Finding a home for interdisciplinary research: Dissolving disciplinary boundaries through the development of an audio/spatial installation

STAY HOME explores the multiple experiences of, and within, the home during the pandemic with a view to examine more long-term changes in our conceptualization, experience, and concretization of the home. A complex phenomenon such as the home requires a multi-faceted research team, and STAY HOME involves researchers from the fields of architecture, science and technology studies, theology, and history. These four disciplines have rarely, if ever, been brought together, but this interdisciplinary constellation provides the necessary knowledge to examine what has happened to the home as a physical, social, existential, and technological site during the pandemic. However, bringing together these disciplines also raises questions regarding interdisciplinary research and collaborative research outputs. The scholars of STAY HOME produce individual PhD-dissertations and research by design experiments, but like many other interdisciplinary teams, must overcome disciplinary boundaries and develop new ways of collaborating when working on joint projects.

In this blog post, the STAY HOME research group presents their collaborative process with developing an audio/spatial installation through interdisciplinary research methods. This endeavour solved some of our challenges of creating a dialogue between the four disciplines involved in the project, but it also tested our skills regarding scholarly communication across disciplinary boundaries, and, finally, opened some unexpected research perspectives. The installation, entitled IF THESE WALLS COULD SPEAK reflects upon peoples’ experiences of home during lockdown through an audio/spatial bodily experience for the general public. It was shown as part of the larger exhibition BEHAVIOUR/WELFARE at the Royal Danish Academy – Architecture, Design, Conservation from September 2022 to March 2023.

We begin by introducing the STAY HOME research group, its ambition and object of study, as well as the individual projects being undertaken by the researchers. Then we describe our collaborative process in more detail, including the challenges faced, and continue by showing how this process informed shared and individual insights. On this basis, we conclude with some insights that might be useful for other interdisciplinary research groups. We suggest that the development of a common ‘boundary object’[1] (Star 2010), in this case the IF THESE WALLS COULD SPEAK installation, enabled exchanges and insights across disciplines, which can also inform individual monodisciplinary projects.

Interdisciplinarity in the context of STAY HOME

The COVID-19 pandemic upset many functions and boundaries of the home. It reminded us that such functions and boundaries are culturally and socially defined, and that they shift across time, impacted by historical circumstances. The pandemic served as a catalyst, foregrounding material, and digital boundaries as well as experiences, social structures, functions, and dysfunctions of the home. For many people, the pandemic gave a new perspective on the lives we live in our homes. These shifts as well as their potential to inform future homes are the object of study in the project STAY HOME: The Home during the Corona Crisis – and after (2020-26), which is funded by the Carlsberg Foundation.

The creation of STAY HOME was spurred by an intention in the PI-group to engage with the covid-19 pandemic and its repercussions from an ambitious interdisciplinary perspective, while at the same time having a strong foundation in research fields related to the Humanities. The aim has been to contribute to ongoing research on, and around, the corona pandemic and to gather methodological insights from the interdisciplinary work, and from the ongoing concern with public outreach prepared by the project editor. STAY HOME is led by Professor of Church History Mette Birkedal Bruun, whose experience with interdisciplinary historical research into boundaries and zones that demarcate privacy and the private at the Danish National Research Foundation Centre for Privacy Studies serves as an inspiration for STAY HOME’s even more comprehensive interdisciplinary profile.

STAY HOME’s core research group is comprised of a postdoc and three PhD students, each of whom is responsible for an individual research project exploring a particular aspect of the home. Working within Science and Technology Studies, PhD Student Katja Pape de Neergaard examines the increasingly digitally networked home, how the materiality of home and digital technologies enacts everyday privacy, and individuals’ lived experiences with navigating networked homes during a time characterized by uncertainty. Historian Katrine Rønsig Larsen historicizes the experience of family violence in her PhD dissertation. Through historical cases and interviews from the pandemic, she explores how individuals have interpreted and conveyed their experiences with domestic violence in ways that evolve historically. Architect and Assistant Professor, Nicholas Thomas Lee’s post-doctoral research project entitled, ‘Dwelling in a Time of Social Distancing’ examines the unprecedented demands that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on the domestic interior and its architectural arrangement, with a particular focus on novel domestic morphologies and threshold places. In her PhD dissertation, theologian Anne-Milla Wichmann Kristensen focuses on the pandemic as an experience of crisis, using the German American theologian Paul Tillich’s notion of ‘kairos’ (the opportune moment) as an analytical key. The STAY HOME editor, sociologist Emma Klakk, has a double function as academic coordinator within the research team and communicator mediating between the scholars and the general public on the STAY HOME homepage (mainly Danish), social media channels, and at workshops and other events.

Our collaborative process: Research by Design and creating the installation

Our collaboration began with the establishment of focused reading sessions organized around four central concepts: Home, Phenomenology, Archive, and Thresholds. We each selected research texts, which could shed light on these concepts and at the same time, give each researcher the opportunity to present literature from their respective disciplines. The reading sessions were a way to get to know each other’s disciplines without having to agree on a shared notion of the central concepts, but rather to learn the different nuances, which we individually brought to the study of home. However, the reading sessions primarily facilitated theoretical encounters. An urgent question for us thus became how we could move on to include empirical material in these discussions, and how we could seek to facilitate new insights collaboratively. The desire to address these questions initiated the idea of developing a physical installation, as a type of ‘boundary object’ with a point of departure in the Research by Design method. Discussing the notion of ‘boundary object’ was an early inspiration in our process towards the installation. The term captures the disciplinary liminalities that we navigated in our endeavour to find common ground.

A process diagram showing the development of the IF THESE WALLS COULD SPEAK installation.
A process diagram showing the development of the IF THESE WALLS COULD SPEAK installation.

Research by Design as promoted by academics such as Halina Dunin-Woyseth, Leon Van Schaik and Johan Verbeke (2014) is a systematic approach where the practice of design is utilized as the primary means to develop understanding and new knowledge. Birger Sevaldson defines the Research by Design method as, a special research mode where the explorative, generative and innovative aspects of design are engaged and aligned in a systematic research enquiry.” (Sevaldson 2010, 11). The specific Research by Design method deployed for the development of the IF THESE WALLS COULD SPEAK installation involved a series of workshops where ‘Inputs’ taking the form of a co-authored abstract based upon the earlier reading sessions, historical references, as well as an archive of interviews, formed the point of departure for ‘Operations’, namely the creative development of the audio/spatial installation. Over the course of the creative process, we held a series of workshops where interim ‘Outputs,’ taking the form of demo sound-collages and spatial sketch ideas, were collectively discussed with insights from the individual projects.

