Economie House

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Virginia Tech


This thesis inquires into the nature of economy and its connection with the architecture of the house. Economy is a slippery term. In its original sense, the word had more to do with philosophy than finance. It raised issues of necessity, hierarchy, government, and happiness. Aristotle distinguished chrematistics, the art of getting wealth, from economy, the art of household management.Vitruvius, the first architectural theorist, offered a differing interpretation of the word, and included it as one of his six principles of architecture. Henry David Thoreau revisited Aristotleâ s ideas and invented a new, solitary economy. Both he and Aristotle emphasized that the purpose of economy is to meet material needs with sufficiency rather than surfeit. Economie House explores these ideas architecturally. On an imaginary site a perfect red cube sits on a concrete platform. Steel frames support a translucent, gabled roof. The cube opens in various ways to reveal the machines that serve manâ s biological needs. Closed, the cube suggests the limits of material goods as contributions to the good life.



cube, house, economy, chrematistics