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Inhabiting Suburbia: art (registers) of living


Maria Rita Pais


Architecture research is traditionally addressed on perspectives aiming for object and author comprehension. We propose to change research point of view from creation to reception, revealing the dialogue between architect and clients, inhabitants and space appropriations by users or beholders. Inspired by the revisitation of Maurice Merleau.Ponty (1960) idea of experience of art, we propose to gather, understand and discuss architecture throughout art production reading, and more specifically to understand suburbia habitat complexity through artistic vision. This idea also follows Hans Robert Jauss Aesthetics of Reception (1964), including what happens in the consciousness received and in its aesthetic fruition.

In the scope of the inhabitant spatial recognition, three researchers have been highlighted in recent years, with a perspective of relation with the work in architecture: Dana Arnold, (Arnold, 2014) presents methods of spatial investigation through biographies of the inhabitant, revealing personal meanings and strategies of relation with space; Jane Rendell with a work in understanding space through site-writing and site-specific as fictional forms of emotional relationship with the space; and Giuliana Bruno through the rescue of the "maps of the emotions" to make understandable some relations with space.

Throughout history, Albrecht Dürer with Saint Jerome in His Study (1514) unveils the notion of confort and interiorism, Johannes Vermeer explores the intimacy, and Le Brun present a motto for the idea of building character (Boffrand, 1745). More recently, Richard Hamilton’s Just what is It that Makes Today’s Home so Different, so Appealling? (1956) reflects on the ephemeral and the habitat symbolisms and Gordon Matta-Clark’s Splitting (1974) destabilise the image of suburban domesticity. Suburbia represent an impressive space sample scenario on space in a domestic scale. Can we really represent, understand or make history about suburbia? Can we read day-to-day living, social resonance, political pretensions, aesthetic proposals, reveries or functional issues through inhabitants? We propose to discuss and share theoretical, critical historical and practical work. We look forward to receive proposals from architects, artists, curators, critics, historians, anthropologists, urban planners and other for traditional papers to be peer reviewed and oral presented for discussion during the conference. We also feel very enthusiastic to accept artistic work if accompanied by a reflection in the form of written text in a traditional paper format. Artistic proposals from participants can be physically exhibit during the conference, according to existing conditions.

This Discussion table claim new critical architecture history readings and new suburbia looks, maybe more or maybe less optimistic.

Short bio

Maria Rita Pais (Lisbon, 1975) 

Architect, teacher, researcher and curator with degree in Architecture (FAUTL, 1999), Master in Construction (IST, 2004) and PhD in Architecture (FAUTL, 2012). Currently teaches and co-coordinates PhD at ULHT with Mário Kruger. Co-curates Lisbon Open House 2018 (with Luis Santiago Baptista), Habitar Portugal 2009-2011 (with Susana Ventura and Rita Dourado) and co-curate and cop-edit the book Journey into the Invisible (with Luís Santiago Baptista). Is CoPoPo at SOSClimateWaterfron Marie Curie Project (with Pedro Ressano Garcia).

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