Thursday, January 7, 2010

House transforms to Home

In the beginning…your home starts off as a house. It is the memories that we make in our houses a home by providing a specific identity. It is man’s homecoming, where we find our comfort, security, and refuge. All of the memories in my home that I just shared played a distinct role in what I remember of my home. I could share many more, but it is just a glimpse of how my past experiences have overlapped and unfolded to map my memories and tell a story of my childhood. The most valuable characteristic about my house is its heritage. It was passed down to my parents from my great grandparents. There are various parts about my house that hold family traditions and ornamentations, but the one that is special to me is my great grandmother’s hats in the attic. I used to play dress up with them. All of my memories are revealed throughout every part of my home. I grew up in this home and my parents will live there until they pass, so it holds a special place in my heart and I will never be able to call another place ‘home’. One of my most vivid memories of my home is coming in the kitchen and crawling my way up to the counter to wash my hands for dinner. On one specific day, I came in from playing outside and was so excited; my mom had made my favorite dinner- chicken-pot-pie. The kitchen smelt of delicious home cooked chicken and fresh baked crust and the oven was still warm. After I got done drying my hands off I jumped off the counter without realizing the wooden cabinet underneath the sink had opened. The corner cut my stomach right where someone would have appendicitis. It left a scar, just as all of my memories have. I have mostly good and few bad memories of my home, but the important thing is they have left a mental scar/image in my head where I will always have a place that is special and unique to me and I can call it ‘home’.

Do you think it will be hard for us to be to recreate another place for us to call ‘home’? Eventually, we will all be out on our own living in either a previously owned house, apartment, home designed by ourselves, on the road, etc? How will we be able to capture our memories in a place to dwell? What will you preserve about the home you lived in most of your childhood and what will you dismiss?


  1. I think it is interesting how different a home can be to everyone just from the specific memories they have there. I love to listen to the stories my Grandma tells of when the family would all come together in my Great-Grandmas house and of all the fun times, and even bad times that happened there with all of them together. In a way, I almost feel like the sharing of things, inside the house with past generations makes it a home. Not only do the memories that you specifically make there from your immediate family make it a home, but being able to share things from all the past generations of your family that bring you together helps make the transformation from a house to a home. I do believe that it is possible to make a future house that you may live in a home; the memories that will be shared in it with the people that you love help make it that way. When it comes down to it, I really believe that to make a house a home, it is all about the people who live in it and their closeness to each other. This can make your house a place that you want to be and come back to again and again; a home.

  2. Lindsay,

    What a good series of images! It is shows how space, like our minds, accumulate memories. Freud once made a distinction between Rome (a physical place) and human consciousness. Freud implies that if Rome where like out minds, all 2700 years of Rome's history would occupy the same spaces as the present city. (Just for the record, I do not ascribe to Freud, I am more a Jungian. But Freud was an influential thinker.)

    But most of the time, a place is not marked or "dented" by memory, but the mind can conjure from the past what is not present. What implications does this have on architecture?

  3. Every piece of architecture has a history. We are not able to physically experience every place so therefore most of our memories of places are captured through photographs. But the past cannot be compressed into a photograph. A photograph of a place does not represent essence of the space, sound, smell, surroundings, culture etc. because our only memory is that of sight. We only get a glimpse of what that place is about. Even the places we get to physically experience, our memories of them are only a tiny capsule of time. A place is meaningful when you can see its transformation overtime. We are so busy focusing on how we feel about a place, and never consider how a place actually feels.
    Places have some degree of consistency as they change overtime. The history that leaves an impression on us is how a place evolves, and within that what is preserved overtime. We are able to draw relationships over the influences of the changes. It is important to recognize the power of architecture as we design. A piece of architecture is forever. We can only predict to some degree of how it will evolve overtime but the influences are out of our control. That is why the life of architecture will live forever, it is never static, but everchanging.