World Habitat_As It Is And As It Could Be

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World Habitat_As It Is And As It Could Be

Francisco João Silva


World Habitat is an exploration of what housing is and what it can be in the 21st century. Developed for the thesis “Space and User: Housing”, it focuses on creating a system that portrays some of housing’s key aspects and what they can offer to society.

It sets off from the idea of space adaptation by the user, considering that everyday society can manipulate architecture by changing the colour of walls, adding posters or other objects to its environment, changing the layout of rooms, etc. Technologies such as the computer and the mobile phone have recently been making it increasingly easier to approach standard objects to preferences and tastes as they motivate the individualization of its main features. World Habitat starts then with the possibility of each user being able to adapt an individual space however it sees fit. With no restrictions or boundaries, it can give shape to its ideas, materializing its psychological space into reality.

Nevertheless, it is unlikely to create the idea of housing through an object where the user exists alone and detached from society. Isolated, it would stand apart from any reference and, consequently, trapped. Therefore, a system is developed by repeating the same principle, where each user is enabled to have their own adaptable space. World Habitatbecomes a continuous system where every user and space are connected and interaction is made possible. This means that every time someone creates their own personal environment, society can experience it. The systems become a learning opportunity, since each space will display something unique that can be experienced and posed as inspiration for new spaces.

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This illustrates that considering each member of society as someone that can create and show something unique will result in the development of a system where new and innovative things can happen constantly. If society allows itself to explore each other’s ideas and learn from every available situation, it may be able to continuously produce new events, reversing its natural entropy.

The continuity and complexity of the system arise the question of the specific spatial definition of housing. If not only the personal space but also others that are used and carry significant importance to daily life, housing should not be restricted to the single adaptable space each user is entitled to. It stretches to those other spaces, as they are experienced. Housing becomes the collection of different personal spaces.

The World Habitat is a reflection that tries to balance itself between daily life in the 21st century and the conceptualization of some of its characteristics to create a new perspective on housing. It is an exercise that aims at developing an alternate understanding of what architecture may offer to its users.

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Who influences you graphically?

I believe that, in architecture, the graphic language can be used differently to obtain different results. In terms of project visualization, Superstudio is a good example of how engaging a picture can be. Instead of dragging the project into a hyper-realistic vision of itself, where unecessary details steal the viewers’ attention, the images remain in a conceptual state – thus allowing anyone to imagine further content to the idea. When it comes to the explanation of an intention, I would say the diagrams of Archigram and Cedric Price are a main reference of how architecture ought to be explained. Their relational schemes made clear how spaces affect people and their everyday life, stressing the consequences of any action performed by a new project.

How does the graphic language reflect the thesis?

The World Habitat is about people, it retrieves all its content from everyone who uses i, making it important to develop images that depicted the project not only as it is, but as well as it could be. The purpose was to produce a relation with the viewer, stimulating him/ her to envision something more. Bearing that in mind, the illustrations were designed through a conceptual approach, as they intend to make the viewer see what the system could be and they could do with it.

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What dictated the choice of drawings through which you chose to reveal your proposal?

The project is a concept that has, at its base, a basic equation – every user can modify their individual space, if they assure communication to other spaces. After that, all the images could be developed in an unrestricted fashion, where all it mattered was the impact of the concept of the project. The key idea about the World Habitat is what you can obtain from it and every visualization attempts at showing all the possible diversity derived from multiple users creating diverse environments. Like so, it was fundamental to display that notion of a space made up from several spaces, starting from a familiar place (like an ocean, a desert or a field) and crossing it with many others, always revealing the possible complexity of the content within the system.

How did you select the various images inputted within the frames?

The focus was variety and diversity. The World Habitat thrives from all the input its users insert into it – it is composed by their preferences and constant modifications. Spatial manipulation in the system means virtually anything, so what appears in the frames are examples of places people would want to inhabit. The collection of all those frames was necessarily a complex composition that displayed a multitude of possibilities within the project.

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What is the effect and purpose of a monochromatic palette? How does it sit in relation to the collages?

They try to explain the core idea about the project: the importance of communication in a society. The purpose is to explain the effect that communication has in people and how it changes their context. They act as diagrams that reveal that when people are on their own, they tend to revolve around their ideas, without ever having the opportunity to see something alternative, which could later enable them to change their view on something. For the project, it is essential to make that clear, to allow people to understand that it is through communication – exchange of information – that you can constantly learn more and to have a better understanding of the world you live in.

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Francisco João Silva is an architect from Porto, Portugal and since 2015 he has been working in Paris.

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