The basic idea of a home is shelter and a safe environment for a family. Whether it's raining, storms, hail or the sun shining, it's the place to retreat to. Home has had this meaning for humankind since agricultural society. However, with the change of technology, lifestyle, work and social life throughout history, the home has changed physically. It went from a public place in society (archaic time) to a place for privacy (industrial time), where each family lives on its own. Now in the 21st century, also called the information society, the concept of home is still developing.

Home is starting to play a more central role in people's lives. With new forms of working and living, more time is spent at home, made possible by new technologies.

ICT and other information technologies are developing exponentially, and looking at today's technologies, ICT already seems to integrate into our daily lives. Many homes make room for devices such as TVs, laptops, monitors, game consoles, etc. These new technologies are all connected to the internet and home network. They influence our social behaviour; the systems in a home are being revised and will probably lead to a new design and understanding of home in the 21st century.

At the moment, the home is seen as a private place, but it is beginning to look like the traditional boundaries of the home are changing, making the home more public than it used to be. This social change is further deepened by the current epidemic, in which the use of video communication has become indispensable. Dwellings are being expanded by giving them multiple activities, and spaces have various meanings. New activities enabled by technology, are taking place in today's home, such as video education, video work, yoga classes, shopping, etc., using technology.

If I were to describe my current situation, my home is poorly equipped for video communication. During my video education, I often hear or see people poorly, usually because of the current acoustics and lighting conditions in my room. But also my current environment sometimes does not have access to the internet or power for my equipment. For successful integration of video communication in a home, I would change it’s  technical and architectural design criteria, taking the developments in home working and home education into account.

In our current situation, it would be ideal to be able to separate the domestic space in question into a public digital space and an offline private space. The development of video communication is leading to the disappearance of offline private spaces. To take an example; in the situation of the telephone, private space was still possible as only audio is shared. Now that there is video communication, a new kind of space is being introduced, which could resemble a public digital space, (a space where everyone can see and hear each other in a used to be private space).

The home is not a simple place to design. For architects, a home can be designed differently for each family. For every home there are different activities, efficiency etc., this is determined by the traditions, but also ethical and moral values of a house. To introduce a public digital space in the new home, new design steps are needed in the field of architecture.  

Today's - mixture of public digital and private space in home (left), tomorrow's - chosen public digital spots enhanced with private space in home (centre) and future - a designed public digital space in home (right).

As a designer of this new home, the characteristics of offline private space and public digital spaces could be taken into account. This new dimension is the beginning of the unique character of the home of the 21st century. Have you already given thought to this new character?

Different spots designed with perfect light and acoustics, where no interference exists, a glare of sunlight or a disturbing background. These places could also be integrated into everyday spaces, think of the living room, the flexibility and ease of use of video communication could be significantly increased by these public digital design interventions.

More focused on privacy, the everyday spaces should not be interrupted by the public digital spaces. Separate rooms are formed in home, the size of a closet, where a physical barrier separates the public digital spaces from your private home.

It won't take long before this becomes a topic of conversation in architecture. I assume a long-awaited necessity for the digital future. So start thinking about it!