Home Economics

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Home Economics was the design of the British Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016. The project presented five new models for domestic life curated through five periods of time. These timescales – Hours, Days, Months, Years and Decades – correspond to how long each model is to be called ‘home’. Fragments of each time specific model appeared as full scale interiors in the British Pavilion, displaying architectural proposals as a direct spatial experience. Visitors from a wide variety of backgrounds could thus form their own opinion of each space, and start questioning the design of conventional homes…

Home Economics was the design of the British Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016. The project presented five new models for domestic life curated through five periods of time. These timescales – Hours, Days, Months, Years and Decades – correspond to how long each model is to be called ‘home’. Fragments of each time specific model appeared as full scale interiors in the British Pavilion, displaying architectural proposals as a direct spatial experience. Visitors from a wide variety of backgrounds could thus form their own opinion of each space, and start questioning the design of conventional homes.

Home Economics was developed as a response to the discrepancy between how housing is designed today, and how contemporary life looks like. Over the past decades our patterns of life have changed profoundly. These include new social power relations, family structures and gender roles, as well as the consequences of rising wealth inequality, mass migration and an ageing population. New technologies have displaced how, where and when we work and play, while prompting questions about surveillance and privacy. All these factors, and others, have put immense pressure on the architecture of the home, both in Britain and elsewhere. Each model in Home Economics is a proposition driven by the conditions imposed on domestic life by varying periods of occupancy. They each address different facets of how we live today – from whether we can prevent property speculation, to whether sharing can be a form of luxury rather than a compromise.

These models have been developed in an intensely pragmatic way, working with architects, artists, developers, filmmakers, financial institutions and fashion designers. It is the first exhibition on architecture to be curated through time spent in the home, and is dedicated to exploring alternatives to conventional domestic architecture. Hesselbrand designed the exhibition space, as well as the theoretical proposal shown in the Decades space. This experimental housing prototype explored very long term occupancies, suggesting intergenerational life and changing conditions of technological and physical capacities. The proposal is for a house that is defined by spatial conditions rather than specific functionality, allowing for a flexible use of space.

  • Client: British Council
  • Year: 2016
  • Location: Venice Architecture Biennale, Italy
  • Area: 450 sqm
Team
  • Martin Brandsdal
  • Magnus Casselbrant
  • Jesper Henriksson
Collaborators
  • Curators: Jack Self, Shumi Bose, Finn Wiliams
  • Visual identity: OK-RM
  • Photography: Thomas Adank
  • Structural Engineer: ARUP
Timeline
  • 2016: Design
  • May 2016 - October 2016: Exhibition open
Publication
  • Buy the book Home Economics here