M2B4: Autobiographica 

…the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.

We comfort ourselves by reliving memories of protection. Something closed must retain our memories, while leaving them their original value as images. …by recalling these memories, we add to our store of dreams; we are never real historians, but always near poets, and our emotion is perhaps nothing but an expression of a poetry that was lost.

…the house is one of the greatest powers of integration for the thoughts, memories and dreams of mankind. The binding principle in this integration is the daydream. Past, present and future give the house different dynamisms, which often interfere, at times opposing, at others, stimulating one another. In the life of a man, the house thrusts aside contingencies, its councils of continuity are unceasing. Without it, man would be a dispersed being… And always, in our daydreams, the house is a large cradle.

Gaston Bachelard
Poetics of Space





While we continue with the second module’s focus on our memories and cluster of spaces, and their configurations and inter-relations, we will also gather our work from the previous module – memories and creations of simple spaces. The gathering is intended to help us in recognizing the beginnings of our childhood home that we are about to create.


The exercise scheduled for this week-long brief, A Childhood Autobiographic – is graphic representation of intuitively sutured individual memories, associations and imagination. 

The process will be interspersed with conversations with tutors and peers and iterations of the work as per feedback and insights.

The brief will be closed in the Unit Review on the Monday following the scheduled week.

Regular update of the Reflective Blog on ar2031.wordpress.com is a mandatory requirement of the studio. You may choose to blog daily or weekly; however, run a group reading session on the draft before posting.

Reference outputs shared in the brief are only suggestive.

EXERCISE: A Childhood Autobiographic

Format: 10# A3; Medium: Multimedia (Digital or Analogue) Collage Interspersed with Text

Re-membering necessitates some glue of fiction. Create a graphic novella of your childhood memories. Primarily use your time-travelling works created for other briefs – My Body, My Room, Observed Places, My Secret Place, Archaeology of Memories, My Neighborhood, My House, and the Self-Portraits, Portraits, Body Studies and Spatial Profiles. You may alter these works – perhaps by adding or removing or changing it – with little effort, but do not recreate them. It is not necessary that you include all previous works in your visual narrative. While the story may ask for particular works to be included, some works, on the other, will demand that the story move another way. In addition, new work may have to be created as a device for interlude, for hemming or simply for suturing. Although text – excerpts from your blog or new writing – can be used in the form of narration, description or characters’ speech and so on, keep it limited and secondary to the graphic content. Making the graphic novella will help you closely follow your thoughts & memories as they unfold sequentially, while simultaneously tracing the skips and jumps of the mind across time and space. It can keep you from getting entangled in the demand of written language. You can also exercise the choice of spanning across methods and media to overcome limitations in skill and time. However, as Shams of Tabriz says, “Don’t go with the flow, be the flow.” (The Forty Rules of Love, Elif Shafak) 

Can we imagine architecture as we remember our house? Not as X nos. of bedrooms with Y nos. of toilets and a hall and a kitchen; instead as the smell, sound, texture, warmth, games, loneliness, thrill, fear and light & darkness. While you remember your formative years from a decade ago, you also remember how life has changed over the past year. How have routines and rituals of work & leisure, creative & mundane and personal and public been disturbed, reinforced or reconfigured? How has the architectural frame responded, if it has? Or, how would you have it respond? What is common and what is different in the two lives separated by a decade?

This autobiographic is your personal brief for the design of your childhood home; a compilation of the myriad memories of yourself with your family & companions and spaces; a chronicle of stories that were triggered during the past 6 weeks but are yet to find voices. Imagination is as important as authenticity when finding voices for stories. 

Within this autobiographic brief give space for the program – what you wish to include in the house – represented through a concept map which not only makes the components explicit but also shows their relative positions, sizes and inter-relationships. Use the 15 analytical filters to structure and populate the program concept map; perhaps all may not be of help, but we can try.

Autobiographica clockwise from top – Shravya M, Ayushi G & Omya S, S21, AR2031


The exercise defined in this brief are intended to elicit responses to the following questions:

  • How is the creative process informed by experiences and memories?
  • What is the relationship between body, memory, emotion and space?

With diligent and intense engagement with the exercises, it should become possible to:

  • Recognizethe relationship between body, memory, feeling and space
  • Analyze the context of a project in terms of inhabitation, Spatial Experience, Components and Hierarchies
  • Evaluate the transformation/ growth/ expansion in contextual parameters
  • Formulate a conceptual framework to aid design processes
  • Apply a kit of parts which include elements and dimensional modules for designing spaces 

Besides documenting the processes and recording its highs & lows, it’s necessary to reflect on the questions & learning outcomes mentioned above and include consequent deliberations in the Reflective Blog.

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