The STAY HOME team sitting around a table at a workshop.

Picture of the STAY HOME team sitting around a table at a workshop
The workshops included working with theoretical texts and interview data, categorizing material for the sound-collages, discussing spatial components, and giving feedback on sound collages and design sketches.

Three initial concepts for a spatial installation were developed by Nicholas; they were inspired from an abstract, collectively written by the research group. Of these three spatial concepts, the group decided to develop the idea for an audio/spatial installation based upon acoustic mirroring walls and audio recordings, during Workshop 02. In between subsequent workshops, Nicholas and Katja developed the spatial design and sound-collages based upon collective reflections and ideas from the group. During the development and refinement of the spatial installation, Nicholas took inspiration from a wide variety of examples of acoustic architecture, such as whispering walls, sound devices dreamed up by the seventeenth-century German Jesuit Scholar and polymath, Athanasius Kircher and various ‘sound mirrors’ utilized during the early twentieth century, as precursors to radar. Midway through the process, the initial sketch ideas for the installation were presented to the STAY HOME perspective panel, comprising of senior academics and researchers that represent the fields of anthropology, architecture, science and technology studies, theology, religious studies, and history, as a form of open interim peer-review[2].

Initial sketch of the installation depicting a curved wall making up five circular rooms.
Initial sketch concept for the IF THESE WALLS COULD SPEAK installation, presented during Workshop 02, by Nicholas Thomas Lee.

The difficulties dogging congenial peer-review of interdisciplinary projects was the focus of an internal seminar on interdisciplinary research and new forms of research publication with Professor Maja Horst (Aarhus University). The final IF THESE WALLS COULD SPEAK audio/spatial installation can be seen as the ‘Deliverable’ from this process. In addition to being part of the BEHAVIOUR/WELFARE exhibition at the Royal Danish Academy – Architecture, Design, Conservation, the project was also published at the STAY HOME: New Perspectives of the Home conference in November 2022.

Developed design sketch: a circular room within a curved wooden wall.
Developed design sketch of IF THESE WALLS COULD SPEAK by Nicholas Thomas Lee.

The final version of IF THESE WALLS COULD SPEAK presented at the BEHAVIOUR/WELFARE exhibition was assembled by ourselves in collaboration with architect and woodworker Anders Drøidal (OFR Design + Arkitektur), adding even more disciplines to our collaboration.

Three of the STAY HOME researchers assembling wooden parts of the structure.
STAY HOME researchers assembling IF THESE WALLS COULD SPEAK.

The installation comprises of a wooden construction supporting a curved ply-wood wall designed to perform as an acoustic mirror and three sound collages. Visitors to the installation are invited to take a seat and listen to the walls. The closer you sit to the wall, the louder the sound. The sound collages run in loops with no intended beginning or ending. Made of fragments of interview recordings from the first lockdown in Denmark, they recall themes of uncertainty and uncomfortableness, collapse of everyday contexts, and ways in which digital technologies mediated or disrupted interactions. The installation encourages reflections on the messy, composite, and diverse experiences of the home during the pandemic to call for considerations on future domestic practices.

Visitors in front of the installation at the vernissage of the exhibition.
The final version of IF THESE WALLS COULD SPEAK at the vernissage of BEHAVIOUR/WELFARE.

Sound collages as a tool for analysis between disciplines

In between the workshops, as described above, creative experimentation took place. For example, the production of original sound collages, crafted from ethnographic material from an archive of more than 200 interviews from the first lockdown in 2020 in Denmark: The Digitization of Everyday Life during the Covid-19 pandemic in Denmark (The VELUX Foundation), directed by Brit Ross Winthereik and Anders K. Munk. In our collaborative workshops, we had identified themes that resonated across projects and excerpts of interviews related to these themes. With these as a guide, Katja dove into the archive asking; what can we learn from this material about practices and experiences at home, and about the crisis? And what can we learn from exploring it through sound, in the form of voice-recordings accompanied by musical instruments and everyday sounds?

Screengrab of work-in-progress in the audio-software Ableton.
Screengrab of work-in-progress in the audio-software Ableton.

Working with the sound recordings brought attention to atmospheres, silences, and uncertainties that were otherwise overlooked in the interview transcripts. For one of the sound collages, we identified sounds of uncertainty and sounds usually left out of interview transcripts; ‘eh’, pauses, hesitations, slurred speech etc. These sounds of uncertainty represented to us how participants were struggling to make sense of their everyday lives at home during the pandemic. In the interviews, many did not even mention their home directly, because they were primarily concerned with trying to describe the overwhelming ambivalence and exhaustion, they felt by staying home during lockdown (de Neergaard, forthcoming). While the home was often absent from the conversation at first glance, it was very much present, and even problematized, as a place of confinement and a space that had to hold many ambivalent experiences.

In other sound collages, we let the diffuse sounds of the materiality of home and its surroundings take centre stage. Here, we reflect on the ambivalence of being home alone, yet still being in the (if only auditory) presence of bird chirpings from outside, the humming noise of dishwashing machines, one’s own sounds, neighbours, and chit-chatter from the media. Working with these sounds brought attention to all that happens when it seems nothing is happening in isolation, and how the home is subject to constant, yet subtle interference and exchange with elsewhere.

The work with sound exemplifies how working creatively with empirical material fosters attention to new, and sometimes subtle, themes in empirical material and produces new analytical insights. In total, we crafted three sound collages that were finalized with the help of composer Finn Cooney.

Exchanges between individual projects and our collaborative efforts

The development of the installation has affected, and been affected by, our individual projects. The process has provoked new questions, new methods, and analytical insights. For example, Katrine inspired the design process with perspectives from the history of emotions, which is reflected in the installation’s concern with how emotional experiences are formed, echoed, and refracted under changing historical conditions. Her specific research on experiences with family violence is furthermore echoed in the sometimes-dismal atmosphere of the sounds collages as well as in the sound collages’ investigation of the silences and struggles to articulate the new experiences of the home generated in the pandemic context.

Katja contributed with ethnographic insights around digital practices, boundaries and the (digital) connection between home and elsewhere. Katja notes that her own PhD has been influenced by the installation work in that she increasingly draws on critical archival analysis (introduced to her by Katrine) to discuss contemporary digital archives, and she has continued to develop the artistic research practices she initiated with her production of sound collages from ethnographic interviews.

