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The script of technology is probably nowhere as controversial as when it is applied to architecture and private housing. Can it be that our private houses in fact have a hidden agenda? When we feel at home and the most at ease, are we then inclined towards certain behaviour because of the houses we live in? If this is the case, how do we analyses the intentionality of architecture, understand its impact and try to alter its function? This paper strives to use the conceptual apparatus of postphenomenological studies developed by Don Ihde (1993) and Peter-Paul Verbeek (2005) in order to analyse the trajectory of humans and their immediate surroundings, i.e. their private homes. It is my theses that it is possible to merge this framework of thinking with Nancy Cartwright's study of what she has coined nomological machines and in this way develop an adequate tool of investigating the domestication processes of architecture. Combining these approaches it becomes possible to reassess one of Cartwrigth's famous descriptions of a nomological machine: "What is a nomological machine? It is a fixed (enough) arrangement of components, or factors, with stable (enough) capacities that in the right sort of stable (enough) environment will, with repeated operation, give rise to the kind of regular behaviour". (Cartwright, 1999, p. 50). To try to show my thesis, I will carry out a paradigmatic study of a standard one family suburban house of one the largest home builders in the United States, Champion Enterprises, and thereby take a closer look at what kind of "regular behaviour" their homes might give rise to. Cartwright, Nancy (1999): The Dappled World, United Kingdom, Cambridge University Press. Ihde, Don (1993): Postphenomenology, Evanston, Northwestern University Press. Verbeek, Peter-Paul (2005): What Things Do, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania University Press.
30 okt. 2009
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Houses as Nomological Machines: Domestication of Architecture