Current Call for Papers
ZARCH is currently accepting the submission of articles for their consideration, following the external Peer Review process as described on this website. They should address the topic for the upcoming issue.
Issue 17: "Domestic Natures"
Deadline for submission of articles: May 15th, 2021
Expected publication date: December 2021
As the philosopher Romano Guardini said, man became modern when he went on a mental journey out of the world to see himself facing it. In this journey, man transformed the most primitive nature to which he had belonged into an empirical and rationalized nature: a non-natural nature that he himself could create and inhabit.
At the end of the 19th century, European explorers, geographers and naturalists went on a myriad of journeys to faraway lands looking for that primitive nature the Enlightenment had abandoned. A nature to which man had once belonged but from which he had grown apart in favor of a thriving reason.
That faraway nature became the longing for a journey to untamed lands. Its discovery was portrayed from the distance of a science that observed this nature and classified it as something far off and distant from our lives. Contemplating it turned the place into a scene bound to be inhabited by the time of a journey, of a visit. Friedrich Georg Weitsch evidences so in the fabric-roofed wooden hut that Humboldt and his companions built at the foot of Chimborazo. The house and its nature are inhabited as the dream of a place from a far-off past. A remoteness that fosters the emotion of achieving that original nature; a primitive and imagined place after all is said and done.
One century later, it was modern European architects who trusted that science and its technological advances as the domestic means to achieve a new nature, a hygienic nature. Le Corbusier proposed the house as a shelter and observation of a world that only architecture and its technological advances could make healthy. Mies, in turn, converted the house into a plane that could rise over a glade, as visible as it is distant from the time of its structure.
In light of the latest scientific advances, a new way of inhabiting and a new nature became intertwined. The interior of the modern house turned to be the homeland of a renewed intimacy and the exterior became that non-natural nature, a nature of health guarantees. Modern man, far away from any kind of naturalness, stopped inhabiting the externality of a life in nature.
That lack of habitation beyond the limits of the modern house has pushed contemporary man to a new domestic move, a journey to discover nature as the homeland of a longed-for externality. A journey to reach a new domestic nature, a nature turned into the habitation of a new public intimacy. The being of contemporary man is a public being, as José Luis Pardo says. And it is here that this new man—weary of that reason and its worshiped empiricism—revisit that primitive nature to which he belonged and now intend to turn into the room of his life.
The beginning of the 21st century announces, then, new domestic journeys for which architects such as Junya Ishigami have rescued, from the first journeys of European explorers, the drawings and tales of their faraway natures; these are natures that they have decided to turn into the dwelling of a new way of inhabiting. Now, the good house is that which grants habitation to a longed-for externality, that which turns nature into the homeland of its public being.
Identifying all these domestic natures—primitive, non natural, hygienic, imagined—that lend weight to the possibility of a new house and a new way of inhabiting seems necessary for this journey. This inhabiting intends to surpass that first science whose reason had fragmented the world into pieces of little truths in order to embrace that other science that tells of a world and a nature to which we belong and where we can achieve our own domestic Eden. A belonging that seems to be able to solve old material and energy offenses to nature itself.
We aim then to create a notebook of domestic journeys to inhabited natures and to all those natures that are being heralded already. A compendium of projects of big and small, individual and collective housing that tried and still try to turn nature into place and habitation. A notebook of journeys to new and old domestic natures.