Analog(ue), or : how to enjoy privacy

in the digital age

Master's thesis in architecture

Preston Scott Cohen, advisor

 

We know our homes without words, or even conscious thought.

 

Daily routines compel our bodies to traverse our homes with the utmost efficiency; we move through them with an alacrity approaching panache. This proprietary knowledge—visceral and attuned, unremarked and unremarkable—distinguishes a tenant from everyone else, whether guest or interloper, corporeal or digital.

 

This master’s thesis considers the future of privacy, presently facing extinction in the digital age. The home—national bastion of individual freedoms, bulwark against personal intrusion—is increasingly “assisted” by blank-faced smart devices that are sometimes seeing, and always listening.

 

But as of yet, they do not pick up on the uncanny.


 

This project consists of a series of houses characterized by quiet contradictions, propagating optical illusions and spatial misreadings. Analogues of normalcy, these homes mimic prosaic forms but harbor hidden rooms and secret mechanisms in their folds. Therein, each house further elevates the tenant’s position of power within it, as a host to outsiders. Hiding in plain sight, these spatial devices allow the free entry of people and things—from dishwasher repairmen and virtual assistants, light and air—without sacrificing the intimacy of inhabiting a dwelling.

 

Ultimately, the houses provide privacy without privation—an increasingly rare commodity.

January 2018

Harvard University Graduate School of Design