the family and transform the house into marketable asset”2, and challenge the definition by understanding what is a place that responds to that basic necessity and that by all means recognizes the importance of its existence to serve humans and not the political and economic system.

First of all, we will recognize the problematic condition of defining spaces for ‘functions’, for defining ‘units’; for specific types of social arrangements, and thirdly to designing complexes as self-sufficient island as if the city would not be there.

We will unveil how, we the architects (and students), have been the tool of the system for replicating this oppressive form of existence by not questioning and not problematizing the fact that the standardization, distribution, making spaces for specific functions is shaping a very discriminatory society on itself.

This studio will engage critically into the history of specific types of collective housing, some that have challenged the current typology and some that have followed as a clear prescription. We then move forward to define a critical aspect that will give ground to a project for a block in Mexico City, where the model will challenge the current exploitative mode of the house, starting for land ownership towards a model that clearly recognizes reproductive labor and facilitates a space to hold bodies to exist, any type of body, and finally that recognizes that architecture embodies a greater friction, which is that is holding a very evolutive and everchanging organic process (life) with its own very static, defined and predetermined tools (physical materials and forms).

This project will be conceived individually but as part of a collective, each student will design a specific structure of the block, making all existence on it considerations of design, and will work collectively to define this block as an integrated system that breads the rest of the neighborhood, but also depends on it.

We will not only challenge current typological models, but also its current forms of representation, the forms in which the projects will be presented will be also a subject of study in parallel to the project.

We will be working in a specific block in Colonia Juarez in Mexico City where the studio will be traveling.

The studio trip will be designed to understand three very different forms of communal living, as well as ones that respond to the current social, economic and political parading and its problematics.

We will travel first to the Mayan region in the Yucatan Peninsula, to understand the way Mayans have been formulating their living compounds, and then travel to the autonomous region of Chiapas to understand a ‘caracol;’ a social and political organization that has been self-governed for the last 30 years. Finally, we will travel to Mexico City and visit different buildings of two very different typologies, one done collectively as a form of cooperative and the other one more ‘conventional’ ones done by government or private entities.

1 Canales, Fernanda, “Mi casa tu ciudad: Privacidad en un Mundo Compartido” (Puente Editores 1ª Edicion 2021), Prologo Pag. 7
2 Aureli, Pier Vittorio, Tattara, Martino, Ceragno, Daniele, “Beyond the Commons” (Arquitectura Viva No. 250, December 2022), Pag. 43

Mandatory Bibliography

  • Pier Vittorio Aureli, Martino Tattara, DOGMA, Living and Working, (Massachusets: MIT Press 2022)
  • Dolores Hayden, The Grand Domestic Revolution: A History of feminist Designs for American Homes, neighborhoods, and Cities, (The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England, 1981)
  • Maria Mies, Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale: Women in the international division of labor, (Zed Books, London 2014)
  • Elisa Iturbe, Architecture and the Death of Carbon Modernity, (Log 47. Overcoming carbon form. Edited by Elisa Iturbe p 11-24, Fall 2019)
  • Maria Shéhérazade Giudici, Counter-planning from the Kitchen: For a Feminist Critique of Type, (Journal of Architecture 23, no. 7-8, 2018)
  • Maria Shéhérazade Giudici, Pier Vittorio Aureli, “Islands: The Settlement from Property to Care” (Log No 47, Overcoming Carbon Form edited by Elisa Iturbe p. 175-199, Fall 2019)
  • Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958)
  • Friedrich Engels, The Housing Question, (2nd Edition, Progress Publishers Moscow 1954)
  • Serge Chermayeff, Christopher Alexander, Community and Privacy, Toward a New Architecture of Humanism. (Doubleday, New York, 1963)
  • Niklas Maak, Living Complex: From Zombie City to the New Communal, (Hirmer Publishers, 2015)
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Home, Its Work and Its Influence (McClure, Phillips and Co., New York, 1903)
  • Sylvia Federici, Wages Against Housework (Power of Women Collective and Falling Wall Press, 1975)
  • Lynn F. Pearson, The Architectural & Social History of Cooperative Living, (MacMillan Press, London, 1988)
  • Massimo de Angelis, Omnia Sunt Communia: On the Commons and the Transformation to Postcapitalism, Zed Books, 2017.
  • Pier Vittorio Aureli, Martino Tattara, Paint a Vulgar Picture. On the Relationship Between Images and Projects in Our Work (Piano B. Arti E Culture Visive, 4(2), 2020)

All Sections and Semesters

Spring 2024
Advanced Design Studio: Miami Made
Adib Cúre, Carie Penabad, Deborah Garcia
Spring 2022
Advanced Design Studio: VERI_PLEX Center for Alternative Cinema
Joe Day, Violette de la Selle
Spring 2021
Advanced Design Studio
Sandra Barclay, Jean Pierre Crousse, Can Vu Bui