Collective Home Office | MArch Thesis

2018 MArch Thesis
Advisors Ana Miljacki, Timothy Hyde, Rafi Segal

Collective Home Office is a collaborative practice whose working process tests the propositions it makes through architecture. As a group of friends, willing test subjects, a union of producers, a jury, a family, or an army, CHO explores the frictions and benefits of collectivity in both method and content. The three words that form its name provide a framework through which the practice engages with its context, questioning how the meanings of collective, home and office have been historically shaped. 

Targeting the agents most implicated in defining the current moment, namely the proto-state corporations, platforms and institutions that constitute Big Tech, CHO pitches a series of unsolicited projects to clients who are radically changing how we live and relate to one another. CHO believes that not only should these agents be held responsible for the drastic social and urban impacts they exert, but that they may become willing partners in designing new ways of living that respond to the social estrangement, imminent technological unemployment, and chronic housing crisis that have resulted from their unregulated conquest of market share.

Far from neglecting the notion of collectivity, the tech world has appropriated its surplus value and replaced sharing with a sharing economy and then with a gig economy. The “capitalist collective” fails to recognize its misuse of the word; collectives differ greatly from memberships rosters. CHO believes that collectivity is a shared motivation towards a common goal. Fundamentally ideological, it is accrued over time through social intimacy built on shared experiences, both positive and negative. Spatially, this notion of the collective requires a new organizational strategy. Modeled on both the city and the home, forms of domestic urbanism are fostered by intimate encounters occurring at overlapping scales of interaction, redefining the notion of household. 

CHO focuses its practice on how this unlikely partnership can be used as an opportunity to rewire the collective with new priorities. Using the home office as a device, CHO emphasizes the increasing importance of care work and social grooming as means of coping with transitional post-work lifestyle no longer based on the binary of home and work.