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PROJECT 02

Home, My Smart Home

This project traces the genealogy of imaginaries of "smart homes" dating from the 1960s to the present. From MIT's Computer-Aided Design Project (and Nicholas Negroponte's writings on Responsive Architecture and Soft Architecture Machine) to the development of ubiquitous technologies at Xerox PARC, computational design method has long fascinated the designers and architects of twentieth-century to the present. "Design" nowadays is uncritically understood as a problem-solving method, although the underlying history of cybernetics and the Cold War has received little attention.

Using genealogy as a primary method of inquiry, this project traces how the futurist interior design prototypes that prefigured today's smart homes have advanced in concert with the strategies of the US military-industry-academy complex during the Cold War. This genealogy is composed of: a) history of visions and computer-aided interior designs, b) history and discourse of 'homeland security' wherein the idea of 'home' is understood as a frontier of defense, and c) the formation of 'selfhood' as a central locus of defense responsibility. This project focuses on how the idea of "smart home," which reflects our desire to control space at a distance and to organize a rational and harmonious way of life, functions as a primary motif of architectural and environmental security design in the present. 

 

References 

Cardoso, D. L. (2015). Builders of the Vision: Software and Imagination of Design. Routledge. 

Edwards, P. N. (1997). The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America. MIT Press.

Halpern, O. (2014). Beautiful Data: A History of Vision and Reason Since 1945. Durham and London: Duke University Press.

Mattern, S. (2015). Mission Control: A History of the Urban Dashboard. Places Journal. https://doi.org/10.22269/150309

Steenson, M. W. (2017). Architectural Intelligence: How Designers and Architects Created the Digital Landscape. MIT Press. 

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