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Tiny Tectonic Tales for Cheyenne

Fall 2019
Columbia University, GSAPP
Critic / Jimenez Lai (Bureau Spectacular), Miku Dixit (Kamara Projects)

Study in writing fiction and domestic personification

models / domestic personification farmers and chefs

A house is a physical object as well as a collection of activities. It adds to the shelf life of domesticity and simultaneously distances itself from the need to be too involved. Everything is excruciatingly mundane and uninteresting. It is the stereotypical product of familiarity and familiality, and storage for quotidian objects. It has simultaneous repetition and differentiation. It is ephemeral and constant, comfortable, and boring. Its familiarity is a never-ending prank, a parody, and a discography of disturbing memories. It is a safe house for your material possessions and dirty secrets but with the perfect poker face, it almost feels like it’s natural disposition.

Abandonment. Abuse. Accidents. Addictions. Alcohol. Alcoholism. Anger. Anxiety. Beauty. Bickering. Boredom. Clichés. Conservation. Conspiracies. Dealers. Debt. Denial. Depression. Disappearances. Disease. Disloyalty. Disturbance. Dreams. Drugs. Emotions. Extended family. Family. Feminity. Feuds. Fights. Friends. Fucks. Gossip. Guns. Hard work. Hate. Hoarding. Infidelity. Inhabitability. Insanity. Insults. Knives. Labor. Lies. Loneliness. Love. Masculinity. Migration. Miscarriages. Money. Murder. Oral sex. Oral tradition. Pain. Parties. Patriarchy. Poverty. Preservation. Scars. Screaming. Sex. Sexism. Shit. Smoke. Stealing. Stereotypes. Stories. Stress Struggles. Suicide. Temper. Trash. Truths. Underemployment. Uninhabitability. Violence. Vomit. Widowhood. Zombies.

The house has experienced them all and yet never transmitted much to the outside world. It simply collects the banalities and mediocrities of its inhabitants and itself. It knows you, it stores you, it gets you, it is you - in body and spirit.

This is a precedence study of domestic architecture, dwellers, and domesticity in suburban America. Analyzed in two phases, it collectively establishes a base to write fictional, but (hopefully) believable characters from Cheyenne, Wyoming. Instead of creating a biopic and hurting any sentiments, the precedence supplies with domestic issues, personality, spatial and artifact archetypes, social dispositions, and architectural and urban permutations and speculations, that help build a plausible but fictitious Cheyenne.

This a study of building characters, writing tales, and speculating spatial personifications. Based on Cheyenne’s demographics, occupational structure, and social milieu, twenty stories on four occupations establish a roster of character and potential for hyperlinking a social structure. Five stories of each occupation deal with different demographic and financial backgrounds, along with five different realities of the occupation. These stories and characters are then personified as twenty different residences, tackling speculations in spatial compositions, archetypes, and idiosyncrasies. Each house embodies the personality of the dwelling and simultaneously accrues a history. Instead of being temporal personalities, they appear to be lived in, with a past, present, and a future. Experimented in foam and represented in three-dimensional tectonics, these dwellings collectively form a neighborhood Cheyenne’s protagonists.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, business, events, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

models / domestic personification, farmers
Widowed Farmer’s Shanty

A triangular porch with a lopsided cantilever leads to a single trapezoidal room with an eight-foot height. The room is a spitting image of negligence and no home-making with unkempt partitions dividing the kitchen, couch and TV, queen-sized bed, and a skewed rectangular space for storing fertilizer and cigarette boxes. Adjacent to the TV is a funicular fireplace twice the height of the room with cigarette butts strewn all over. Connected by the north corner and right next to the kitchen is a square bathroom. On the opposite side, beyond the fertilizer enclosure is another but slightly larger than the main room square garage accesses from the outside only for his pickup truck, tools, and more fertilizer. The tractor is parked outside the garage. He always sleeps on the porch, drunk.
Farmer Couple’s Hacienda

