A Constellation of Spaces

or the Exploded House

The artist Theaster Gates, through his work ‘Dorchester Projects’, explores the notion that the house is not just a platform for the individual, but a place for the community to gather, occupy and engage in the reconstruction of their environment with the notion of ‘extreme hospitality’ as they collectively work to revolutionise their community, inviting cultural diversity and inventiveness.

A Constellation of Spaces, or the Exploded House will take this notion as its starting point. We will first critically interrogate our chosen subject area: the suburb of Braybrook, a post-industrial area currently going through a transitory period due to the massive infrastructural investments of the airport rail loop and suburban rail loop. We will analyse and dissect Braybrook’s various histories, understanding its development and place in Melbourne’s urban context. Simultaneous to this we will critically interrogate and challenge the private state of the house, isolating its discrete operations and conceptualising new publics that will be overlaid onto our subject area.

After this initial stage, the studio will move to propositions. We will operate at a variety of scales; From the macro where we will explore how these operations can weave into and augment Braybrook’s existing condition to the micro, where we will perform a close reading of immediate contexts to design highly refined proposals that rethink formerly private operations of the home into public-facing outcomes.

Gates sums up his work ‘Dorchester Projects’ as the ‘performance of possibilities’. This is what we are pursuing and designing towards in this studio: The possibilities of an area in a state of arrested development, the possibilities of the private house, and the possibilities of community to create a clear pedagogical, collective and aesthetic dialogue in the spaces they occupy.