“The Domestic Sphere Is the New Battleground”

The Spanish architect Andrés Jaque explains how architecture’s role has changed in light of shifts in our political landscape.

Andrés Jaque of Office for Political Intervention

Courtesy Luis Diaz

This is the first in a series of short manifestos from participating architects at the Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB). For more on CAB, see our interview with directors Sarah Herda and Joseph Grima.

Architecture for us is about making daily life political. Nowadays, politics is happening against the backdrop of ordinary life—in our kitchens, living rooms, and backyards. The domestic sphere is the new battleground. Whereas in the 1990s much of the architectural debate was focused on urbanization, geographical and spatial divisions such as cities, suburbs, and the countryside are not as well-defined today. Through personal and mobile technologies, we reconfigure our lives along constantly changing demarcations. The Mouride communities simultaneously live in New York and Touba, Senegal. The owners of New York’s priciest condo towers inhabit a constellation of residences around the world that are connected through their Instagram accounts.

Our work is interested in interrogating the design of daily life, so that it becomes more inclusive while still retaining difference. We do not seek to create mere objects but hubs in which the framework of society is rearticulated. With COSMO at MoMA PS1, we proposed to redefine the way New York relates to water. At the House in Never Never Land we tried to channel Ibiza’s hedonistic lifestyle into a force capable of promoting environmental empowerment.

Architecture can help prompt new ways to structure our interactions with others. It can change how we relate to natural resources, to toxicity, to gender constructions, to inequality, or to transnational differentials. We definitively want to see our office on this side of architecture.

Office for Political Innovation
Location: Madrid and New York
Founded: 2000

Size: 10 people
Founder: Andrés Jaque

COSMO, MoMA PS1, New York, 2015

Phantom: Mies as Rendered Society installation at the Barcelona Pavilion, 2013

IKEA Disobedients at MoMA PS1, 2001

Escaravox, Madrid, 2014

House in Never Never Land, Ibiza, 2009

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