Anne-Milla’s research focus on the discussions of experiences of hope and, particularly, anxiety inherent in Tillich’s notion of crisis resurfaces in the claustrophobic tenor of the sound collages. Anne-Milla brings the digital interview archive into her theological work as a present-day counterpoint to Tillich’s twentieth-century theological works. This approach has proven to be a methodological provocation in a discipline, which is traditionally textually oriented, and her work prompted new questions regarding the selection, weight, and analysis of individual interviews. Furthermore, the installation has affected her perspective on the interconnection between the individual and the home consequently making the home prominent in analysing hope and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although Nicholas uses the Research by Design method regularly in his own work, the interdisciplinary nature of the STAY HOME project has both challenged and furthered his own understanding of the method. Firstly, Research by Design has far greater acceptance as a scholarly method when working solely within the fields of Architecture and Design, however, when utilizing this method within an interdisciplinary research environment one is forced to be even more explicit about the process and its specific ‘Inputs’, ‘Operations’, ‘Outputs’ and ‘Deliverables.’ Secondly, another important learning for Nicholas has been the importance of explicitly acknowledging one’s research archive, particularly in relation to spatial references. During a design process, the Architect often uses many implicit historical references in developing and informing a proposal. During the exchanges with his three research colleagues at the workshops, it became apparent how important it is to clearly ‘cite’ spatial references, in the case of the IF THESE WALLS COULD SPEAK installation, examples of acoustic architecture as proof of the concept from a technological perspective.

Insights for interdisciplinary research groups: Takeaways from our collaborative process

Embracing theoretical difference and nuance

One challenge that interdisciplinary research teams often face is the need to establish a shared language across disciplines. This applies to the concrete terminology and concepts used within each discipline, but also to the underlying assumptions, i.e., how different disciplines methodologically approach a research problem, how they employ theory, and what empirical data they use and how (Siedlok and Hibbert 2012). The effort to identify and create common terminology is an elusive and time-consuming endeavour. The challenges arguably vary according to the particular disciplines that are brought into dialogue with each other, which may pose more or less deep disciplinary and vocabulary differences to overcome. In many cases though, attempting to reach a mutual definition of central underlying concepts can obstruct the productivity of conjoining different disciplines to explore new problems.

The process of developing the installation as a ‘boundary object’ between disciplines mitigated such challenges. Through the reading sessions, workshops, and feedback meetings, our collective and individual understandings of our core concept, home, became more complex and nuanced. In the reading sessions, we structured our theoretical encounters in a way that embraced nuance and complexity; we sought to understand the premise and traditions of each other’s disciplines, not to force them together into normative conceptual definitions. The notion of home thus became a (conceptual) place for us to meet as researchers, and a place from which we were able to venture into each other’s fields.

From theoretical encounters to analysis through creative production

To capture this theoretical nuance, and not least to use it to understand empirical material and the experiences of our interviewees, we used artistic research practices, namely the Research by Design method. We suggest that the installation, and perhaps more importantly the process that led to its realization, is a useful format to foster interdisciplinary exchange. Meeting in and around the installation stimulated attention to analytical insights, rather than disciplinary differences. Through the workshops and the design-related aspects of creating the installation, we facilitated a shared space, into which we could bring our academic perspectives, without a need to constantly define their differences. Meeting in and around the installation, as a ‘boundary object,’ allowed us to let disciplinary boundaries dissolve and be redrawn as needed, as we discussed empirical material, design ideas, and creative interpretations. We considered this work as reflection-in-progress, rather than a communication of shared results.

Interdisciplinary work produces disciplinary inspiration

The installation facilitated an experience for audiences to reflect upon the home, but it also produced important new reflections and inspiration for the individual research projects. Sceptics of interdisciplinary research may argue that it risks diluting the individual researcher’s academic profile and disciplinary standards. However, we experienced that the interdisciplinary collaboration led to an increased ‘groundedness’ in our individual projects and made each researcher feel more at home in their own discipline. We suggest that there are several, interrelated explanations for this. Interdisciplinary research compels each researcher to clearly state what their approach is, and the ways in which they approach empirical materials, which helps elucidate and raise their awareness of their taken-for-granted ways of thinking within their own discipline. As noted, it also provides each researcher with new analytical and methodological insights for individual projects and challenges their own research methods and field-specific assumptions.

Advice for prioritizing alternative formats of collaboration despite structural barriers

Complex societal questions demand interdisciplinary research perspectives, and more and more interdisciplinary research is being funded. However, the academic system is not always equipped to support the work conducted by interdisciplinary teams. As multiple disciplines are brought together, so are varying, and sometimes competing scholarly requirements, values, and standards for knowledge production. Creating common ground in this encounter can become a significant barrier because the research teams struggle to find a shared scholarly format. As we have shown, interdisciplinary work benefits from alternative formats of collaboration, but is often confronted with the lack of avenues and appreciation for such work. While our creative collaboration produced nuanced collective and individual insights, the installation format proved difficult to peer-review; it does not result in any publishable deliveries in the traditional sense, and as such, does not result in any ‘credits’ in the conventional academic system which prioritizes peer-reviewed written outputs. Additionally, individual researchers often work on mono-disciplinary projects, which must be peer-reviewed within their own disciplinary fields (Christiansen 2021). Such challenges can leave teams unable to disseminate shared insights, but also be a demotivating factor for interdisciplinary knowledge production.

To succeed despite concerns over lack of conventional publishing, we found that a generous academic and collegial culture is a crucial component. It requires courage and motivation to continue with efforts that do not have predetermined means of being published. In our case, prioritizing an inspiring work environment allowed for unique reflections that informed both shared and individual projects. In addition, prioritizing funding for the role of Emma Klakk as our project editor has been a central feature to completing the project. Emma has handled a lot of both visible and invisible administrative and communicative labour in the research process, which can otherwise easily exhaust many research projects.

Finally, we experimented with alternative formats for peer-interaction, all organized around the IF THESE WALLS COULD SPEAK installation and the STAY HOME conference, where the work and its process were disseminated to peers from a wide variety of disciplinary fields. Yet, challenges with facilitating constructive interdisciplinary work cannot be solved by individual teams alone. The academic community needs to think both critically and creatively about how such work is valued, to gain the much-needed insights from interdisciplinary projects.

Concluding remarks

Interdisciplinary teams face a number of challenges related to organizing collaboration, forming shared vocabularies, valuing ‘unpublishable’ efforts, and creating productive exchanges between collective and individual projects. In this blogpost, we have shown how organizing our collaboration around an audio/spatial installation as a boundary object for interdisciplinary exchange, helped mitigate such challenges. Using a Research by Design approach, we facilitated a shared space where we could let disciplinary boundaries dissolve and be re-drawn as needed. This process showed the benefits of embracing theoretical nuance, how creative practices fostered new perspectives on empirical material, and produced new methodological and analytical inspiration for our individual projects. We thus suggest that such a format of collaboration is beneficial for interdisciplinary teams, but also note that it requires patience, courage, and a supportive and generous leadership to succeed.

