The domestic intrigue | Miguel Ángel Díaz Camacho

Casa con dos grúas de Alison y Peter Smithson, 1977
House with two derricks of Alison and Peter Smithson, 1977

The contemporary house has turned, among other things, into a department store. The western culture has multiplied the need of cupboards and lumber rooms where to arrange of practical form the whole universe of domestic current accessories: from tool boxes and folding stairs to disguises and dresses of holiday; from bicycles and skates to curtains, towels and comforters; from boxes with toys to inherited furniture that wait for his restoration storing in turn articles for the Christmas decoration, birthday and other celebrations or holidays. A real backstage on the one that has not given himself too many attention in the evolutionary development of the domestic typology. Except exceptions.

In 1977 Alyssum and Peter Smithson present the offer “House with two derricks” 1, attending to the idea of storage as instrument that enables the interior transformation of the domestic space:

“The house with two derricks is thought for a man as me, who sometimes would want to guard easily the things that it does not use in that moment. A man of a family who extracts things on the occasion of a holiday or when someone returns to his house and then it wants to return to guard them. A family to the one that likes to decorate his home” 2.

The installation of two derricks allows the connection of the last plant store with the street and, in turn, with each of the interior stays across a central emptiness that connects all the levels. An assembly (in the image) shows the capacity of transformation also exterior of the house, thanks to the installation of banners, flags, flowers or tapestries: the house like a body and his different coats.

“To extract everything on every station … much in winter, little in summer. To extract everything for the holidays … religious or familiar. To gather it to be renewed, for sadness” 3.

Explosion and implosion. Happiness and sadness. Transformation and discouragement. The house as the theatre itself of the life, with his curtains and his masks, with the sheen of the functions of premiere and the darkness or the silence that demands the introspection of the inhabitant actor4.

The house like the center itself of the existence and his alterations. The house like the real factory of the dreams.

The house and his domestic intrigue.

Miguel Ángel Díaz Camacho. PhD Architect
Madrid. December 2014.
Author of the Parráfos de arquitectura. #arquiParrafos


1. The offer “House with two derricks ” he appeared to the contest Shinkenchicu arbitrated by Peter Cook, obtaining a special prize. To see Japan Architect, December, 1977 and February, 1978; Architectural Design 11-12, 1978; ILA & UD Annual Report 1993-1994; Alison and Peter Smithson. From the house of the future to the today house. Dirk van der Heuvel, Max Risselada, Barcelona, Ediciones Polígrafa 2007.

2. Peter Smithson, on April 6, 2000. Notes of the file A&P Smithson. Published in “From the house of the future to the today house“, Dirk van der Heuvel, Max Risselada, Barcelona, Polígrafa 2007, pág. 296.

3. Íbidem.

4. Actor is interested here in the origin and double meaning of the word, on the one hand as someone who operates or represents a paper (actor – oris, in acting), and for other one as author who establishes and directs his own existence (agere, in doing).

Miguel Ángel Díaz Camacho

Doctor en Arquitectura, Decano de la Facultad de Tecnología y Ciencia UCJC. Presidente de la Asociación Sostenibilidad y Arquitectura,  perteneciente al Consejo Superior de los Colegios de Arquitectos de España. Director de MADC Arquitectos, estudio profesional con premios en concursos nacionales e internacionales, en la actualidad desarrolla proyectos en España y Noruega. Escritor y crítico de arquitectura, es autor de los libros “Párrafos de Arquitectura. Core(oh)grafías” (2016) y “Arquitectura y Cambio Climático” (2018).

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