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Modern Nomadic House

Part 2 Project 2001
Chris Holmes
University of Auckland Auckland New Zealand
This project proposes a house for the modern nomad.

Modern nomadic people are a social group whose identity is socially based rather than geographically. They live and grow in various cities and countries around the world, continually relocating themselves.

I propose that contemporary architecture is not meeting the needs of this steadily growing global society. This project aims to remedy this by providing an architectural expression of this society, serving their needs, and reflecting their values.

This program grew from an investigation of that which is “house” … what house has meant to humans over time, and how it might be interpreted today.

The modern nomads' identity has shifted from specific places to moments or events in an open field of possible locations. They enjoy the freedom of movement of a nomadic lifestyle, but also take advantage of the communal wealth of the city. As such the modern nomad lives in city as house… but without fixity to place a traditional identity with any one city is problematic, as the relationship is transient.

At a global scale the entire world can be seen as house for the modern nomad. However, to form a sense of identity at such a scale (and to some degree at any scale) some point of reference is required… this is the house of the modern nomad.

The house, or “personal space unit” (PSU), can be seen as a small area of stability and control in an otherwise dynamic experience of life. It is a place of retreat, where one can sleep, where one can “house” one’s meaningful possessions… a minimal space of infinite potential for meaning for the individual.

Chris Holmes

This student's project has been informed by a number of interwoven ideas about what constitutes "House" and what it is to be "at home". At the same time, the project is refracted through the lived-experiential lens of The Overseas Experience (OE) - a typical rite of passage for young New Zealanders. The project is thus predicated upon and reinforces the notion that there now exists an international community of individuals, bound together less by issues of geographical proximity and more by transience and continually evolving networks of personal experiences or relationships. The student has interrogated and communicated these ideas with great conviction at a variety of physical and temporal scales - theoretical, historical, pastoral, urban, social, political, technical, operational and programmatic.

The House for the Modern Nomad allows contemporary peripatetics to (re-) construct their own personal space(s) anywhere in the world. The Personal Space Unit can accommodate familiar personal artefacts, memorabilia, materials, surfaces, etc., as well as synthetic multi-media environments. The unit is designed to fit into a standard airline container, which can then be transported, plugged-in and unpacked at standard, serviced, structural frameworks located in various cities around the globe.

The proposal, whilst essentially very simple, has been very carefully considered at a level of detail to allow materials, components and fabrication techniques to be adapted to different social, environmental and economic conditions. Moreover, the project successfully addresses the idea of how to be "at home", in the private domain, while also integrated into communal life and shared infrastructures.

• Page Hits: 1242         • Entry Date: 05 July 2001         • Last Update: 05 July 2001