The Anti-oedipal House 1992


The anti-oedipal house; social philosophy.

Western culture has truncated its view of the human possibilities of family existence by accepting Freud’s insistence upon the oedipal structure of the family  which  asserts itself as a restraining imperative from parents to child. Parenthood, is sentimentally viewed as an  opportunity to instruct the child in the possibilities of human interpersonal expression. In fact it develops a paranoid relationship to all aspects of human sensibility in the name of the social. This is most marked by a general tendency among parents to suppress pre and post-pubertal sexual expression in their children. The explicitness and intimacy of  parental sexual or emotional expression is closed to the development of the child and traditionally removed from ‘prying eyes’ in a real spatial sense. This suppression is manifested  most forcefully through parental domination of familial activity through an explicit control of its domestic territories.

 The parental ‘social’ and the child’s ‘a-social’  modes of  family existence are expressed in two antithetical spatial forms in the anti-oedipal house. The territory of adult parenthood, is allowed its full expression in a restrained socially pro-active environment. The parental dwelling performs as a gallery for the exhibition of social graces and a restrained territory to facilitate the pursuit of an uncluttered post-menopausal middle age. The children’s dwelling is a bowlist ‘womb ‘ in which the ‘illicit’ adventures of pre and post-pubertal development can proceed beyond the restraining institution of parenthood.

 This division of the traditional house into ‘polar territories’  constructs an anti-oedipal opportunity for the development of the fully sensual child in its own environment whilst retaining a close non- suppressive adjacency  with its parents.

The anti-oedipal house; architecture. 

Children’s dwelling.

 The children’s dwelling is displayed as an anarchic trophy captured by the site, to be viewed  beyond the gallery dwelling. Constructed as a monocoque shell from ferro-cement  it presents a spectral skin formed from a sprayed silicon compound of porcelain. The sprayed skin is transparent and is applied to all parts of the object equally, both to structural shell and to window openings, giving it a seamless appearance. The child’s house supports the umbilical existence of the child in a serviced interior. It performs as a fully serviced dwelling completely independent of the parents house.

 Parent’s dwelling.

 The Glass box, the territory of parenthood, adopts the aesthetic of the all glass house.  It emphasizes the comparatively restrained nature of parenthood  in a highly controlled environment. Surfaces are polished, highly finished and obsessively cleaned. They convey a sense of authority of surveillance and of repose.

The house is constructed as a continuously welded steel frame upon a concrete lower storey. The two levels being displaces one against the other to reveal a glazed light to the bedroom below. The light is flooded above to a level continuous with the finished floor level of the upper storey.

 It offers the post-oedipal family its first architectural expression.

 The anti-oedipal house constructs the necessary spatial division between incompatible factions giving architectural expression to the independent development of parent and child.









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