Traditional Family House: Contemporary Status Reclaimed
Western Australia, 2012
The owners of a 1930s cottage in the popular beachside suburb of Cottesloe, while appreciating detail expressing the craftsmanship of its time, found the building resisted their attempts to live a modern lifestyle. Like many people who frequently relocate, they were aware how strongly the layout of successive homes had influenced their patterns of living. This house continually resisted their attempts at making a workable office space without altering the layout, and proved so difficult to entertain guests that they rarely tried.
While the initial brief was to develop options for house - and thus lifestyle - modification, given the history of constant moving, the scope expanded to investigate deeper meanings of home regardless of location or configuration. A longitudinal study taking into account data emerging from cultural probes revealed previously unrecognized rituals and habits, areas of friction and resistance, sites of territoriality and control, individual influences on home making and marking, and identified valued but transient interactions with objects, surfaces and places.
The ethnographic material was then used as a design tool to explore unrealized opportunities for the creative alteration of spaces on a co-creation basis. The conflicting attitudes towards an old and outdated building and lack of coherent model of ‘home’ resulting from a transient lifestyle, once expressed, provided a fruitful and rich basis from which to begin the transformation process.