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The first season of events at Walmer Yard will look at contemporary domesticity and how technology is changing our domestic behaviours.

The home is a fundamental aspect of all our lives. It provides security, shelter, and a place for the everyday activities of life – eating, sleeping, socialising, working, relaxing – to take place. Our homes are tightly tied into our identities, being a place we can shape our environments. They act as a bridge between the private and the social.

But what influence is modern technology having on this? Are we developing a new concept of domestic space? And how is it changing our domestic behaviour?

At Walmer Yard we have a home that is like no other. A group of houses which eschew the impact of modern technologies and invite us to slow down and to contemplate.

The first season of events, entitled Domesticity, will investigate how the way in which we live is changing through offering the chance to slow down and experience. We will critique the established concept of home rather than reaffirming it and question what home means when technology is changing its very nature.

Domesticity

How we live together: a conversation with Fernanda Canales

Tuesday 14 May, 3 – 4pm

The meaning of domesticity can shift from person to person, but what happens when we compare the definition of home in contexts as different as Mexico and the UK?

In this conversation with Keeper of Walmer Yard Laura Mark, the Mexican architect and Royal Academy Dorfman Award finalist Fernanda Canales will explore topics of domesticity and housing through examples of her own work.

From projects such as Béstegui Housing (2019) to Bruma House (2017), her work focusses on the in-between spaces that are neither public nor private.

Canales will also reflect on the architecture and experiences of Walmer Yard within this context and take a closer look at whether an invitation to slow down and contemplate our surroundings is one of the answers to how we ought to live together.

Organised in partnership with the Royal Academy of Arts as part of the RA’s Architecture Awards Week.

Forum: The Grand Domestic Revolution

Thursday 23 May, 7pm – 9pm

Forum is Walmer Yard’s new reading group. Each month a figure from the world of art, architecture, or science will choose a text which participants are encouraged to read. We will then join together to discuss the ideas and issues raised in the text over a glass of wine in one of the living rooms at Walmer Yard.

The first event in this series will see architectural historian and broadcaster Tom Dyckhoff select a text based around our inaugural season’s theme of Domesticity.

He will then join Walmer Yard’s Keeper Laura Mark in conversation as we open up the discussion around this critical reader.

His chosen text, The Grand Domestic Revolution by Dolores Hayden, looks at the history of feminist designs for American homes, neighbourhoods and cities.

The eponymous 1982 publication, looks at the work of a group of American feminists including Melusina Fay Peirce, Mary Livermore, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, who campaigned against women’s isolation in the home and confinement to domestic life as the basic cause of their unequal position in society.

In looking at this group’s plans to transform American neighbourhoods through communal kitchens, housewives’ co-operatives and new building types, Hayden brings to light the economic and spatial contradictions which outdated forms of housing and inadequate community services create for women and for their families.

‘This is a book that is full of things I have never seen before, and full of new things to say about things I thought I knew well. It is a book about houses and about culture and about how each affects the other, and it must stand as one of the major works on the history of modern housing.’
– Paul Goldberger, The New York Times Book Review

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