Fluid Habitation

"We have become used to thinking about architecture in terms of its permanence and stability in time and to seeing it as irrevocably linked to the place where it is built, as though its true nature were to impose its materiality with a view to resisting the passage of time."

cristina diaz moreno,

impermanent architecture

mobile design, shifting paradigms

We live in a world of spatial hierarchy. This hierarchy can be controlled and manipulated by those individuals that can most easily dominate space. Those persons that position themselves in dominant spaces can dictate to the general population. Spatial hierarchy is, by its nature, political, sexual and inevitably controllable. There is a contemporary shift in architecture toward the fluid, toward the impermanent, toward the adaptable. These impermanent spaces are empowering by their very nature. They are politically adaptable, they reject and recreate established paradigms. They are unreliable and therefore difficult to control.   Impermanency is proactive, subversive and empowering to the individual.

rigid living environments

The modern home does not reflect our modern life style in many ways. Our life consists of dynamic systems of media, information, technology and transport. These elements continually shape our epoch and define it as an era of loose foundations and shifting meaning. Our homes do not reflect this. They contain a variety of products that enhance our lifestyle through their flexibility, fluidity and malleability. Yet our direct living environment remains a static one. Fixed and rigid, it conforms us to a static ideology and does not allow us to easily adapt and evolve our behaviour, relationships, circumstances and lifestyle.

As families grow and change, their living environment often do not easily adapt with these shift needs. The result is either a radical and often expensive adaptation to the existing home or a new residence is sort. The contemporary model of apartment living provides us with an efficient urban solution, yet at the family scale it continues to dictate to its users. Limits on space confine the user to live in a fixed pattern and do not allow for change and personal or family evolution. Essential environmental elements such as natural, direct sunlight are rare commodities that address often only a single opening and deny the user personal access to such fundamental resources. The modern home dictates lifestyle and behaviour. It is not representative of contemporary life and a new model is required that reflects our needs and new technologies.

transient design

Impermanent design in general empowers the individual. It is difficult to control or predict.   Laptops, palm pilots, mobile phones and efficient transport systems allow the individual to live a fluid existence. No longer bound to a fixed location, the individual has choice and freedom. Freedom to communicate, freedom to source information, freedom to express and publish opinion. The freedom afforded us by these tools and technologies can act as a narrative to redefine the contemporary family home.

Fluid habitation enables the individual and family to continually recreate, reassess and invent their living environment.   Furthermore it empowers them to define their space in a personal way while also giving them flexibility to alter their home to specific and shifting needs.

materials, variety, change, market

The ideologies adopted by such design based commercial concepts as Imac and Swatch have informed the design of fluid habitation. By making available well designed objects that vary in material, colour and texture these product have provided a cheap repeatable 'type' that can be altered to the user's needs to define individuality and allow personal choice.

In the same way, fluid habitation is a carefully designed group of objects that is standardised and easily repeatable at low cost.   Yet colours, materials and texture can be adapted to easily create an individual expression.

"Technology today has already achieved a certain independence from their location for many. Due to advanced telecommunication techniques, the need to live permanently in a certain place or even close to cities and offices has been reduced. The possibility of a "mobile way of life" is certainly an attractive feature of a modern welfare society.   Nevertheless it seems as if architecture and urbanism as a discipline has hardly found its role in this development yet."

korteknie - stuhlmocher

design description

Fluid habitation is not so much a design of a new layout of a home as much as it is a shift in the way we perceive our modern living space. Fluid habitation reflects our contemporary lifestyle through its ability to adapt and change to the continually shifting requirements of its residents.

With fluid habitation, no longer do individuals and families need to conform to the requirements of their strict living environment, instead they can make their living space adapt and conform to their shifting needs and wants.

Within the environment of fluid habitation the child, in particular, is faced with new and broader issues than current static living environments offer. The ability to adapt ones living environment is not only empowering to the child but also it enables them to explore and grow in ways that are not available within our current fixed and rigid home designs.

mobile bedroom

The mobile bedroom is a private study / sleeping space for the individual or couple. While providing a unique and flexible private environment, it also is used as a device to define, screen or change the greater apartment space, thereby enabling the user to alter their living environment to their whim.

intelligent glass

While the main form of the mobile bedroom is a solid extrusion the ends of the object are clad in "intelligent" glass. "Intelligent" glass has been used in office spaces since the mid 70's to enable certain areas of an office space to quickly be altered from private to semi-public to openly public space. The use of this material in the mobile bedroom enables the user to adapt the level of interaction that their private space has with the general open space of the overall apartment.


As part of the mobile bedroom, the study provides the residents an area to work and study in privacy within their own personally controlled space.

mobile office

The mobile office is a flexible office space providing the family with a simple and adaptable environment to work and study.   The mobile office is a hybrid structure, incorporating an adaptable, tectonic solution with contemporary screen technology.   The office is a digitised 'jack' to the world, providing the family with a contemporary means and expression of their connection to the world and their freedom to information. One could imagine that as the make up of the family changes over time that simple, free standing elements such as the mobile office could be added to suit the shifting needs of the family.

mobile kitchen

The mobile kitchen acts as the family hub. It is highly mobile and adaptable, providing the family with a variety of opportunities to adapt their food preparation / eating environment. The mobile kitchen allows such activities as cooking and eating on balcony and outdoor areas, thereby creating family activity zones that aren't fixed to a single position.

fluid habitation

Fluid habitation is an optimistic investigation of real life applications of the shifting paradigm of family life. Its success stems from its uncompromising commitment to allowing the family to continually reinvent its environment. Mobility not only empowers the family and the individual by allowing them to determine their living spaces, more so, it allows them to explore new spatial and personal relationships as they transform over time.


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