Candem projects 1965-1980. Vida privada y espacio doméstico

Luz Sempere Sánchez

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This article uses four social housing examples built in Candem´s district of London, between 1965 and 1980 to analysis of contemporary domestic space and private life.
This period of time has gave the greatest contributions to collective housing in England due to a profound revision of domestic patterns. N1 Homes offered a radical vision of urban life in the context of the 60's: the society was in the midst of a postmodernist crisis and facing a growing consumer culture.
The Candem projects tried to deal with the problems of alienation, physical deterioration and social confusion attributed to the housing built during the postwar period. There also tried to incorporate the new aspects of an increasingly technological and consumerist ideology society .

Already that projects still remain being a very valid architecture in this day, it is very interesting its study. Architect Atxu Amann states in her doctoral thesis of 2005 that "we live a life of science-fiction in spaces from yesterday". N2 Inhabitants live under oppression,are prisoners by functional spatial schemes which, due to technological advances, have been updated by incorporating a series of services that are superimposed over the domestic space. Other than that, nothing else has evolved. Even though we are living the greatest media and technological revolution since the Industrial Revolution, the private sphere only responds to changes through the incorporation of increasingly advanced gadgets, without any criticism regarding their influence on the construction of the domestic interior. "The homes that exist are not those of our time". N3 In this way, Josep Quetglas puts forth an eloquent statement based on a play on words resulting from inverting Mies' famous quote "The homes of our time still do not exist". This declaration by Mies dates back to 1930 (Construction Expo held in Berlin) and continues to be completely true as of this day. The vulnerability of domestic space to the changes in society brings about the need to constantly redefine it. This space, conceived as the cell of privacy, is exposed to all the changes that occur in the structure of families. It is also exposed to all the technological advances, which directly influence it by being "goods" available to everyone. In our present time, where even internet technology is already taking a leap into virtual space, a debate regarding the characteristics of the home is absolutely necessary.

This article focuses on the following projects: Branch Hill, (1973. G. Benson and A. Forsyth, architects), Maiden Lane, 1976-1983 (G. Benson and A. Forsyth, architects), Alexandra Road, (1968-1979, Neave Brown, architect) and Brunswick Centre (1968-1972. Sir Leslie Martin and Patrick Hodgkinson, architects). Given their specific characteristics, these projects are the most relevant to explain and transmit the construction of contemporary domestic space and the private life inside it. From this analysis, based on the study of privacy and the absence of domesticity, we hope to understand how this contemporary domestic space is built, as well as its relationship to the city. This article will compare the main concepts analyzed in each project, and will question the relationships between interior and exterior, and semi-private and semi-public.


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