Jason Minor

Jason Minor

Chicago, IL, US


Architecture After the End of Work

At its core, the American Dream is about security, comfort and familiarity, as much as it is about aspiration, accomplishment and status.

Welcome to the @brunkslive Memorial Rehab Center for Sensible Self-Promotion -  a self-sustaining collective community for a world in which “brand personality disorder” has reached full maturity. A world that (despite appearances) has an insatiable appetite for something humans continue to desire: community, connection, a sense of a larger mission.

------------------------------ 2080:

Carry Smith is a 24-year old college graduate and a surplus human being. Like most of her peers, Carry was not lucky enough to secure an exclusive assignment to work at Google or NBC Universal. Instead, she was instantly enrolled to receive a Universal Basic Income. Free from the day-to-day stresses of employment, Carry moves to New York and dives deep into a world of self-promotion. As all surplus-ers" receive the same Basic Income, the real currency becomes social status. 

Social media becomes omnipresent in the form of likes and followers and New York City - built two centuries prior on the strength of a manufacturing industry - is now the reddest of the red-hot media environments. Carry - a precocious, intelligent, and somewhat private person - gets quickly exhausted by the compulsion to broadcast, to be on view, and to become popular. 

Eschewing an autonomous vehicle, Carry sets off down the New Jersey Turnpike on foot, arriving sometime later to a strikingly different type of dwelling in the cornfields of Southern New Jersey. A dwelling that portends a rich, immediate, and varied experience for post-work dwellers; a sort of rehab center for sensible self-promotion. Intrigued, Carry walk right in and immediately feels at home.


In order to explain this new New Jersey dwelling, let’s first roll back 50 years to 2017 for some historical context and look at an early example of a post-work character, @brunkslive

Free from salaried work because of a malpractice lawsuit, @brunkslive spends the brunt of his life’s efforts on accumulating status. The site of the dwelling for him is a red-hot site of media production, celebrity, personal stylization, and broadcasting. 

We identify this as the beginning of a trend. Forward from 2017, the dwelling becomes even more of a mediated device with a hierarchical organization: the celebrity and the servants.

Rolling back to the 17th century, we find models of possible alternatives. The French architect du Cercau sketches a collective dwelling organized of four units around a shared central courtyard in his house number 20. The potential of this layout is as a gathering place for small groups of revolving residents. In this model we find a comfortable conceptual middle ground between the communal hunter-gatherer’s living arrangements of thousands of years ago and the individuated living conditions of @brunkslive in 2017.

The du Cercau model is brought to Southern New Jersey as the source material for this new typology of post-work dwelling. But it is edited, with the motivation to engage a complex network of possible dwellers - coders, performers, gardeners, chefs, the sick, the elderly, those that are media-sick, those that are media-shy, or basically anyone that might be in identity crisis. In 2080, aren’t we all in identity crisis? This is a place to work out some of those issues - both collectively and privately.

For the ground floor - the du Cercau model is disaggregated into a free-plan arrangement - freeing the ground for collective programs - including eating, cooking, exercising, education, and entertainment. The dispersed ground results in minimal enclosure - making it easy to come and go. The linear elements give some implied order to arrangement of spaces and to edge definitions of farmlands or gardens. The sustained styling of the embellishments of du Cercau implies some sense of the familiar domestic.

On the upper floor - the form of the du Cercau model is retained, but doubled and rotated - to produce the implication of a double courtyard. The private spaces - of sleep and hygiene - are located on this upper floor with each resident receiving one bed and one shower. The exterior face of the building is edited with balconies of varying depth - allowing a very slight hierarchy to the units. The interior face of the building is completely remade as a screening device. The impulse is to allow the interior of the courts and their balcony access to be performance or voyeur space. But only if or when desired by the inhabitants. The layout has cross-court views and a  relationship between above and below. But the screen is only broken in specific places; a voyeuristic experience very much optional and varied.

There’s a desire to organize the complex in quadrants with there being two axes and a gradient across the courtyard. The north-south axis is a collective-indivudal gradient, with the programming being more patterned for a collective at the south. The east-west axis is a gradient from “mediated" to “immediate". The “mediated" side would include more interference between an inhabitant and their activity and the “immediate" side would include less interference. 

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Status: School Project
Location: Rural New Jersey
Additional Credits: MIT Spring 2017 Option Studio
Visting Professor: Keith Krumwiede