Experiments in the realm of housing actually enjoying success or not is something decided by everyday life, which does not begin until the first residents have moved in. The innovative aspirations of the architects—and this is the point of departure for the explorative questions posited by the Housing Models exhibition—cannot be the sole determining factor for overall quality. For this reason, each of the eleven selected international housing structures must have been inhabited for at least two years, so that marks of usage and appropriation are already evident. We asked the residents to take stock of their lives in the constructed experiments: the images for the slide projections were taken by the inhabitants themselves, and the explanatory statements have been excerpted from related conversations.
The selection of projects from various continents facilitates insight into specific cultural and social conditions pertaining to experimentation in housing. It spans from a Chilean development in impoverished Iquique to Dutch low-cost terraced housing in Roosendaal, to even include a Japanese housing project in Tokyo where residents have opted to live in white steel cuboids that they must exit in order to enter the bathroom. Models specially crafted for the exhibition by students from the Vienna University of Technology and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna put the various spatial programs on display.
Thus eleven test beds were created where housing architecture was subjected to an everyday-life assessment. Architectural experimentation meets lived-in everyday life.