It is interesting that when one looks at the history of architecture or one teaches theory of architecture as I do, the common house plays a major role in the understanding of what architecture is or what architecture should be all about. Alberti, the famous architect from the renaissance, summed up this thought famously with the following statement “the house is like a city and a city is like a house”. What he meant by this was that a city that works well has been planned with the sensitivity and love of detail that goes into the design and planning of a simple house and visa versa. He also meant that a house, possibly the smallest entity in the world of architecture, is made up from all the elements and themes that are required to make the great architectural wonders of the world such as beauty, proportion, scale, materials and use . It is the idea of a universal formula, the relationship between micro and macro, that the renaissance man is talking about, a formula that can be applied to all tasks. Pay attention to the simple small things and how they interconnect as they dictate the success of the bigger complex, this is holistic thinking. The analysis and understanding of the genius loci – the site and its orientation and the local climate, the choice of building materials used, the relationships between use and space, the drama and logic of the routes created between the spaces and their uses, the organization of views and moments of rest, these are all elements that together make a city or a house work and give it its unique and special identity.
“Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home)” Marvin Gaye. Human-kinds drive to be mobile, to keep on the move, is as much a part of our makeup, our DNA, as the need to create homes, places of refuge and recovery is. Modern society and digitalization pose new challenges and questions as to what is HOME. “My home is my castle” an age old saying that implies the opposite to Gayes permanent “on the road” statement gives us another important aspect of what home should be. The home as a castle is a safe space, a protected zone, a gated city in micro, to push Alberti’s concept into the 21st century. It is a challenge to create “Homes” that combine traditional instinctive needs for protection and refuge with innovative technological possibilities to communicate with the outside world, to be part of the grid or not.