Notes

[1] In the article, This is Not a Boundary Object: Reflections on the Origin of a Concept (2010), the American sociologist Susan Leigh Star discusses the role of ‘boundary objects’, particularly in relation to collaborative endeavours, whereby it allows “different groups to work together without consensus.” Star identifies “interpretive flexibility” as an important aspect of any boundary object, while emphasizing that boundary in this case should be understood as “a shared space”, rather than “an edge or periphery”, particularly in relation to interdisciplinary work.

[2] We have benefitted immensely from collaborations with composer Finn Cooney, architect Anders Drøidal (OFR Design + Arkitektur), architect Peter Alexander Bullough (SUPERNATURE), Olivia Toftum, the STAY HOME perspective panel, Standard Practice, The Digitization of Everyday Life during the Covid-19 pandemic in Denmark, and all our interviewees. Furthermore, we thank the Carlsberg Foundation for funding our research and STARK GENTRÆ for sponsoring materials for the installation and assisting us in the reuse of the installation and the materials afterwards.

Research team

PI-group

    • PI: Mette Birkedal Bruun, professor of Church History, Faculty of Theology, University of Copenhagen, director of the Danish National Research Foundation Centre for Privacy Studies.
    • Co-PI: Brit Ross Winthereik, professor at Responsible Innovation and Design, Department of Technology, Management and Economics, The Technical University of Denmark.
    • Co-PI: Karen A. Vallgårda, associate professor of History, University of Copenhagen.
    • Co-PI: Peter Thule Kristensen, professor in History of Architecture and Interiors, Head of the master programme Spatial design, Institute of Architecture and Design, The Royal Danish Academy.

Editor

    • Emma Klakk, Sociologist and Academic Officer, Centre for Privacy Studies, University of Copenhagen.

Perspective panel

References

Christiansen, Agnete Solvej. 2021. “Forskerne vil gerne arbejde tværfagligt, men ofte bliver anstrengelserne ikke belønnet”. Sciencereport.dk: DFIR vil undersøge tværfaglighed og tværvidenskab (sciencereport.dk), accessed 13/07/2023.

De Neergaard, Forthcoming. Sounding uncertainties: Sounding as analytical strategy for engaging with digital ethnographic archives”.

Sevaldson, B. 2010. “Discussions & Movements in Design Research: A Systems Approach to Practice Research in Design”. FORMakademisk, 2010, vol. 3 nr. 1: 8-35.

Siedlok, Frank and Hibert, Paul. 2012. Interdisciplinary Collaborative Research: Course Reader (2017).  University of Strathclyde.

Star S. L. 2010. “This is Not a Boundary Object: Reflections on the Origin of a Concept”. Science Technology & Human Values 35(5): 601–617.

Verbeke, J. 2014. “This is Research by Design”. In M. Fraser (Ed.), Design Research in Architecture, An Overview. Farnham: Farnham: Ashgate: 137-159.

“Feeling at home” in out-of-home residential care

This blog post is written by Suzie Attiwill.

Suzie Attiwill is a designer, curator and Professor of Interior Design in the School of Architecture and Urban Design, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.

We have invited selected scholars, who presented at our conference ‘STAY HOME: New Perspectives on the Home’ in November 2022 to publish on our blog in 2023. This blog post is based on the conference presentation by the author.

“Feeling at home” in out-of-home residential care

Every child or young person who is removed from their parents has the right to live somewhere that feels like home. For many of the children and young people the Commission spoke to in foster and kinship care, being in care felt safe, stable and homely. For the majority of those living in residential care, however, being in care felt unsafe, unstable and not at all like home. (Commission for Children and Young People CCYP, 2019: 25).

The juxtaposition of “feeling at home” and yet out of home embodies the complexity of the situation of residential care in relation to the idea of home as both a feeling and a physical location. In 2018-19, the Australian Government developed a nationally consistent definition of out-of-home care as:

“… overnight care for children aged under 18 who are unable to live with their families due to child safety concerns. … Children are placed in out-of-home care for many reasons, including: being the subjects of substantiations and needing a protective environment, having parents who are incapable of providing adequate care, needing alternative accommodation during times of conflict, having parents or carers who need respite. Consistent with the principle of keeping children with their families where it is safe and appropriate to do so, out-of-home care placements are considered as a last resort.” (AIHW 2023)

In Australia, there are five types of out-of-home care: home-based care, residential care, independent living, family group homes, and other. Home-based care is accommodation in the home of a nominated and approved carer such as a relative/kin or foster carer. Like family group homes, there is a sense of family in the way relationships work and how the environment is set up. In contrast, residential care is a different arrangement. Some houses are purpose-built, and some are existing domestic suburban houses which have been adapted. Residential care houses are usually group houses with up to 4 young people living together and staffed 24 hours by care workers on rotating shifts. The report In our own words. Systemic inquiry into the lived experience of children and young people living in the Victorian out-of-home care system by the Victorian Commission for Children and Young People documents that many young people living in residential care describe these houses as feeling “cold, an institutional living environment” (CCYP 2019: 131) and the “physical living environment was sterile, impersonal, dilapidated or ‘like a prison’” (CCYP 2019: 162).

The environment of residential care houses has been the focus of a series of undergraduate interior design studios and currently, a research project at RMIT University. In 2008, Gregory Nicolau, a consultant psychologist in the out-of-home sector and founder of Australian Childhood Trauma Group, approached me as head of RMIT Interior Design to see if students could become involved in offering design ideas to transform the environment of residential care units into a more therapeutic experience. The outcome was a series of interior design studios titled Beyond Building (Attiwill 2010; Attiwill 2012).

More recently in 2022, a research project engaged the potential of spatial design in relation to the expectation that out-of-home residential care should provide a sense of home. This project titled Developing spatial design know-how with and for young people living in residential care involved young people who have lived experience of residential care. It is a pilot project to explore the potential of bringing spatial design and lived experience of residential care together to focus on the environment of residential care in relation to questions of belonging and home.

