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New Domesticity - New Concepts Of Dwelling

Part 2 Project 2001
Pamela Self
London Metropolitan University London UK

temporal spatial constructions

In developing an approach to dwelling, the construction of a social event (a meal) was used to test possible forms of occupation. By introducing simple materials into an empty warehouse, or, in the second project, a functioning gallery, different activities and temporary inhabitations are suggested.

shifting between material, domestic and urban scales

The design of two houses in an urban site takes on a new scale and permanence, but the careful placing of simple materials remains a priority. By elongating the houses against the street, a large open space is created which relates to the vast expanse of the railway valley beyond. The interior of the inhabited screen forms linear rooms layered into staircase, storage and balcony spaces.

mysterious presence

Inspired by the existing fences and sheds on the site – simple constructions that can be adapted to a variety of occupations – I propose a rich materiality which is combined with an ambiguity of function. The intention is to create an emphasis on material character rather than specific use, which remains hidden and mysterious. Through the play of light and material, the screen structure provokes our curiosity and forms a powerful impact on our perceptions.

Pamela Self


Students were asked to facilitate new domestic patterns in relationship to spatial constructions, both originating from the place.

During initial projects, the student engaged herself with the materiality of food in the construction of a meal, and a good sense of tectonics in the temporary colonisation within Peter Märkli’s totally unconsumerist art gallery for the work of the sculptor Hans Josephsohn in the Ticino. The building and the sculptures make a very strong material symbiosis which requires an unobtrusive and quiet intervention.

The student's final project is on a little triangular plot of land lodged between Kentish Town High Street in North London and a vast railway cutting. A sensitive and subtle awareness of particular material and spatial qualities of this site became design generators rather than mere observations. A large transparent timber screen facing the street is the backbone of her project, giving a sense of place for two long thin dwellings to perch behind, opening themselves like long balconies to the railway lands. The material presence of the timber screen is very important to this project. It is not a facade to a building, but a collection of dwellings behind a large timber fence.

2001
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