Melany Sun-Min Park on the new domesticity

What does it mean to be “at home” in a context where land and space are both limited and contentious?  Some answers may lie in a new publication released by Melany Sun-Min Park (MDesS ’14): HOME + BOUND: Narratives of Domesticity in Singapore and Beyond, co-edited with Lilian Chee.
The ideals of stability attached to “being at home” are considered retrogressive and antithetical to a milieu that since the post-WWII period has valued change and ongoing adaptation.The essays in the book engage with the notion of domesticity, from the theoretical frameworks of Foucault, Freud, Derrida and Vidler to local sites of varying scales, tropes, (mis)conceptions and antinomies of domesticity.
The survey takes in a Chinese cemetery, Singapore’s public Housing Development Board flats and Improvement Trust flats, its National Day Parade sites, a haunted house, a rural kampong (village), national monuments and a Straits-Chinese patriarch’s mansion in Penang. The authors collectively examine home as a destabilized ideology and a constantly evolving physical construct.
The collection is the inaugural volume in the Architectural Research Monograph series published by the Center for Advanced Studies in Architecture at the National University of Singapore. Dell Upton of UCLA writes, “… the theoretical sophistication of the pieces included in Home + Bound, and the organizing concept, were particularly heartening to me. They showed an ability to apply current ideas in architecture without losing sight of the specifics of life and culture in Southeast Asia.”