Nine Homes of the Land Surveyor

Harvard GSD Thesis 

the question of architecture is … the taking place in space. It invents something which didn’t exist beforehand and yet at the same time there is the inhabitant, man or God, who requires the place prior to its invention or causing it. Therefore, one doesn’t quite know where to pin down the origin of the place.

— Jacques Derrida

Architecture is a desire where its origins are at once imagined but remain elusive.

Unlike the permanent stable house, “Home is where the heart is,” a space in the mind, a fabric beyond the built, physical, finite house, “a place that shelters daydreaming and protects its dreamer.” Home is always on the move, oscillating between nostalgia and uncanny. Nostalgia is an accumulation of memories into a place; uncanny is the doubts towards that place. Home does not offer reassuring familiarity; it provides everyday needs but departs from the norms. It contains memories but asks for a different way of remembering.

Home is completely incomplete, a starting point of departure——Architecture that liberates.

The story narrates the wandering life of an imagined Land Surveyor*, combining memories and dreams of temporal stays into nine abodes in different landscapes. It questions the notions of self and the singular archetypal home.

*The Land Surveyor is a person who roams, roves, and wanders around to determine the distribution and allotment of land. Prior to its division and demarcation by borders and boundaries, the land remains a smooth space, a vast unknown mass. The Land Surveyor’s homes precede properties and ownership; his movements across landscapes are free from the concept of paths and roads. No matter how long he stays, the Land Surveyor is never indifferent to his immediate landscapes, nor do specific places determine his identity. He is the precedent of the nomadic subject, whose identity remains floating, shifting, overlapping, or multiplying with his surroundings and belongings. He is always becoming. The land surveyor measures and records. For things beyond measurements, he simply records.

Dunes Workshop © 2023