Reflecting the gregarious and private life of the farming duo, the hacienda is a doughnut overlooking the fields on all sides along with an internal courtyard for private luncheons or just late-night tea sessions. The roof all through is saw-toothed drawing in tonnes of natural light into every space. The entrance leads to a large living room with a piano in the corner. To the south for maximum light, is a library-cum-office as the husband is also a councilman to the local county welfare association. To the other side of the living room is an equally sized but squatter second living room. To the corner of the second living room is a narrow corridor full of china and crystal crockery and it leads to a large kitchen. The kitchen has long counters to make jams, jellies, and marmalade. It connects back to the second living room with a dining room. The library links to the master and guest bedrooms through a corridor that leads to the garage linking further to the kitchen and finishing the loop. The garage houses a Lincoln sedan, tools, tiny toilet, and fertilizer. Below the garage is a circular wine cellar and pantry for the winter.
Lodge of the Single Mother + Farmer
Collectively the lodge is three square extrusions with pyramidal frustum roofs with pixel skylights. The largest one is the main house with archways. It is the collection of the living room, kitchen, equally sized mother’s bedroom and the other for the son when he comes in the holidays from the University of Michigan, and utilities. The second and smallest square to the east is the outhouse, butted to the main house at forty-five degrees that she runs as an Airbnb all year long. The garage is the medium-sized square to the west and houses a new tractor, two wheelbarrows, the tool wall on the north making the square unequally off-setted internally, fertilizer storage, winter granary, and an old two-seater Datsun. The three squares materially are made in stone, brick, and wood respectively.
Farmers Father and Son’s Abode
Father and son with a clichéd “masculinity” temperament enter the house through a very large garage from the east into a small dirt room with seven feet height. It leads to the living room with a thick wall to the south and a kitchen wall to the north. This links to the cylindrical granary. The garage has one pick up track but space for two more cars. They are mechanics on the side helping out neighbors. The garage has a mezzanine for fertilizer and the tool shelf underneath. Above the living room are two bedrooms, a medium-sized with a queen bed, and a small one with a twin bed for the father and son respectively. A covered and large terrace overlooks the fields and used for birdwatching sometimes.

Soldier Retired as Farmer’s Chalet
Retired Colonel and his Anatolian Shepherd, Jagger live single-floor utilitarian chalet. The house is a long rectangle with a continuous series of skylight pyramids across spaces. The man lost his leg in war and now has an artificial metal left leg. The house is entered from the south into a corridor that goes west to the main house and east to the garage. Upon entering the main house is first the living room, a square room. It then links to a slim corridor that further links to a kitchen and a storeroom. It is finally intersected by the square bedroom with a saw-tooth roof that opens to the West. The garage has the same roof and stores fertilizers and tools.

models / domestic personification, chefs

Homestead of the Dormant Chef
A recovering alcoholic, the chef lives with her sponsor. Entering from the West she enters into a square vestibule for shoes and coats and then steps down into a living room half into the ground and hosts the alcoholics synonymous meeting every Monday and Thursday and a weekend brunch restaurant as a part of the chef’s road to recovery. The kitchen is equally sized. The east has the two rooms and utilities The south leads to the garage for one car and one bike. The homestead a ring of lopsided rectangles and trapeziums with pitched roofs and deconstructed out of a single linear rectangular house.
Prodigy Chef’s Studio

Young twenty-five-year-old chef lives with his cat Canelle [cinnamon in French] in a burrow underground. The entrance cuts into the ground leaning to a single lopsided rectangle with circular, triangular, and rectangular skylights projecting above the ground by four feet. The rooftop is a garden for his eclectic weekend restaurant. The large underground space is mainly a kitchen a single bed, bookshelf, utilities, and storage to the side. A tunnel with a vaulted roof leads to a round scullery and a square pantry with one triangular skylight over the scullery.
Twin Chefs and their cookhouse
Twin brothers have a vertical dumbbell house with a square base, square top, and triangular spire with an elevator. The entrance is a rectangular corridor leading to the center of the square with another square lobby linking to the elevator and the entrance to the private residence. The remaining private residence is a C-shaped volume with a sloping roof. The right-hand side has the bedroom with military bunk beds, closets, and bathroom and the left side is half a kitchen and half a living room. The rooftop is an open restaurant with the main kitchen.
Double Dipping Chef’s Apartment
Single woman is Uber driver by day and Chef by night and saving for one year course a French culinary institute. Her apartment block has a standalone two-bed apartment with one sublet to a doctor. The block is a slim and tall block that steps up starting with a living room and kitchen on the ground, a large square bedroom on the second, and a small rectangular bedroom on the third level with remaining floor space as balconies. The garage is in the basement accessed by a driveway and with room for only one car.
Single Mother + Chef’s House
The house of a single mother of an eight-year-old daughter is a series of squares and rectangles linked by a common corridor with a constant skylight. The first square is a living room with a pitched roof. The second is a kitchen and dining has a butterfly [inverted pitched] roof. The third is the mother’s bedroom with a sloping roof where is occasionally invites men and hear her daughter if she walks by to the kitchen. The fourth is a niche where she often hides for a smoke, away from her daughter. And last is the largest as the daughters; bedroom and playroom with a pyramidal roof.

