Research Portal

June 6, 2023

A House Deconstructed

Jarzombek, M. & Prakash, V. (2023). A House Deconstructed. Actar Publishers.

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A House Deconstructed book cover


We would like to think that we ‘know’ what goes into making a modern building. But the truth is that no one, not even architects, knows. The OUR [Office for Uncertainty Research] spent three years studying a single, relatively modest modern house located in Seattle, WA. The research focused on four vectors: Atomic Consciousness that dates back to the Big Bang and the earliest Super Novas: Production Consciousness that involves a vast array of ingredients that are combined to make architectural products: Labor Consciousness that spans a wide spectrum of temporal and economic conditions; and Source Consciousness that is multilayered and global in its reach. Though much was learned, it became clear that a huge proportion of what we ‘know’ about the house was unknowable, not because our epistemological instruments aren’t strong enough or calibrated precisely enough, but because things themselves are indeterminate, uncertain. This begs the question about agency. If we are to critique our profession and even improve some of its claims about Sustainability, then we must develop a more robust understanding of the building industry and the sourcing and making of materials. We must even develop a stronger awareness of the history of atoms and how architecture brings that history into a remarkable focus.