(Re)making An Interior Architecture
by Claudine FANG Yu Tian
Pushing back against the waste of mass commodification, this thesis engages the acts of repair and (re)making in the architectural interior. It speculates how a burgeoning ‘Do-It-Yourself’ culture that encapsulates a making-do spirit reframes the role of repair in architecture, shifting from the scale of object intervention to spatial configuration. Going beyond conventional scopes of building crafts/tradespeople, the thesis enlists the skillsets of seamstresses, gardeners and bookbinders, as itinerant and make-do 'architects', demonstrating how they might mend spaces occupied by Singapore’s disadvantaged society.
The thesis narrates speculative scenarios for an elderly resident—Mdm Phua, who lives in a HDB flat in Jalan Kukoh. This public housing estate is associated with growing inequality and emerges as a marginalized zone where my experimental architecture through (re)making occurs. Scattered around the flat, the devices are designed to assist her in carrying out her daily tasks such as bathing, cooking and taking care of her house plants while also training her mobility and soothing her body aches. These consist of four types of body braces working within a system of textile pulley-conveyors. They support Mdm Phua as she moves within three humid zones of varying plant-based microclimates. Each device is made using the specific skills and assets of either craft or a combination of all.
Through such acts of making, the process of repair is already occurring, both physically and metaphorically. It requires her to remain at all times within the process of constant maintenance of the home environment, challenging the conventional use of domestic spaces through different modes of engagement. (Re)making the flat’s interior parallels the mending of relationships to architectural space, thus, re-constituting the role of making-do in the lived architecture of the home.
Tutor's Notes // Claudine’s thesis critically renovates ideas of repair, renewal and mending for our contemporary cities. She extends the concept beyond objects used and disposed, moving towards the homes we live in, and the precarious ‘fabric’ of our societies. Her project innovatively revisits and updates the thought (and drawing) experiments of the Situationist International and British cartoonist Heath Robinson, who separately critiqued Modernist city ideals and the futility of spatial production borne from unconsidered consumption of urban and domestic spaces. Claudine’s project raises pertinent questions about architectural authorship. It considers the tectonics of repair through the aesthetics of ‘making-do’ in the (multiple) lives of buildings.