Material Participation and the Architecture of Domestic Autonomy

Authored by: Lee Stickells

The Routledge Companion to Architecture and Social Engagement

Print publication date:  May  2018
Online publication date:  May  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138889699
eBook ISBN: 9781315712697
Adobe ISBN:


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In the mid-1970s architecture students at the University of Sydney researched, designed, built and occupied Australia’s first “autonomous house” (Figure 22.1). They were energized by challenges, both globally and locally, to social structures, institutions and even individual consciousness that emerged from the tumult of the 1960s’ social movements and counterculture. 1 Connected to an alternative culture that wanted to do more than just reject society as it existed, the students involved actively experimented with the construction of new social and political collectivities, everyday economic practices and their attendant spaces. The design of the domestic realm offered particular possibilities at a time when the personal was becoming articulated as political. 2 It was especially important to the Sydney students as a site in which private action could align with planetary needs—the emerging ecological consciousness of the 1970s manifested through building.

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