Architecture was born as a response to the human being's need to take refuge and protect themselves from the environment. From its emergence, a tangible link is created between the human being and the world that surrounds him. It is through this bond that we begin to transform our habitat to build a new world within the existing world.
Architecture is the materialization of human relationships. The intrinsic link between architecture and social relations is evidenced in the way in which we experience space. This materialization begins in the home, which is the social nucleus of people and where their relationship with the environment begins. Even so, in this one there are inhospitable spaces such as the service areas, and especially the service rooms. It seems that these spaces are not designed to be habitable, quite the opposite. As architects we have the responsibility to design a decent space for all users of a home. We must not encourage social discrimination that is denied in our society but becomes evident in the presence of exclusionary spaces in domestic architecture.
Architecture may not be able to resolve the social crisis in which we live by itself, but an architect can encourage the exercise of a dignified life without having an antagonistic impact on the social pyramid. We think we have advanced as a society but there are certain practices that are manifested in a segregated architecture and expose our society so divided.
Through the architectural space, the behavior of a group of individuals can be regularized if, when projecting, it is based on premises and an order rooted in social relations. The institutionalization of space has been corrupted to the point of influencing human relations. Before designing a space, it is treated as if it were already predetermined, either by the available area, the orientation or its function. But it is our social relations that determine space as well, or it is the space that determines how the interaction between individuals will take place. The two must go hand in hand to create more humanized spaces.
The spaces intended for service, including utility rooms, are inhospitable places, devoid of light, ventilation and in some cases privacy. They have been designed this way because we believe that they are and should be. There are “server spaces” and “served spaces”. When we design, we do it under different criteria or assumptions depending on whether what we are projecting is a service area or not. The problem is that we forget that these spaces come to life the moment the user experiences them, and sometimes we are not only users but inhabitants. We subordinate the users to the categories of the spaces and they result in "served users" and "serving users".
Before the 17th century, when the corridor was introduced in the house, the spaces were connected one through the other. The architectural plans of this type of housing distribution reflect how proximity and proximity to other people were values and principles in daily life. The corridor appears in the house as a circulation for the servants so that they do not break into the family's activities. A line was drawn that caused spatial and therefore social segregation.
Some people from the upper middle class insist on believing that domestic workers should be thankful for having a place to live no matter what conditions it has to be in. It is a discriminated group and although it is denied it can be verified in the derogatory vocabulary that is used daily to stigmatize them. In general, they cannot use the spaces reserved for the employing family. For example, they cannot use the bathroom of the house, nor the one for visitors, share a table and in certain houses they cannot enter and leave through the main door but through a service door. It is a reality because it is something tolerated by society. In architecture, the way in which society lives and the social fabric is exhibited is specified.
“The problem of the site or location is posed for men in terms of demography; and this last problem of human placement poses not simply whether there will be enough room for man in the world - a problem that is, after all, quite important - but also the problem of what relations of proximity, what type of storage, circulation, identification, classification of human elements must be taken into account in this or that situation to reach this or that end. We are in a time when space is given to us in the form of relationships of location.” (Foucault, 1967)
Space has been treated as a product that can be modified, exploited and sold. We have forgotten that our relationship with the world begins in space and as these relationships develop, our identity also develops. Our human dignity is found in the recognition of the other, so we have to recognize that we are all worthy beings with the right to live in a worthy space. The 20th century in Mexico was a time of transformation and evolution of housing with the aim of improving people's living conditions. This evolution is not over and we still have a lot to resolve so that we all live in a fairer society. Fernanda Canales affirms that "housing is not only the laboratory of the intimate sphere, but also the basis for the formation of cities and the relationships between their inhabitants." Housing is the core of the social fabric and from it we can create inclusive spaces that can be translated into our society.
Canales, Fernanda. “¿Nuestra Casa?” en Vivienda Colectiva En México. El Derecho a La Arquitectura, Gustavo Gili, 2017, 7–12.
Evans, Robins. “Figures, Doors and Passages.” En Translations from Drawing to Building and Other Essays, The MIT Press, 1997, 70–79.
Foucault, Michel. “Espacios Otros.” Praxis Libros, upcommons.upc.edu/bitstream/handle/2099/425/P005p.pdf.
Ortiz Struck, Arturo. “Desde La Arquitectura, La Discriminación.” Nexos, Abril 2012, www.nexos.com.mx/?p=14759.