Alison and Peter Smithson: From the House of the Future to a House of Today
010 Publishers, 2004 - Architecture - 238 pages
The Smithsons' interest in the everyday and ordinary originated from various circumstances, such as their experience of wartime and the poverty and scarcity during the post-war reconstruction period. More or less forced by circumstances, the Smithsons were determined to make the most out of what little there was available. They called this approach "As Found:" aiming at a revitalization of the ordinary and the most humble of things. The ordinariness of inhabitation, its triviality and self-evidence, was a constant source of amazement, inspiration and energy for the Smithsons. They wished to look at "ordinary life and ordinary objects with an eye that sees the ordinary as also magical." It often set them thinking about bigger issues. Singing the praises of cabinet doors could therefore easily result in an exemplification of the house-town correlation. Current interest, in both the everyday and the magic of the ordinary, stems from a quite different situation. In the Western world, most people now live a life of unprecedented plenty. The society of the spectacle and the consumer culture that were just remote prospects in the 1950s have become our everyday reality. The everyday and its earthiness function as a critical moment, breaking down the illusions and desires produced by the media industry. Besides being a site for possible resistance, the everyday and the ordinary offer an alternative approach. First, by providing a space into which one can retreat; a refugium, a place for calmness and reflection, a breathing space. Secondly, by providing the opportunity to once again reconsider the relations between media, consumer society and inhabitation. The point at issue in both cases is the construction of new places for dwelling. Emphatically, the everyday neither provides an idyllic spot nor regains us our lost innocence. On the contrary, it constitutes a site of contestation of values, where new relations between realism and idealism may be established.
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A&P Smithson Archive aesthetic Aldo van Eyck Alison and Peter Alison Smithson Appliance House architects Architectural Design art of inhabitation Axel Bruchhauser Axel's Porch Banham Barcelona Barcelona Pavilion bathroom Beatrix Potter bedroom building built ciam Citroen clothes Collect Ads Conglomerate Ordering construction Corbusier cupboard Daily Mail Delft University Desert Dirk doors dwelling Eduardo Paolozzi facade Faculty of Architecture floor frame furniture Future gallery Gantries garden habitat Heuvel Hexenhaus idea Ideal Home Exhibition images Independent Group inside interior Jerome's kitchen landscape Lantern Pavilion lattice living room London look Mail Ideal Home Max Risselada modern architecture Nigel Henderson objects organisation Patio and Pavilion Peter Smithson photograph plastic published realised Renaissance Reyner Banham Robin Hood Gardens roof Saint Jerome sketch space storage structure Study Sugden Tea Pavilion tecta terrace things tion Today We Collect University of Technology Upper Lawn urban walls window Yellow House