When Freddy Mercury burst into the squalid sitting room of a British terrace—dressed as a housewife and singing, “I Want to Break Free”— he was protesting the intrinsic oppression embedded in domestic interiors. The music video depicts a working class woman struggling to escape labor relations and gender roles prescribed by her home and its objects. A free interior produces a free family and society. That was certainly what many modernists believed; though, by conflating open plans with indeterminacy they failed to understand the impossibility of separating functionality from economic rationalism. Glass House is a proposal for a collectively owned housing block in London. This rational, abstract, inhuman aesthetic continues the history of the British terrace house as a mechanism for social formation. In negotiating the relationship between the city, the collective, and the individual, Glass House asks, “What is the role of the individual in the home? What is the role of the household in the state? How is sovereignty different from freedom, and where are the two located in communal inhabitation?”
REAL is an architectural and cultural institute founded by Jack Self. Its activities include events, exhibitions, publications, design, and architecture. It promotes social equality and examines conditions of ownership, capital, and labour. REAL publishes Real Review and previously curated the British Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale.