The intimacy | Jorge Meijide

Étant donnés, 1946–1966, Marcel Duchamp. Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The intimacy

For already a certain time I am turning him at about the intimacy. This slippery concept that it has to see with our sphere, since it would define Sloterdijk[1], more internal and that we preserve of the eager curiosity of the world that surrounds us. The intimacy is confused often with the privacy. Both are different concepts. We might say that the privacy constitutes the sphere inside the one that is that of the intimacy and is, therefore, exterior to this one.

The intimacy is a complex, diffuse and ambiguous concept where they are, or is the simplest of all … It it is for trying to delimit the fragile borders that we construct between our interior being and the exterior world, between me and others. A border that is so diffuse as transparent and evanescent simultaneously that lasts and impenetrably. But it is a border, a skin, necessary, to that we resort more often than we think. It is in certain way our last line of defense.

The intimacy and the privacy move in slippery areas that are in the habit of being overlapped and getting confused. The privacy can depend on the manipulation our physical environment, is in our exterior, in relation with the immediate environment; the intimacy is in our interior and therefore less accessible and operable. For the first one it is in the habit of being enough to close a door or to traverse a curtain, for the second one it is possible that it is enough to close only the eyes or to dream …

Investigations of the psyche separate for these things it is in the habit of to being always good to resort to the definitions. And this way the Royal Academy says to us of both:


1. f. Intimate friendship.

2. f. Spiritual zone intimate and reserved of a person or of a group, specially of a family.


1. f. Area of the private life that is had right to protecting of any interference.

The truth is that the thing does not seem to be not conclusive at all. A reservation and it protects other one and both include the individual and/or a group. The two speak to us about an area limited to the person and/or to his nearby, very nearby environment. Both speak to us about a sphere inside another sphere. We live in a world of spheres. With the intimacy we enter the spiritual area, something personally near to the core of the being. The intimacy understands that one that cannot go out of the borders of our being and to be, therefore, personal and intransferible; the privacy on the other hand can imply to second or third persons, is a slightly more wide area. Anyhow, the area in that we are interested and that differentiates the intimate thing of the private thing is not the etymological one but the fenomenológico.

Intimacy and privacy meet reflected with major or minor intensity in the domestic area. The house is the architectural excellent area and theatre of the life. Between his walls it has developed and evolved the familiar life, the common one and personnel. From Laugier’s supposed original cabin, origin of the whole architecture, up to the tecnificado and modern diffuse already almost virtual space, the house has been the permanent scene of the evolution of the customs of the man, and therefore it has been shaped also by them. The evolution of the social protocols, modes and manners, uses, cultures and hygienic customs they have marked the history and development of the house so much since it it has done with the concept of intimacy – privacy.

When the crowned medieval heads or his adjacent nobility, they were receiving in his private rooms, principal stay be read, they were not sharing our current concept of the intimate thing. Apparently, and pardon for the image, was habitual that the monarch, and of there down in the protocol, was completing the matters in hearing while it was doing his more intimate corporal needs; that one could manage to be considered to be a certain honor granted to the most nearby and was a confidence sign. It was not a question of intimacy, concept that by those times was not very developed and therefore little had in account – the Illustration had to come to return the importance to the individual and her to begin with to value the personal factor and his independence of the rest of the mass-, if not that rather it had to see with the customs and with certain nonchalance in the questions of personal hygiene; sew both that with the time it has finished for transforming completely the domestic space, his stays and the use that of them we do.

The Industrial Revolution supposed an enormous event to all the levels and the industrialization that it brought with it facilitated and I believe new manners in the domestic life, and therefore in the questions of intimacy and privacy. The creation of the first initiatives of social housing, of impulse deprived initially, and of new you design hygienists, they gave one I overturn to the living conditions in community -that initially they were mere subhuman accumulations- and they helped to the appearance of new specific stays to every use. The life deprived inside every housing now differs from the life of the community. They begin new manners and customs which evolution comes to the present day.

The relation between the domestic space and the privacy is dense and it is enough to resort to our manners of life inside and out of him to see how diverse it is. The uses and customs, not only those that they have to see with the intimacy and the privacy and the evolution of the domestic space have gone long time of the hand and it is difficult to untie them. The evolution of both has gone at par and his observation and study they are quite less boring. It is interesting to observe since they have gone being influenced mutually.

The history of the architecture has treated the evolution of the intimate space when less a secondary way. The architecture generally has preferred being catalogued by styles or trends, by epochs, by architects, or by movements or manifests, but he has forgotten the relation of the inhabitant with his more nearby architectural environment, the second domestic skin and his evolution. This one is a history that joins intimately the man with the architecture and that it affects directly to the use that it does of her and to his perception and behavior. We would make remember it, at least, well.

jorge meijide . architect

a coruña. december 2013


[1] Esferas I: Burbujas. Microesferología, Peter Sloterdijk, Biblioteca de Ensayo, Editorial Siruela, 2003.

Arquitecto por la ETSA de A Coruña desde 1991. Colabora en el estudio de Juan Navarro Baldeweg entre 1991 y 1992. Máster de proyectos integrados por la fundación camuñas, madrid 1992. A la vuelta A Coruña se incorpora al estudio de su padre, Carlos E. Meijide Calvo con el que trabaja hasta 2001. Desde 2004 hasta 2009 colabora con los arquitectos Patricia de Marichalar y Fernando Martínez. En el año 2009 forma, junto con Patricia de Marichalar meijidedemarichalar arquitectos.

Desde 2014 trabaja en solitario colaborando con estudios y arquitectos amigos. Es profesor de proyectos arquitectónicos en la Escuela Técnica superior de Arquitectura de A Coruña desde 1997; es tutor de proyecto fin de carrera y ha sido presidente del tribunal de PFC. Colabora con blogs y publicaciones de arquitectura.

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