Private Shelters: Teaching Architecture During a Pandemic
Natascha Meuser (ed.)
DOM Publishers, 2021
During the Covid-19 pandemic we have been forced to retreat into private shelters and to question the limits of residential typologies. The villa is an obvious example of such a shelter. It has reemerged as an object of desire, because of the urge to escape the boundaries of our own four walls. Throughout history this typology has been rethought and reinvented by architectural greats who sought to break radically with the tradition of their times. But what does it mean to us to design a villa during a period of isolation and lockdown?
The answer is not clear. The villa has always been both a dream home for clients and a means of expression for architects. It combines architecture’s most primitive function – to create a liveable shelter – with an architect’s endeavour to manifest their ideology in a single building.
During an online design studio held at the Dessau School of Architecture, students from ten countries discussed the identities of the villa and their cultural context. The design of private shelters helped to overcome the paralysis of public life. This publication showcases some of the next generation’s most promising ideas. Moreover, it aims to explore new methods for online teaching, which could serve as a reference for institutions in a post-COVID world.