Public Housing, Domestic Objects

A School of Art Architecture and Design Session hosted by CUBE.

About this event

Everyday objects and routines in the domestic sphere are evidential of architecture coproduced through occupancy. They offer insights into an otherwise hidden private realm. 

This is particularly true in the context of Singapore’s public housing. Here, domestic spaces, objects, and rituals construct an alternative affective narrative of state-procured housing. In this seminar, Lilian Chee and Marianna Janowicz will explore the research potential of such objects and routines in public housing.

Janowicz’s examination of laundry drying outside, in the often problematic, liminal space between inside and outside, allows another angle onto the feminist argument of ‘the private being political’ and opens up questions around notions of propriety, cleanliness, order, and family politics. It also reframes the home as a site of labour, attempting to carve out space for reproductive work and its sites within architectural history. Chee’s research explores the limits of order and the necessity of invention in high-rise living. Drawing evidence from domestic practices, including the keeping of cats, claiming the shared corridor as storage space, and establishing new routines in increasingly divergent home-based work, she argues for an imaginative and exuberant reconceptualisation of high-rise living.


Lilian Chee is Associate Professor at the Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore, where she co-leads the Research by Design Cluster. Her research connects embodied experience and affective evidence with architectural representation and feminist politics. Her award-winning film collaboration 03-FLATS (2014) has screened in 16 major cities. Her current book projects are Architecture and Affect (Routledge), and Remote Practices: Architecture at a Distance (Lund Humphries), and she is co-directing a series of short films: Objects for Thriving (2022). Her forthcoming research explores the intersection of home-based work practices with domesticity through an affective-feminist perspective. 

Marianna Janowicz is an architect, researcher and member of feminist design collective Edit. Her project about foraging and rights to land was selected for the main exhibition at Oslo Architecture Triennale in 2019, her writing has been widely published. She currently works as research assistant at London Metropolitan University and associate lecturer at Newcastle University.

With Edit, she has worked on the 2021 exhibition "How We Live Now. Reimagining spaces with Matrix Design Cooperative". She also co-directed and co-produced a short film titled "Laundry Day" currently being shown at MAXXI in Rome.


Edwina Attlee teaches Critical and Contextual Studies in the School of Art, Architecture and Design, London Metropolitan University, and is also a Lecturer at the Bartlett School of Architecture. She is the author of Strayed Homes: Cultural Histories of the Domestic in Public (Bloomsbury, 2021) and wrote an audio tour of the Laundry Room for McSweeney's.


Image credit: Lin Derong, 2017

Laundry drying in an external corridor


Date/time Wednesday 6 April 2022, from 1pm to 2pm BST
Book ticket Registration ended
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Public Housing, Domestic Objects

Hosted by the Centre for Urban and Built Ecologies (CUBE) and chaired by Edwina Attlee, this research seminar explores spaces of public housing through domestic objects and labour with speakers Lilian Chee and Marianna Janowicz.

AAD Sessions