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  • Pop-up Home: Evidencing an urban nomad’s distributed domestic intimacy beyond a sedentary home

Ma, Weiyin, 2019, Thesis, Pop-up Home: Evidencing an urban nomad’s distributed domestic intimacy beyond a sedentary home MPhil thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

“A home is not a house” can be read as a design hypothesis for an alternative urban domesticity and an attempt to explore a more distributed mode of existence than what a fixed house might have presumably confined for its users. In this design hypothesis, the sedentary narrative for the design of a fixed house was questioned, mostly on its physical forms and as well, on its social implications. As a design research, Pop-up Home further explores this design hypothesis in a refreshed context of a distributed home and on a focused subject of domestic intimacy. For Pop-up Home, domestic intimacy can be defined as a spatial “sense of home” which can be found extending beyond a sedentary home.

Pop-up Home takes on a combination of an auto-ethnographic and a participatory action research. Through the perspective of an auto-ethnographic urban nomad, the design research collects a set of “lived-experience” ranging from being a compact home renter, to a “rug sojourner”, then to a “rickshaw-bed rider”, and to a “digital nomad” with a lifestyle of “living as service” via distributed accommodation platforms such as Airbnb and Couchsurfing, etc. Through this perspective of the urban nomad, the MPhil thesis explores spatial evidence for alternative forms of urban domesticity which are not based upon a fixed house, but rather which take a more distributed form. Through the same perspective, the thesis also explores an alternative design narrative of urban domesticity in which a new social form of domestic life in a more distributed mode is emerging. The collected examples of urban nomads and their distributed domestic intimacy have been captured through the auto-ethnographic work and experiential encounters in Hong Kong, Pune India, and London.

Documenting and curating the above set of examples, and based on the theoretical framework of “spatial agency”, the design research constructs both an empathetic and an intellectual framework for understanding the evidenced changes in urban domesticity, in relation to the increasingly precarious conditions of life in modern economies. The MPhil thesis, as a phase of the design research overall, aims to focus on the conflicts between the institution of the sedentary home and the nomadic nature of a “creative user”; and to evoke a positive ideology where a fixed house could be planned, transformed, maintained, and/or altered creatively by these users. This framework for a distributed home might lead to a specific method of “participatory design” to think, practice, and finance future urban domesticity in a “small, local, open and connected” design scenario of a world city, and contribute to a more genuine human-centred design method and design thinking for future urban domesticity.

Qualification Name: MPhil
Subjects: Architecture > K100 Architecture
Architecture > K100 Architecture > K110 Architectural Design Theory
Other > Social studies > L600 Anthropology
Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies
Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W290 Design studies not elsewhere classified
School or Centre: School of Architecture
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2019 15:09
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2019 15:30
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/4187
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