The Pentagon has been alienated from its identity, it’s hard to feel oneself at home in the metropolis’ beating heart.
But can an architect restore – let alone create – a home? If we look up the origins of this rather vague term, one can perceive a fundamental differ- ence between the mental and the material aspect of living man has made throughout history. The Greeks spoke about hestia, the religious midpoint of a dwelling, and oikos, the house as a structure. In German one translates the former as heimat, which doesn’t only mean home, but also the relation- ship of man towards a certain space. Henceforth an architect couldn’t be able to build a home, since it doesn’t concern something material.
Or can he? We divided the manifestation of the concept of home into three aspects: memory, that what one remembers as well as what one has been taught, identity, how one is or appears to be as an individual, and ter- ritory, the space one relates oneself to. Maybe we can’t influence home per se, but we can manipulate these manifestations.
The first brings us to the historical context of the site: rather than a revival of functions, we restored some iconic images, through the use of certain seemingly classical typologies like a courtyard, a gallery and a grand café. The second aspect concerns local (building) traditions: instead of thwarting an old habit, we reinterpreted the typical non-urban typology of housing.
For territory we formulated a solution against the privatisation and seg- regation in society.
These 3 aspects of home mainly focus on personal individual qualities but a fourth important component of being home is feeling part of a so- cial network. In our individualistic society this is a quality one has to re- establish and emphasise without losing the luxury of personal space. We introduced the concept of ‘hoodhouses’ as a communal space for a number of families to help them to create their own neighbourhood. By using this tool we give attention to a good gradual transition between public and private space.