Ge Zhou

MArch II

Apartment Number: N/A

Advised by Iman Fayyad

“The modern apartment, or that which is referred to as a studio or one-room apartment, is the material realization of a tendency toward cell formation, which can be recognized as the architectural and topological analogue of the individualism of modern society.”  

—Peter Sloterdijk  

Lying beneath the condition of housing as aggregations of cells is the notion of private property. Capitalism has assigned the familial unit the minimum of space required to reproduce itself. The commodity of housing is simply that space where reproduction can occur and labor regenerate.  

Architecturally speaking, commodity housing in a dense urban development consists of individual cells connected horizontally by hallways and vertically by elevators. We should wonder why the universal urban housing typology is undifferentiable from for-profit temporary lodging (i.e., hotels). Is a neighbor just the stranger next door?  

This thesis is interested in how capitalism has infiltrated every aspect of our everyday life and the ways architecture orchestrates the endless repetition of work, rest, and consumption. It is an attempt to find moments where a new housing typology can exist within capital’s urban framework. So what if we get rid of hallways and relieve ourselves of the burden of discrete private properties? What if we utilize the embedded possibilities of elevators as collective spaces? If there is no “yours” or “mine,” then perhaps we humans are no longer merely agents to produce and reproduce. We, the people, are communities in spite of the imposition of a dense urban reality. 

Black and white plan with circles