Manijeh Verghese
Diploma 9

Architecture does not exist in isolation. It is always experienced through its relationship with identity. The pairing of architecture with identity creates the context for this project as identity is constructed through the inhabitation of domestic space. 

In a society where the construction of identity is as malleable as it is today, with the proliferation of Public Relations and social networking websites, we need to focus on the construction of space as a construction of identity in order to prevent the architect from becoming obsolete.

This project aims to empower inhabitants to transform architecture so that it can play a fundamental role in constructing identity. 

Architecture can no longer be singular. Iconic architecture and the cult of the starchitect are rejected as isolationist. The pair plays a significant role in my project as a relationship that resists isolation. The book is the ideal medium to communicate this message. A library of books is constructed and consulted over the course of the project, manipulating different formats to manifest the evolution of this project’s identity as it is constructed through the inhabitants, the objects and then finally the architecture itself.Charles and Ray Eames constructed their identity through inhabitation. The Eames House was a mere envelope for the curation of objects in domestic space.In an effort to resuscitate the identity of the project, the Eames Foundation decide to hold an invited competition - the Eames Inhabitation Project in October 2010. The four couples who entered, The Beckhams, SANAA, Nigella Lawson & Charles Saatchi and Venturi and Scott Brown each attempted to colonise the identity of the project through inhabitation. Ultimately the house is impossible to reconfigure and each proposal fails as it exists in the shadow of the former inhabitants - Charles and Ray Eames.The traditional house arranges space through division into rooms. The prioritisation of separation over connection, ultimately leads to the death of the traditional house in the ever increasing pace of the 21st century where spaces need to be inhabited concurrently.The death of the traditional house and the failure of the modernist box to truly embody and construct identity gives rise to a new architectural vocabulary - THE FRAGMENT. The fragment synthesises the successes of its predecessors – combining the domestic elements that exist between spaces in the traditional house with the flexibility of the modernist container. They must be coupled together to form the site for the construction of identity - the interior.The interior constructs identity through the provision of choice. The inhabitants are empowered to construct their environment by curating architectural objects in the same way they had previously arranged their other possessions.  At the scale of the couple, the perfect symmetry of the architectural fragment, in this case the Incubator provides a twinned frame through which two distinct gendered spaces can be viewed. As with most human twins, similarity is used formally to heighten human difference.At the scale of the project, the architect connects the fragments of the interior, mimicked by the couple inhabiting the same interior who control how it is arranged. While the inhabitants curate fragments into unique interiors, the architect is the designer of the fragments and the choreographer of the potential routes between fragments and spaces. The way we experience the interior now needs to be redefined.In a walk through the domestic interior, the inhabitants are constantly confronted with choice to determine their way forward. The layers of space peel away to reveal varied moments within the interior.

Identity is the result of the choices we make.  
Ultimately, the inhabitants are confronted with a twinned door connecting the coupled volumes of the interior. It is a moment for reflecting on the experience just had before turning around and starting again.

Objectifying architecture as a collection of fragments constructs identity from the relationships between architect, inhabitants, project, persona, objects and books. The house as a machine for living is now a machine for identity.