Domestic Ambiguity: Between Safety, Community, and Intimacy


Name: Joshua Tan

Nationality: Singaporean

Institution / Company: Yale School of Architecture


Name: Timothy Wong

Nationality: Canadian

Institution / Company: Yale School of Architecture


Name: Jie Zhou

Nationality: Chinese

Institution / Company: Yale School of Architecture




Can housing provide a new form of intimacy with domestic spaces and each other? In the milieu of social distancing, conventional housing planned for efficiency and spatial rigidity no longer serves our highly interiorized rituals. We require a space of domestic ambiguity.

Our proposal embraces awkwardness, indeterminacy, and ambiguity—necessary conditions for the interaction of our bodies with architectural form. While prioritizing these qualities, safety is ensured by establishing physical thresholds that are productive for intimacy and a gradation of cleanliness.

Designed for two people, the unit is structured into three zones: cleansing, social, and intimate. The unit is an intersection between a rectilinear shape and an amorphous form. A dedicated buffer zone is placed upon entrance for initial sanitation and limited human contact. Through contraction, expansion, curtains and glass, the flexible form gently separates the social and the intimate, each preceded by cleansing pockets running through the unit. This fluidity extends to the hybridity of the architectural element, transforming into occupiable furniture. Extending towards the building’s central courtyard, it becomes balconies that are arranged to provide community in socially distanced ways.

It is domesticity made safe, playful, and undefined.


#ProtectedSocialInteractions #Hygiene&PreventingContamination #Co-habitation&Relationships #Loneliness

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