Coming from a design background as distinct from social sciences, I was keen to explore a different approach to one of interviews and/or surveys. While the initial intent was to engage the young people in a design-led process through design charettes1, other practices also emerged and entwined with design techniques. For example, trauma-informed practice2, co-production defined as “inclusive convening to share knowledge and power” (Y-Change 2020, 6), and the process of gaining ethics approval3 influenced the way the design charettes were set-up and the way we worked. The design charrettes, which are usually intense periods of brainstorming and drawing, were slowed down and became more conversational as we shared our different expertise in and experiences of spatial awareness over plans and photographs of houses.

The charrettes were held at the Design Hub at RMIT University; a space dedicated to design teaching and research. The set-up of the space was important; three large generic suburban house plans were arranged on tables together with photographs taken during the Beyond Building studios. This enabled us to imagine moving through the environment, from the outside and street-views through doors and across thresholds, into rooms and around arrangements of furniture and decoration, projecting sightlines and recollecting atmospheres.

Following is a selection of comments made by the lived experience consultants during the charrettes. They are presented here – as quotes – to offer insight into specific details regarding the question of home and the physical living environment of residential care. In between these quotes, I have added some of my own observations that connect with and/or expand upon the points being made.4

“You can’t settle in as you can be moved anytime and without warning.”

“Resi care homes definitely feel impermanent. That’s the whole intent of them anyway. It’s not meant to be permanent. I feel like that’s the entire experience of a lot of spaces. Like no matter where I go, it’s where it feels very impermanent. Like this isn’t a space that you’re meant to stay.”

“I don’t unpack. Because I move so often.”

“Someone else has left their mark before you … like when you open a cupboard, you’ll see graffiti in the inside that people have left there. … It can also really indicate that it’s not a permanent space. Like it’s a place where you pass through. … So, it doesn’t really feel like a home.”

In residential care, a young person is placed, and this is referred to as a placement. While place and place-making in design have associated meanings of specificity and connection, placement in residential care has a negative inflection. Depending on the situation, a young person may stay for several months, even years or could be moved within days.

“You can tell a resi-care house from the street, it looks different.”

“Often the grass is a bit patchy and it doesn’t look like it’s been looked after.”

“They all look the same; not in terms of building style but other aspects, such as the grass is barely there, the windows are covered.”

“Like no-one lives there.”

Residential care houses are usually located in residential areas. Many of them are houses that have been previously lived in by families and have been adapted to residential care specifications such as including an office and overnight accommodation for workers; some are purpose-built.

“The problem with the purpose-built houses is that they are built for this purpose; whereas the adapted houses have a sense of a previous life; of being lived in.”

The interior atmosphere is described as institutional. The yellow-cream colour of walls is the same colour used in institutional spaces experienced by young people such as hospitals and government offices. The communal spaces such as living room, dining area, and kitchens are referred to by the young people living there as public spaces.

“Resi care is really clinical, like the common room spaces don’t look nice. You walk into the space and it just doesn’t feel like a home. … the tacky lino on floors and the furniture in general.”

“Safety is sort of over emphasized. And so, it’s just really institutionalized. That’s what institutionalizes them in lots of ways is to make everything safe. But it’s in a standard safe safety way.”

“The fact that every single wall is plaster board feels like you are living in a world of cardboard.”

“It doesn’t really give you any incentive to want to take care of things if it’s always cheap and nasty.”

“I remember plastic flowers like the $2 shop ones that are obviously plastic.”

“It’s not something you would choose for yourself.”

“I feel like people are less likely to value things if it’s not something that they personally had a choice. It feels like a stranger’s place essentially.”

“When I would go into a resi unit, they’d already have the bedroom set up with things that I didn’t resonate with. You know they would just consider if a female or a male is coming to a space. … I think they got it right to some extent with one of the resi because it was just black and white; and I was like, thank God it’s not pink. But it still had like butterflies and things on the bedding. It isn’t really my sort of space.”

“At least to be able to have your own belongings in a space where you can see them and have somewhere to hang things up and organize your space. Or even a space where you can go and take 10 minutes just for yourself. Like somewhere you can play musical instrument or read a book; somewhere where you don’t hear what’s going on in the next room.”

Following are two lists which outline expectations of the environment of residential care in relation to providing a sense of home. One written by the Victorian State Government, and one created by Ella, one of the young consultants bringing lived experience to the design charrette. The comparison of these lists clarifies that the need and desires of young people in residential care is not purely material, but also aesthetic, social, personal, and functional.

The Victorian State Government has a policy titled Program requirements for residential care in Victoria. In Section 3: Environment and material goods requirements, there is a “principle statement” that reads “Despite some children needing to live away from their home and families in residential care, Child Safety Officers must ensure where ever possible a home-like environment is created to ensure children receive nurturing and a positive care experience”; a summary of expectations states “The physical living environment will reflect community expectations of a ‘home’” and lists the requirements to ensure a “home-like environment”:

“Home environment:

    1. Each child will be provided with their own bed and linen.
    2. Each child will be provided with accommodation that reflects their need for privacy and space.
    3. Each child will be provided with a space in which they can safely store their personal belongings.
    4. Child Safety Officers will provide children with personal items, household provisions and educational items (including books and toys) that are culturally and developmentally appropriate.
    5. Children will be clothed in a manner that complies with reasonable community standards and expectations.
    6. Children will be provided with a diet that promotes good health and complies with reasonable community standards and expectations, as well as with their cultural and religious background. Children will have reasonable access to a variety of food while residing in placement.
    7. Children not already receiving an income will be provided with a weekly allowance that meets reasonable community standards.” (DFFH, 2023)

The following list is by Ella, one of the CREATE Young Consultants participating in the charrette:

“Residential unit interior design workshop (6 September 2022):

    1. Inbuilt cupboard with drawers and hanging space for clothes.
    2. Heavy duty door without it looking clinical.
    3. Windows with locks.
    4. Doors with locks.
    5. Mandatory for ALL rooms to have a desk (inbuilt or not) to do things that bring them joy or for practical reasons such as homework.
    6. Somewhere to display meaning items.
    7. Locked cabinet for personal items (photos, meaningful objects etc.).
    8. Neutral colour palette without looking clinical or like we are in an institution (hospital, jail cell).
    9. Separate living areas for young people and carers/workers that is open to both.
    10. Swing outside/inside – movement may help a young person feel less distressed.
    11. Fixing holes in the walls IMMEDIATELY – promote feelings of safety for other young people.
    12. Mould and interior design breakdown (pests, paint flaking, structural damage) to be addressed IMMEDIATELY.
    13. Dining room table is a must to promote a sense of unity.
    14. Enable young people to choose their own style – get allowance to go shopping for decorations etc.
    15. Space dividing rooms for privacy reasons.
    16. MAXIMUM of 3 young people in each residential unit.”

