House and home are words routinely used to describe where and how one lives. This book challenges these predominant definitions and argues that domesticity fundamentally satisfies the human need to create and inhabit a defined place in the world. Consequently, house and home have performed numerous cultural and ontological roles, and have been assiduously represented in scripture, literature, art, and philosophy. This book presents how the search for home in an unpredictable world led people to create myths about the origins of architecture, houses for their gods, and house tombs for eternal life. Turning to more recent topics, it discusses how writers often used simple huts as a means to address the essentials of existence, modernist architects envisioned the capacity of house and home to improve society, and the suburban house was positioned as a superior setting for culture and family. Throughout the book house and home are critically examined to illustrate the perennial role and capacity of architecture to articulate the human condition, position it more meaningfully in the world, and assist in our collective homecoming.
Thomas Barrie, AIA is Professor of Architecture at North Carolina State University. His scholarship focuses on alternative histories of architecture and, in particular, the interrelationship of a culture’s religious beliefs and socio-political agendas, and the communicative and ritual roles of the built environment. He is the author of The Sacred In-Between: The Mediating Roles of Architecture (Routledge, 2010), and Spiritual Path, Sacred Place: Myth Ritual and Meaning in Architecture (Shambhala, 1996), and co-editor of Architecture, Culture, and Spirituality (Barrie, Bermudez, Tabb, Ashegate, 2015).