“4x4 House”

The 21st Century has yet to fulfill its predecessor’s promise of capsule, pod, and spaceship living. While calls for architecture to become hi-tech or metabolic resulted in canonical experiments and striking images, cities never quite accepted the concept of space-age living. The imagined futures of the 60s and 70s became footnotes in the history of various modernisms, rejected by a public more concerned with automobiles, mass media, and accruing capital. But even though “plug-in” cities and “capsule” skyscrapers didn’t become mainstream, building components did evolve to become, according to Banham, an “ensemble of domestic gadgetry [that] epitomizes the intestinal complexity of gracious living.”

4x4 House is an exploration of this domestic gadgetry and a radically pragmatic response to the call for new modes of domesticity. It does not propose novel forms, but instead repurposes existing technology to produce new spatial conditions. Using one of the most common building components, the hydraulic elevator, 4x4 House revisits the notion that a house can be a machine for living in. With 16 possible configurations and an externalized fluid insulation envelope, it reverses the typical arrangement of a house’s intestinal systems to produce space that is modular, mutable, and accessible to all.