To Carry Home: A Syncretic Architecture of Re-territorialisation

Salva Shah

Intro Image 2
To Carry Home - the Wanderer and her umbrella

The instant we depart from the place where we supposedly belong, home ceases to exist as a whole entity to return to. It is in this in-completeness, in this uncertain departure and equally unsettling arrival that a hybrid self is situated. This journey is not only of leaving fragments of home and identity behind, but of a constant longing and carrying with.

To dwell and to be mobile have become antithetical ideas for they give rise to community ‘insiders’ and regulated travelling ‘outsiders.’ This thesis aims to challenge the divide between ‘we’ and ‘they’ by creating a third space between exception and assimilation; a space where the familiar and foreign will cohere to settle the traveler in between the right to be a stranger and the right to place and home.

The mobility and hybridity of home is investigated through the narrative of an interstitial being, the Wanderer; the self that embarks on an undetermined journey whilst embodying home and identity in the specific objects she carries. When the Wanderer reaches the point where she must momentarily pause and begin settling, the architecture of the house is specifically transformed in an attempt to reassemble a sense of being at home.1

  1. Stephen Cairns, Drifting: Architecture and Migrancy (London; New York: Routledge, 2004).
Landscape 1

Through the Wanderer’s migrant lens and an analysis of the past houses I have lived in, this thesis proposes two hybrid houses; one located in Kabul, Afghanistan and its counterpart in Auckland, New Zealand. Estranged in their mainstream fabric of domesticity, both hybrids are a delicate but deliberate tangle of cultural, religious and theoretical contradictions between my own values and preferences around home. The hybrid here is not intended as a state exactly in between, but rather a proactive form of change that flourishes and takes over, as migrancy and the domestic realm tentatively pair to create an adaptive and syncretic architecture of re-territorialisation.

Nz Cross Section
New Zealand hybrid home - cross section
Afg Cross Section
Afghanistan hybrid home - winter living cross section
Nz Long Section
Long section
Afg Long Section
Long section
Nz Axos
Axonometric of living spaces in Auckland
Afg Axos
Axonometric of living spaces in kabul