The difference between the two lists is poignant – the first list outlines minimum expectations of needs to make a “home-like environment” and Ella’s list outlines, as she said “what we’re really entitled to”: an ability to arrange and organise one’s surroundings; to feel secure – one’s self and personal items; to be able to display and do things which give a sense of joy; to be able to relax and settle; to have the ability to find privacy and to be private; to not live surrounded by evidence of neglect, damage and violence; to have choice in terms of one’s setting such as furniture and bedroom furnishings; to be able to freely access food and to engage in everyday rituals such as sharing a meal. Ella’s list expresses not only needs but also desires which are aesthetic and ethical as well as functional.

At the time of the STAY HOME conference and now writing this text, the research project is still in process and while there will be more to consider, environments that create feelings of comfort and the ability to settle have emerged as critical. The question of home shifts from one of how to make an environment “home-like” to a consideration of conditions that will support young people to make connections that enable them to settle, to feel secure and stable; to have a sense of being somewhere.

“Like home is a place where I do not have to deal with the rest of the day. Where you just relax.”

Illustration by Hayden Daniel

Thank you to the following for their support and contribution to the project: CREATE Foundation and to CREATE Young Consultants – Ella & Hayley – and to Berry Street Youth Exchange and the Y-Change Lived Experience Consultants – Natasha and others; and Gregory Nicolau, founder Australian Childhood Trauma Group and Ripple. Thank you to Dr Sheena Elwick, Charles Sturt University, for her insights. This project continues the work of the LIVEability project, a collaboration with Mary Featherston.

This research has been made possible with the assistance of the Alastair Swayn Foundation Design Thinking Grant. A report will be published on Alastair Swayn Foundation website in July 2023. https://alastairswaynfoundation.org/

Notes

  1. A design charette is like a co-design process where the solution to a problem is sought through a collective design process.
  2. Trauma-informed practice is not about the treatment of trauma but a recognition that anyone may have an experience of trauma. It is based around 5 principles: safety; trustworthiness; choice; collaboration; empowerment.
  3. Universities require academic researchers to gain ethics approval if their research involves human and/or animal participants. Key ethical considerations to be addressed in the application are respect, justice, beneficence, research merit and integrity.
  4. At this stage in the project, quotes have not been attributed to an individual. The reasons for this are that not everyone gave consent for their name to be used and, as the project is still in process, we have not yet discussed how best to process the full transcript of the recordings from the charrettes. Neither have acronyms nor numeric codes been used as the conversation roamed and often people would finish each other’s sentence or drop in and pull out a key point.

References

Attiwill, Suzie, ed. 2010. Beyond Building. Melbourne: RMIT Interior Design, viewed 10 June 2023, https://www.academia.edu/103031768/Beyond_Building_Design_Studio

Attiwill, Suzie. 2012. “Beyond Building: Interior Designs”. Interior: A State of Becoming, IDEA Symposium, viewed 10 June 2023, https://www.academia.edu/4758484/Beyond_Building_Interior_Designs

Australian Institute for Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2021, Young People in Out-of-Home Care 2021, viewed 10 June 2023, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/children-youth/young-people

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2023, Child protection Australia 2021–22, viewed 10 June 2023, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/child-protection/child-protection-australia-2021-22

Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP). 2019. In our own words: Systemic inquiry into the lived experience of children and young people in the Victorian out-of-home care system, viewed 10 June 2023, https://ccyp.vic.gov.au/assets/Publications-inquiries/CCYP-In-Our-Own-Words.pdf

CREATE Foundation https://create.org.au/ CREATE is the national consumer body representing the voices of children and young people with out-of-home care experience.

Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH), State Government of Victoria, 2023. Program requirements for residential care in Victoria, viewed 10 June 2023, https://providers.dffh.vic.gov.au/program-requirements-residential-care-victoria-oct-2016-word

Y-Change. 2020. “Beyond Giving Voice. Partnering with Young People with a Lived Experience to Imagine and Create Radical Change.” Y-Change’s Submission to the Victoria Youth Strategy, viewed 10 June 2023, https://www.berrystreet.org.au/uploads/main/Files/Y-Change-submission-to-the-Victorian-Youth-Strategy-December-2020-FINAL-01.07.21.pdf

Youth Engagement Y-Change https://www.berrystreet.org.au/what-we-do/young-people/youth-engagement-y-change Youth Engagement Y-Change, an advocacy group connected to Berry Street, one of Australia’s largest independent family service organisations (operating since 1877) and a service provider for “out-of-home” care.

Revealing Wickedness of Home

This blog post is written by Johan Liekens.

Johan Liekens is a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Architecture at KU Leuven, Belgium.

We have invited selected scholars, who presented at our conference STAY HOME: New Perspectives on the Home in November 2022 to publish on our blog in 2023. This blog post is based on the conference presentation by the author.

Revealing Wickedness of Home

On the moist, bare soil within the belly of the Drongenhof Chapel, itself tucked away in one of the city of Ghent’s remnant medieval neighborhoods, a particular interior setting was temporarily grafted. As in George Perec’s interpretation of Antonello Da Messina’s painting Saint Jerome in His Study, that setting as a study inquired and mediated ideas on habitation. This time though such mediation would not merely connect to a spatial inscription in what Perec (1974) has identified as the bare and glacial surroundings constituted by a chapel’s empty belly. On the contrary, and venturing from an architectural perspective, the mediation would reveal aspects of (in-)(co-)habitation in a post-anthropocentric world; an era of climatological emergency wherein New Materialism perspectives encourage an engagement and entanglement with matter conceived as vital and vibrant (Bennet 2010), a parliament of things (Latour 1991), and a multi-species community (Puig de la Bellacasa 2017, 2020) such as the conglomerate matter of the living soil on which the setting rested1. More than mediating home, the setting thus revealed wicked but inherent and fully real aspects of home.

The Wicked Home has been a transdisciplinary academic design office (ADO) set up by Nel Janssens, Rachel Armstrong, Rolf Hughes, Laurens Luyten, Annelies De Smet and myself, running from 2019 until 2022. ADOs at our Faculty2 are conceived as vehicles oriented on contemporary challenges raised to the disciplines of architecture, interior-architecture, and urbanism approaching these through a combination of research-, design-, and educational practices. With ADOs, our Faculty wants to create new formats and possibilities for research outputs in Architecture.

