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ADS0: Rooms and Windows – Framing the Everyday Catastrophe in a City of Interiors

Maciej Kanarkowski

Maciej has gained his BA at University of Edinburgh and subsequently joined MCM Architecture as architectural assistant working on a varied range of projects ranging from higher education facilities to commercial offices in the City of London. 

During his time at RCA Maciej focuses his research on the exploration of socio-political struggles through the most mundane, often personal, investigations. Last year his first year’s project delved into the complex border condition of Croatia and Serbia facilitated by the ecological system of Danube river, to provide a different outlook on border conflict by investigation of vernacular architectures mediating the political and ecological landscapes. 

In his practice, Maciej strives to combine technical excellence to visualise the immaterial background of his research, but takes pride in artistic depiction of the most immediate, timid environments where the projects unfold. 

Frictionfull, fritcionless.

This time, an autoethnographic case study, which describes a microcosm of a 30 square meter apartment where a growing family provides a unique entry point to the wider context. The ever changing requirements of daily life have to be answered on sub-minimal playing ground, resulting in a fluid, constantly shifting programme of the space which is vividly present in the anecdotes or even the photographic archive documenting family occasion, and by accident, every corner of the apartment. This reading of friction-full living sparks the investigation of friction in architectural history of the domestic in the 20th century. Aiming to establish the model for how friction can be choreographed, infused, or accumulated in a building, ultimately opening the discussion of architecture enabling or disabling force, to allow the unexpected or unintentional to stand against the streamlined and controlled.

 Tension and constant renegotiation of space are represented in the collages, physical models, and drawings. Those intimate memories paint a picture of lower class domesticity, and in turn collective memory of the 90s. Coupled with difficult housing history throughout the 20th century the feeling of shame, or even complex of inferiority arises. A safety valve, a certain surplus was desperately needed to extend the domestic into another realm. Process of repressing the typologies of domesticity present in the 90s a part of family life becomes lost in translation. The aim of the project unfolding before us is to rigorously analyse said typologies, to comment on their position in the wider context of the nation, and speculate on how they relate to the future of housing in Poland. This comes in a form of allotment gardens, they were steadily transitioning their position in urban landscape from a place of low scale food production, to extensions of domestic. The surplus, meaning a respite space from the overwhelmingly oppressive architecture of the domestic, gave people a chance to experience a luxury of not utilizing every square inch of available area.

The project sets out a series on the allotment house model, in order to utilize its willingness to accept friction. This creates a shift in how experimental process becomes a practice of re-actualizing the domestic space of the rising middle class in Poland. An active stance acting on/or against domestic space, its generalization and normativeness, it forces a confrontation with the difficult, but joyful history of friction in Polish domesticity.

Frictionfull, frictioless.
Outdoor House
Loos House
Windowless House
Car House
Insideout House
Perpetual Construction House

Allotment is willing to be an extension of the contemporary home, not restricted by the planning process but limited through the plot size of roughly 5 by 12 meters. In its rigorous grid it also introduces an absolute right to create a space of your own. The project proposes a series of experimentations on the typology of the allotment house: 12 personas focused on the necessity of friction in the current domestic landscape.

What this typology enables is a bridge to a place of experimentation as process and practice. A familiar typology, a model of inhabitation already recognizable as extension of the domestic, willing to embrace the quality of friction that is so necessary.

Kitchen Steps
The Bath
Domestic Microcosms

The childhood home was a crucial study that helped unravel the multiple microcosms of Polish domesticity. It set the scene for the exploration of existenzminimum, housing crisis, and most importantly the surplus that enabled people to accept the difficult conditions which were supplemented by a plethora of serving architectures, most importantly the allotments.