A house provides us shelter and safety, but when does a house become a home? Home does not merely provide shelter from the elements, privacy from the public sphere and a comfortable bed to sleep in, but more so, it is an object of possession. Your home is distinctly yours and therefore has personal, sentimental value. Home embodies a personal connection to a house, a sense of belonging. In these past few weeks, we have gotten to know our homes pretty well – the cracks and the imperfections. The shading of the sun on the walls at certain times of day. The sound of neighbours ascending their stairs. This sentiment has deepened. Yet, at times when you grasp the absurd reality of the current corona crisis, the home becomes its literal and objective self again, the ‘house’; a block built up from walls, confining and static. With the rise of the pandemic and the fall of public space, the function of the house has changed and so too has the meaning of ‘home’.
Through this issue of Bnieuws, we explore the ways in which Home has changed. What defines the space where we once felt so much belonging in a time when some of its fundamental characteristics have been challenged? Could this pandemic be considered ‘The New Normal,’ an idiom that has been used frequently these past couple of weeks? Chun Kit investigates in his article What if normal is dead? on page 33 the potential need for a new residential typology, one where all exterior public functions become decentralised and localised within our homes. One might hope that this is a drastic measure to a temporary problem, however, permanent or not, the ‘house’ has been redefined as a foundational structure in society; most former outdoor activities have been interiorised including work, the cinema, sports, and as we all know, academics.
As our collective academic home of BK City has also closed, Aimee’s interview with Michael van der Tas gives insight into the preparations of the building readying itself to welcome her new residents in the coming academic year on page 03.
Our pen pal Margot explores these minimal square meters through text and imagery in her article about the Delftse stoep, in An Ode to the Pavement, page 10. Describing how the boundaries between private and public, the home and the street, have been blurred; the trottoir has suddenly become a layered space of activity – a playground for children, an office for the parents, a podium for a spontaneous opera performance.
Meanwhile Frederico and Christopher provide two sides of the same coin, encapsulating the essence of what it is to be in lockdown, and live in the strange new environment that we still call home. On page 07 Christopher dives into the idea of Home having become a contextless prison or merely, a house, and on page 24 Federico indulges in the humours and surprising sentiments provided by the online public interactions that we now endure.