Pairing the seemingly contradictory aspects of home and wickedness, home — (in-)(co-)habitation — in all its complexity has been the recurrent focus of our ADO. While the aspect of wickedness, with etymological ties to the old English Wicca and so to the notion of witchcraft, refers to more daring ways of exploring, we interpret it also as relating to the notion of wicked problems. Problems that are, as the home is, challenges with an irreducible complexity. In our ADO we thus examined the irreducible complexity of forms of home, one aspect of this being the entanglement with more-and-other-than-human matters, actants, and worlds. Six research-by-design master studios have been developed as part of our ADO investigation, all of them having been affected by the pandemic situation, which compelled us to stay home and work in the ADO became thinking from within that home.

S for Soil Times

The setting, which we grafted in and on the Chapel’s soil, and on which we would serve food for thought as well as food for more literal digestion at the occasion of the academic seminar and public event titled Revelations: Wicked Home, drew on an artefact – reforesting and composting cabin – produced as part of a research line titled 26 Toilets to Re-figure Habitation (De Smet et al. 2022). This research line had been set up in the research group Architecture & Wicked Matters. The research line would ultimately assemble as a wicked alphabet, in its set-up inspired by Peter Greenaway’s Inside Rooms: 26 Bathrooms (1985). Venturing from the architectural element toilet, an element that as AMO’s3 publication Elements of Architecture (Koolhaas 2018) has stipulated never founded any architectural treatise; the method would be to counteract that ascertainment through a research-by-design approach, ultimately spawning 26 intertwining architectural artefacts that intend to refigure architecture. The artefact (ab-)used for the setting was S for Soil Times (Figure 1), its name referring to the eponymous chapter in Maria Puig de la Bellacasa’s Matters of Care (2017). That chapter calls for involvements with soil and with the soil communities we are inherently but unconsciously part of, explaining also our affiliation with the Chapel’s specific characteristics lacking its original floor tiling and hence opening up its soils.

Drawings of the project 'S for Soil Times': a reforesting and composting tower.
Figure 1: The reforesting and composting tower S for Soil Times, drawing: Johan Liekens.

On route to its ultimate destination —a prairie in the Semois valley— where the artefact will perform as a reforesting and composting cabin, S for Soil Times will travel through and connect to a variety of events and contexts. The ADO ending-event Revelations: Wicked Home served as a first halt. As a design, S for Soil Times substantiated during the recent period of lockdowns, in which one was compelled to stay home. In exile on a prairie close to the Semois river, functioning as an extension to the crammed city life at that time, I spent time scything grass worlds and taking care of soil and trees. Gradually the idea developed to construct a minimal place of sojourn allowing me to stay on the prairie for longer periods. Thinking about what was minimally necessary, the architectural element toilet came to structure the intervention, covering an ultimately concrete and basal need. Beyond function, the idea was to reorient, through the artefact’s agency, the idea of human presence as a burden on the landscape and steer it towards a mutual relationship of caretaking.

Populated by majestic but dying Ash trees, a species typical of streamlet valleys that in the nearby future will become extinct due to a particular sickness, which along globalist movements of building materials spreads across Europe, to me the prairie itself increasingly became a matter of care. My human presence needed to be not one of occupation and burden only but of mutual collaboration and cohabitation with the more-than-human ecology of prairie and valley. A reforesting and composting tower gained shape. In it, two small interior rooms —one containing a dry compost toilet, the other that I call a library of composting mattersare connected by a central passage volume, with doors on each side that fold open onto the landscape. When opened up, passing through that volume visitors or passers-by can traverse the streamlet and reach the other sloping side of the valley. The two interior rooms are sites of soil production. Asides toilet literature such as Puig de la Bellacasa’s Matters of Care (2017) and Donna Haraway’s Staying with the Trouble (2016), the so-called library of composting matters will contain maturing night soil from the compost toilet. Becoming soil over time, this matter will be used to nurture newly planted tree seedlings, as part of the planned small reforestation project. Over these two interior rooms, a dim and dancing light will hover, propelled by the rhythm of the irregular flowing streamlet with its own will from which it harvests its energy. In the middle of the tower, when closed, one finds a place to spend the night: one human captured in an unexpected cohabitation with the community of biota vitalizing the composting process. Having large ventilation hatches that mimic typologies of tobacco drying towers typical of the valley, and with a balcony reminiscent of observation towers found close by and allowing for vistas on the dying as well as vital landscape, the reforesting and composting tower blends in in the valley’s ecology.

Figure 2: Mock-up of S for Soil Times on scale 1/1, grafting on the soil of the Drongenhof Chapel, moments before commencing the academic seminar Revelations; Wicked Home.
Figure 2: Mock-up of S for Soil Times on scale 1/1, grafting on the soil of the Drongenhof Chapel, moments before commencing the academic seminar Revelations; Wicked Home. Image: Stijn Bollaert.

Revelations

Figure 3: Image taken during the academic seminar Revelations: Wicked Home. Image: Carl Bourgeois.
Figure 3: Image taken during the academic seminar ‘Revelations: Wicked Home’. Image: Carl Bourgeois.

A mock-up on scale one to one of S for Soil Times was as said ab-used to present the ADO vernissage event Revelations: Wicked Home (Figure 2,3). On its folding doors tilted in a horizontal position, matters as food and more figuratively food for thought and discussion with peers were served in the context of an academic seminar, and later on presented in a broader public event. Around and on the horizontally tilted door-tables Annelies De Smet developed an intriguing performance, first carefully serving fragments of student work produced within the ADO, mingling them with food substances and raising ambiguity between architecture and food by serving edible architectural model elements, which were re-composed on site by one of the ADO students Liese Mortreu. With the architectural element of the toilet nearby, serving food and food for thought on that table was in a wicked but natural proximity with aspects of digesting and composting, tampering with usual and accepted distinctions between proper and improper; between being valuable and waste or dirt. Rolf Hughes and Rachel Armstrong would recite sets of revelations, each of them connecting to an aspect of the ADO, the space we found ourselves in, or the work produced by the students. One of these revelations, Revelation 14:15, advanced the chapel floor’s vital materiality as a biological city that in ongoing circular processes produces soil.

In the space of this blog post only three student projects, which were served, are shortly presented to give an idea of the spectrum of home that was addressed in the ADO.

Figure 4: A drawing from Liese Mortreu’s work Kitchen Stories. Drawing: Liese Mortreu.
Figure 4: A drawing from Liese Mortreu’s work Kitchen Stories. Drawing: Liese Mortreu.

