Envisioning a home without housework, with all services included

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Cristiand Corte/British Council
Do you base your life on property or on time? That’s a core question posed, with accompanying time-based solutions, in the British Pavilion’s “Home Economics” exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale, as reported in Wired.

If your answer is “time,” the British exhibit is something you’ll want to consider, though you needn’t travel to Italy to experience it. Five installations presented in “Home Economics” include  “Hours,” “Days,” “Months,” “Years,” and “Decades.” The trick is to think about how you spend your time as you use spaces and services. The slogan at the entry of the installation says it all, “A home without housework.”

To get your head around the concept, think of “Housing as a Service,” in the same way we think of “Software as a Service,” where you don’t own the software, and instead pay a monthly fee to use it as with Microsoft 365. Or “Mobility as a Service” when you don’t own cars but use them, with and without drivers, as with Uber ridesharing or BMW’s ReachNow car-sharing service.

Even closer in concept to “Home Economics” is WeLive, the co-living rental concept developed in conjunction with WeWork co-working shared office spaces. A hotel room comparison doesn’t work because “Months” is more than a transient experience, more like boarding houses, which historically carried some stigma, or SRO (single room occupancy) long-term hotel living which used to be more prevalent and still exists in some larger cities.

In the British exhibit, the “Months” installation gives the best comparison to conventional apartment living. “Months” consists of a combination of private and shared spaces that you rent on a monthly basis, with the rental services including cooking, cleaning, laundry, maintenance, utilities, and Wi-Fi. Private space is a two-story core used for sleeping, convenience cooking, and cleaning up. Surrounding your “core” are larger open, double-height areas, where all residents share services and amenities.

The exhibit seems to be imagining a future that resembles an extension of single-room, college dorm life, only with your own bathroom, and no final exams.

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