models / domestic personification, hunters

Hunter-Butcher Cabins

A trio of utilitarian cabins arranged in a vertical pyramid. The one on the zenith is the hunter’s cabin with a long look-out terrace and personal space. The lower one on the east is the cabin and personal space of his best friend and partner, the butcher. The final cabin on the west is the business and storage center. The hunter is the supplier of game and the butcher is the consumer and repurposes as meat for the neighborhood to buy.
Snubbed and Shunned Veteran’s Hunting Caravan
Single, military veteran snubbed by his family for having certain sexual orientations, leaves the city and settles in the wild in a caravan. He gets a pension and he hunts for distraction. Marksman.
Lodge of a Hunter in Emotional Convalesce
She lost her husband in a car crash where she was driving and came out unscathed. Bereavement, guilt, and exhausted by society constantly reminding of him, she has exiled away. Fifty percent denial, fifty percent anger, this is her route of convalescing. A series of interconnected huts all elevated high above in the forest, keeping her away from society, enforces her denial. It forms her lookout for game, bringing out her anger. She has become very good at it.
Hunters and their Inn

The hunter and his wife run a hunting inn. The husband is the trainer and the wife is the manager of the inn. The inn is a rectangular silo or watchtower with a collection of regular and irregular shaped rooms for the enthusiasts. Starting with a tall lobby, the rooms vertically interlock, like the image of the urban. They all get the view of the forest around. The lowest rectangular room is the garage with the armory. The top deck is the practice yard.
Analog Gamers’ Den

A cave dug out into a steep hill is a large amorphous dorm with all living and utility spaces built-in. The hunters’ deck is accessed by an internal elevator. The bottom of the elevator starts from the armory, the hearth of the cave, and ends and the viewing deck where the jeep is parked.

models / domestic personification, writers

Journalist-Writer’s Pad

A fifty-year-old journalist retires after being fired for drunken behavior in the workplace. He is a drunk and womanizer but a maestro. He settles for writing in a minimal but luxury bachelor pad. Simultaneously a professor, he stays close to the university, where his charm brings a lot of company back to his lair. The simple rectangular house is glazed on all four sides with the triangular fireplace and the utility chamber projecting above the roofline. He has the money, he is charming, he is a bit old school modernist and he is pompous.
Method Writer’s Exile Hut

A writer engulfed in a screen-play lives in a prison monument to experience and write the psychology of his characters. The screen-play is about the Fentanyl cartel and the asylum starting a new economy to take down society. The triangular silo has only one entrance and a massive oculus on the face to draw in slivers of light.
Cabin of the Woman with a Writer’s Block
A one-hit-wonder writer lives off the privilege of her grandparents’ inheritance. Struggling with a writers’ block, she is the perfect woman version of the retired journalist – excessive drinking, manizer, maybe a bit of weed. Her house is a series of crafter volumes intended to sit, lie, stand and store simultaneously – her architectural vision of the house of the millennial. Maybe she is looking for her next character in the next man she finds at the bar. Her house is one for simultaneous foreplay, play, and work.
Exiled Writer’s Study

A 28-year-old drop out exiles to the countryside to pursue his passion for writing. Unable to afford much, he finds a studio, the clichéd image of a house we draw as children, but squatter, with seven feet ceiling heights, an even cramped attic, small fenestrations. Large eaves allow him to spend enough time outdoors and not feel cramped. He is a waiter in the night shift to make ends meet and lives with his cat, Tatie. His love for melancholy writing is right there in his environment.
Disabled Banker-Turned-Writer’s Villa
A once investment banker loses sensation below the waist after a car crash. He has the money to hire full-time domestic help and lives on the outskirts, depressed. Not allowed to drink, he invests his energies in writing. The villa is a series of square rooms with straight extrusions– the bedroom, living room, dining and kitchen, library, and conservatory. The rooms are linked by a straight corridor and alternatively to the north and south of the corridor with sliding doors.



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