2. Real World

How to live in a small room with five strangers for six months.

Day two of reflections on Michael Sorkin’s list of 250 things every architect should know. “Find out what happens when people stop being polite, and start being real” – The Real World intro. What is there to learn? Boundaries, conflict resolution, a greater appreciation for solitude even when found wandering a city. I’ve never done this, but the closest I came was a semester in Barcelona with five friends/classmates in a two bedroom loft. (The sketch was done from memory and the image was dug up off of facebook.)

002 Barcelona Apt 002 BCN APT

We all hated each other at some point but avoided any traumatic fighting and may have seen more of the city thanks to cramped domestic quarters. Architecture is an inherently collaborative field and I have played a diplomat or arbiter or therapist for colleagues in the past (and vice versa). If ‘a house is a machine for living in’ then an apartment is a machine for living in cities. That apartment in Barcelona housed six of us far more efficiently (spatially) than any place I’ve lived since, and the realtor brochure listed it as ‘sleeps 11.’

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