Nest. Negotiating Experiences in Shared Thresholds
Menezes, Diya Maria
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As architects, we cannot resist the opportunity to build good houses on generous budgets to accommodate happy families. We could use this opportunity, however, to reconfigure the detached single-family house for a group of people that are not yet family, let alone happy. These are distressed times for a growing margin of society: seniors are lonely, young families struggle with little household help and middle-aged couples continue to pay large mortgages on their “empty nest” homes. We live in a society that copes. Seniors move into annexes of their children’s homes, two young families share daily chores, and middle-aged couples invest in a property with friends. It is happening all around us, and much can be done to provide the infrastructure to both accommodate and encourage the shift. This work builds the case for a house: a shared house for the emerging demographic of non-autonomous households that fall outside the conventions of the nuclear family. The project is a social experiment that investigates, probes and predicts the dynamics between 7-12 occupants who may be family, friend or stranger. It promises not only to test current proclivities, needs and desires for domesticity and privacy, but begs to be considered as an acceptable, and even preferable, way of living.