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  • Counterplanning from the Kitchen: For a Feminist Critique of Type

Giudici, Maria Sheherazade, 2015, Conference or Workshop, Counterplanning from the Kitchen: For a Feminist Critique of Type at Architectural Type and the Discourse on Urbanism Symposium, Royal College of Art, London, 14 December 2015.

Abstract or Description:

While housing has long been a terrain of struggle in terms of its scale, provision, urban morphology and technological advancement, it often escapes a political critique of its interior logic. And yet, it is perhaps only from a political perspective that we might be able to see beyond the impasse we are witnessing.
Only in the aftermath of the industrial revolution that European typological discourse shifted its focus from public buildings to residential architecture; if it is perhaps impossible to define traditional dwelling places as ‘non-typological’, they were however most definitely ‘pre-typological’. However, contemporary housing production lacks such a clear political mandate, and is haunted by a major shift in its economic rationale – from the need to provide machines à habiter to feed the industrial cycle, to the production of a mere commodity that does not even need to be inhabited to fuel speculation.
At the core of this mandate crisis lies a great unsaid non-said of western society, namely the role played by the house in the institutionalization of reproductive labour. Reproductive labour is the care, education, and actual production of the labour force from childbearing to housework to the care of the elderly – a form of labour that before mature capitalism was never seen as separate from other productive activities. In this sense, the paper assumes a feminist standpoint in that it rereads modern housing as the place of women’s hidden, unwaged work, and typological discourse as the intellectual and technical arsenal that has allowed the fine tuning of such a labour system.
The hypothesis that will be explored is that reproductive labour itself is undergoing a large-scale shift that architecture is struggling to register. In order to understand this shift, we will look at the recent architectural production of three nations – the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Japan – where a strong design culture has met an acute awareness of the recent changes in the organization of work. Looking at work by MvRdV, Christian Kerez, and Toyo Ito, but also at a broad catalogue of built examples, we will try to construct a map of possible solutions for housing beyond reproductive labour – and, perhaps, beyond type itself.

Subjects: Architecture > K100 Architecture
Architecture > K100 Architecture > K110 Architectural Design Theory
School or Centre: School of Architecture
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2016 18:32
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2016 18:32
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/2485

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