Matthew Hayes

MArch I

Expanded Domesticity: Visual Sequencing in Collective Housing 

Advised by Belinda Tato

The essence of the neighborly or collective interaction has all but disappeared from the housing experience. As one moves between and occupies a series of similarly standardized rooms, glimpses may be caught of the outside world, but these momentary glances lack any semblance of substance. Despite illustrating the close visual and physical proximity of a city’s denizens, views from residential units produce relatively little in terms of social connection to the collective experience. Though a person may view others, they remain continually isolated. 

 In contrast to this growing trend of housing in which domestic spaces have become increasingly internalized, autonomous, and neglectful of their collective surroundings, this thesis explores opportunities for formalizing visual connections in order to provide new forms of intimacy both between neighboring residential units and the greater community. Visual relationships become physically manifested as mediators between households, creating shared spaces that act as ambiguous thresholds between the public realm and the individual housing unit. Sited along a public cultural trail, larger visual forms bridge the divide between the public condition and the inmate household. Through visual sequencing, hierarchies within household spaces are reestablished and grow beyond the established boundary of the residential unit, rejecting the normalized spatial conditions prevalent in much of contemporary housing.

Photo collage of interior staircases