As Architects, we often fetishize homes and think of them as a composition, as artistic expressions molded to suit the people who live, within them the lives they lead.
Frank Lloyd Wright seems to have designed everything from upholstery to bed & table linen and even clothes for the ‘woman of the house, for the homes he built for Mrs. Martin, Mrs. Robie, Mrs. Dana, and most famously Catherine Wright. It is indeed surprising to discover most of Catherine Wrights's clothes were designed by her husband. ‘God lies in the detail’ is an FLW quote we often hear. His attention to detail and urge to order and control the environment, furniture, and even people within the environment seem obsessive. with little or no role for the ‘user’ or the ‘occupant’ and his or her choices. Oddly he never designed clothes for the ‘master of the house or even for himself!
Surprisingly, contemporaries of FLW, Vander Velde and Guimard also believed in coordinating women's clothing with their architectural settings.
Gorman's statement summarizes my views on the matter, "Dictating the appearance of someone else's home took a certain amount of gumption, but actually shaping the appearance of another's body was something else altogether." (Gorman, 1995)
As Architects, we pre-empt and design for possible occupants framed by probable scenarios. In reality, people we design for, occupy the spaces we create in often unexpected manners. Houses with minimal or non-contrived ‘interiors’ have beauty to them. The sheer randomness of objects in the space, juxtaposed colors, styles, and wear & tear lend such buildings a sense of a home and a home that is very much ‘lived in’.
Construction speed and the rush to get things together quickly to make a livable home, often lead to buildings that form static homes without a sense of being ‘lived in’. The affection with which things come together, memories, stories, textures, and smell of used objects make such buildings into homes over time rather than the proposed architectural ideal of the idyllic home.
Didi Contractor talked about architects often looking at things with a ‘God's Eye View’ (CONTRACTOR) (Shah) instead of a human eye view, striving to bring out an important stark contrast against the more popular contractor she shares a last name with.
How does one get a more humanistic lived-in-home-making approach to space design? How can spaces order or provide settings but not enforce life within?
As Architects, we are continuously asking these questions when we are striving to create a perfect space that you will overtime make your home.
References CONTRACTOR, D. (n.d.). MASA Talk . Gorman, C. R. (1995). Fitting Rooms. Winterthur Portfolio, Vol. 30, 259-277. Shah, A. S. (n.d.). Traditions and their Manifestations. Retrieved from Osdesign.org.