The Dominguez house: on the private and public realms of dwelling

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The significance of dwelling for architectural theory relies in its ability to pose the phenomenological problem of our place in the world in all clarity (Heidegger 2001; Norberg-Schulz 1985). Understanding the house as reflection of how man sees and reveals himself (Bachelard 1969; Jung 1969; Cooper 1974; Norberg-Schulz 1985), this paper studies the private and public realms of dwelling through one exemplary project designed by Alejandro De la Sota between 1970 and 1980. The conception of the project as a vertically polarised being comes as immediate consequence of man?s fundamental intellectual search (Vitruvius 2001; Dripps 1999; Heidegger 2001; Alexander 1977). The paper interrogates the design and construction of the Dominguez House, where activity and repose are intertwined in a vertical image (Bachelard 1969). The penultimate version of the project divides the accommodation into an elevated platform and a buried level, where the active man overlooks the landscape, before being brought back to repose by subterranean forces. During construction, further elaboration of the two initial paradigms results in an increase of buried accommodation and unfolds into a more sophisticated being that represents the daily heroism of ascension of the ?man in action? (Arendt 1989) from the private to the public realm. Blending theory and praxis, architect Alejandro De la Sota elaborates the two paradigms of activity and repose present in the same idea of dwelling into a more sophisticated image that opposes to a current understanding of the house as private shelter for the individual. The Dominguez house relocates the house at the centre of collective gathering, engaging in public life and coming back to the idea of the public realm. With the organized activities of public life taking place over an ?unbuilt? ground plane, men in ?action? inhabit the world preserving its history and creating the conditions for collective memory.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2015
EventThis Thing Called Theory: 12th International Architectural Humanities Research Association Conference - Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, United Kingdom
Duration: 19 Nov 201521 Nov 2015


ConferenceThis Thing Called Theory
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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