Graduate Diploma Design Project, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
‘I used to love watching the transformation of your settee when the time came for its loose covers to be washed… This week I’ve been making a loose cover, for the hedge in my front garden. In relation to the hedge, my loose cover has thermal properties – it’s part of a set of things like tea-cosies, bed-socks, hot water bottle covers, and blankets. My loose cover has made the transition from decorative expedience to nurturing ‘cosy’.’
Letter to Gran – 5th November 2001
What began as a critique of Part L of the Building Regulations led to designing a system of ‘clothing’ as ‘retrofit’ to my home in a draughty London terraced house. With a willing grandmother on board as correspondent, I developed a system of internal/external layers through the key expertise of a Second World war housewife in areas of domestic energy-saving and dressmaking. Like clothes, these layers act at a range of scales, each performing a specific function yet working together as an ensemble. The ensemble is subject to seasonal/diurnal cycles of DIY adaptation (folding, stitching, rolling, buttoning…) that both reflect and affect patterns of occupation within the home. While labour-intensive, this system aims to demonstrate the benefits of transforming the home from a place of consumption to a place of production. Its principles are presented in manual format: patterns/instructions for a prototype indicate potential for adaptation, improvisation, user control/choice/expression, and aim to promote discussion, invention and further exchange of ideas.