138 model homes

2017-2018 Willard A. Oberdick Fellow

Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning, University of Michigan

Characterized by typological excess and topological diversity, this new developer catalog of 138 MODEL HOMES constitutes the protocols for a new suburb, an alternative city in which to inscribe more varied forms of private and public life. These planometric permutations belong to a new category of domestic model—characterized by minimalisms and excesses, exotic layouts and redundancies. By reducing the home to a series of rooms characterized by specific furnishings and fixtures, the abstraction of the diagram allows us to decouple the home from the potency of its enclosure, its style, its aesthetics and iconography. 

Each of the 138 MODEL HOMES is a permutation of a basic typological structure: the line, the grid, the courtyard, the L, the U, and the T. The typological indifference to style allows for the plan and its associated slogan to open up to new modes of cohabitation, producing new structures of power and persuasion. How can the simple elimination of the hallway undermine the maintenance of privacy? How does the removal of the private kitchen from the home open up spaces of collective use and negotiation? How does the multiplication and redundancies of spaces for leisure or labor create new patterns of occupancy, use, and commerce within the home? How can the occupation of lot easements and the sharing of boundaries challenge conditions of property, access, stewardship, and consensus? If we minimize domestic infrastructures, can people begin to leverage the costs of ownership to decrease the financial risks while increasing the financial opportunities of the home? These unfamiliar re-arrangements of domestic rooms allow for homes with or without kinship structures; they make space for negotiation and bargaining, inevitably generating new hierarchies of power and territory; they enact alternative patterns of use and ownership to enable more radical forms of life.