An architectural traverse
the idea-reality connection. Argument for social housing
The assertion that housing propagates the mixing and division of socio- economic classes in cities constitutes a significant portion of studies on socio-spatial segregation and integration. Of the two themes, studies portray housing as being responsible for driving more division than mixing. One of these such housing is social rental housing (SRH), which although designed as a vehicle for integration has often resulted in ostracization of the occupants and even of the housing development (Pendall 1999, Tighe 2010). While countrywide statistics demonstrating this ostracization and consequent opposition is not typically documented, cities around the world; in Australia, Canada, United States, and Europe show rising percentages across themes known to prompt opposition. As a social asset; we hypothesize that the problem with housing, specifically as it pertains to facilitating integration for the poor, is one of transference; that is, how can a bridge between ideas for socialization and the realization of integrated communities be effected through the design of SRHR It is our submission that a review of situations where attempts at transference are evident is necessary to understand its process. In this present paper, the intention of the authors is not to prove their hypothesis but to test it by making connections between several elements - education, educational model, and the role of the architect - as an indication of the complexity of the issue, and designing a conceptual/flow model to reveal the forces at play in the transference process. Therefore, while we discuss the aforementioned elements responsible for the mismatch of architectural idea and outcome, our focus is on architectural practice with respect to the transference of the architect’s social intentions into lived reality in the resulting building and its community. By deploying literature investigation into intellectual posturing, and best practices, we discuss two case studies (Tete En L’air and Hatert Housing) that hold promise for the future of successful transference. Initial reviews indicate that the motive for design for these projects was not solely for the purposes of providing accommodation and comfort for its inhabitants but for mixing of socio-economic levels and neighbourhood integration, which was ultimately achieved. Alongside case study review, this paper considers some philosophies of pragmatism in design - specifically those initiated by John Dewey, with the hope that his suggestions could constitute a basis for the actions implemented in the cases.