The House Gone Missing
The Digital Turn and the Architecture of Dwelling
The digital turn in architecture seems to have displaced the house as a paradigm for architectural theory. Omitting the house, and with it, housing and dwelling as key sites for the reconstitution of the discipline, recent theorisations of the digital in architecture have almost exclusively focused on new methods of production and notions of materiality alongside profound changes to the urban and social dimensions of the built environment. The Covid-19 pandemic has unveiled the multifaceted dimensions of the impact of the new digital technologies on dwelling as private houses transformed into online workspaces. It calls for a reflection on the question of dwelling as formulated by Martin Heidegger in 1951, when he suggested that answers won’t be found in technology and quantitative approaches to the pressing housing urgency of the time, but rather in a rethinking of culture through existentialist philosophy. The question of dwelling after the digital turn leads to scrutiny of the history of the digitisation of the house and the shifting nature of domesticity, and to an exploration of involved motivations and values, oscillating between a techno-utopianism to a techno-capitalism. While the boundaries between real and virtual realms are blurred, the house and dwelling find a reconceptualisation in ecological and relational terms, thereby dissolving the house as a discrete object or entity. Privacy, autonomy, and physicality are in need of a rebalancing.
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