In her design project that ran in the pandemic era of lockdowns and isolation, Liese Mortreu ventured from the identification of the kitchens in the homes of the Anthropocene as isolated clean and capsular entities (Figure 4). Connections to the home’s environment are usually consciously hidden in them, tucking away infrastructures in the home’s periphery, further connecting them to hidden gargantuan collective networks, which weigh on our environment and soils. Many other infrastructures are hidden in the home as well; as the production of food in unknown places connecting to the home only by schemes of global transportation. This conscious hiding of relationships, according to Mortreu, renders the ecological consequences of our everyday choices and practices hard to grasp, and as such obstructs our understanding of their impact. Venturing from her own kitchen in which she found herself isolated during the design work, by drawing, making models, and diving into related literature, a speculative and projective design trajectory was developed. The design trajectory reconsiders those relationships between home/kitchen and environment. Moving away from the concept of the Modern kitchen, she advances the kitchen more as a construction, a system, which (re)relates elements and agents within an expanded landscape. The kitchen becomes advanced as a metabolism that is reconstructed both in its physical, social, and psychological dimensions. A metabolism that is able to create its own space with its own sets of values. In Mortreu’s project, the kitchen is constructed through specific and real acts of food making: purifying the water, making fire from food scraps, making smoked fish, ginger tea, and pickled cucumbers. Intensively observed relationships, choreographies, and movement patterns in and between these acts of food making, as well as the kitchen’s retrofitted and re-related elements such as water, fire, and garden feed new kitchen dialogues. They compose new concentrations as well as conflicts. What really sets the kitchen apart from the Modern idea of kitchen, Mortreu emphasizes, are the values its inhabitants handle, situating these values in social and natural wealth rather than efficiency or economy and manifesting more in the form of authentic relations, as they can only exist in the intimate context of a real home. Through a set of compelling kitchen stories, inspired by the structure of Italo Calvino’s novel Invisible Cities, these values reveal themselves in accumulation, expanding as such the realm of kitchen imaginaries. They do so, to give one example, by introducing to that realm also other-and-more-than-human perspectives. Agencies such as that of a cohabitant cat and bird or the living matter of the composting pile of food waste that, as a multispecies community of biota, is cared for and in turn cares for life within the home. This by growing herbs and producing for example small voltages of electricity.  The kitchen as such becomes a speculative and projective platform for a desired ecological change, ecology here referring also to the substantiation of a web of relations, in which small changes in the inhabitant’s everyday practices relate to and resonate with the whole system.

Figure 5: Image from Jade Goossens’ research instrument chair/ladder/pier/pond. Image: Jade Goossens.
Figure 5: Image from Jade Goossens’ research instrument chair/ladder/pier/pond. Image: Jade Goossens.

A second work by Jade Goossens (Figure 5) addressed a similar complexity and wickedness of habitation. Isolated in a home that is part of an industrial compound, embedded in a vast intermediate natural landscape of unplanned trees, plants, grasses, and ponds. From early on in the project, Jade started to devise instruments that endeavor to approach other-and-more-than-human entities with which humans cohabit and collaborate in making home home. She created an unfinished series of interior-architectural artefacts that, due to the lockdown situation, were made from materials found on site. A sofa to embed oneself in the multispecies community of a compost heap; a mixture of ladder and seat allowing her to become acquainted with the biotope of a tree’s crown. Her most compelling instrument though was the chair/ladder/pier assemblage, with a built in bell jar that can provide home for water surface insects, the overall structure allowing her to balance over and into a pond. Seated on this instrument, and carefully moving forward while seeking balance on and with the pond’s vital matter, limits between human and more-than-human become explored as well as stretched, the human feet fusing with the lively matter from the pond, always in risk of completely tipping over into that vital and vibrant, other and yet unknown materiality.

A third work by Laurens Decoster, brought to the table accompanied by the penetrating smell of sea, presented an experiment of producing sets of large concrete pillars, ultimately evolving in the design project towards a pavilion on sea. Laurens’ work ventures from the fact that many of our human-made sea-structures, often executed in heavy and little porous concrete, are structures that fundamentally hamper colonies of marine biological life to settle. Inscribing himself in a multidisciplinary team including marine biologists, Laurens experimented with concrete masses and textures, part of the work also being the leaving to the sea of these structures, the monitoring of them, and as a result of his actions, the entering into conversation with specialists as well as passers-by on what is home and (in-)(co-)habitation in a context of multispecies communities.

Serving to our guests substantial fragments of projects and concepts that had been developed in the ADO, we wrapped up four years of collaborating on The Wicked Home. A matter of serving diverse and deviant senses of home within a home within a home. Senses of home produced by young (interior-)architects, served on the tilted table-doors and within the small interior rooms of S for Soil Times, served itself on the lively soil over which the Drongenhof Chapel seems to hover.

Notes

 [1] These interpretations of matter as being vibrant and having a —political— voice and action potential within congregations of human and non-human “matters” relate to the contemporary currents of New Materialism, Post-Humanism, and Post-Anthropocentrism. These share an understanding of reality that repositions or de-centralizes the human among nonhuman matters beyond traditional humanist boundaries. They all qualify questions of vitality, agency, and generative capability as being appropriate for human and nonhuman matter alike.

[2] The Academic Design Office (ADO) is a vehicle developed at the KU Leuven Faculty of Architecture, Campus Sint-Lucas (BE). Our particular ADO The Wicked Home has been initially formulated from the research group Material Narratives, subgroup Architecture & Wicked Matters, and has been co-run by members of the Regenerative Architecture, Arts & Design research group.

[3] AMO is the research section of the architectural office OMA led by Rem Koolhaas.

References

Bennet, Jane. 2010. Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things, Durham and London: Duke University Press.

De Smet, A., Johan Liekens, Nel Janssens, and Manon Persoone. 2022. “Architecting Twenty-six Toilets to Re-figure Inhabitation: J for Jewel, S for Soil Times, T for Thigmophilia”. In: CA²RE 2: Evaluation of Design-Driven Research, (288-301).

Greenaway, P., 1985. Inside Rooms, 26 bathrooms. London & Oxfordshire (movie).

Haraway, Donna. 2016. Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene, Durham and London: Duke University Press.

Koolhaas, R. and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. 2018. Elements of Architecture. Cologne, Germany: Taschen GmbH.

Latour, Bruno. 1991. We Have Never Been Modern, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Perec, G.. 1974. Espèces d’espaces. Paris: Galilée.

Puig de la Bellacasa, M.. 2017. Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More-than-human Worlds. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.

Puig de la Bellacasa, M.. 2020. “Soil Times : The Pace of Ecological Care.” Solitude Journal 1: Collective Care & Response-ability: 98-107.

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