CLIENT: Anyone, maybe you

SITE: Typical suburban lots shown, but not limited to this

PROGRAM: Modular housing system based on twenty ft. ISO standard shipping containers and miscellaneous infill systems

SIZE: Varies

COST: $20,000/container (estimated)

COMPLETION: Fall 2000 (design)

NOTES: Twenty ft. ISO standard containers and proprietary fittings provide primary structure with infill between them, varying according to local capabilities and economies COLLABORATORS: UCLA School of Architecture: Dora Epstein, Robert Ley, Kevin Gotsch, Matt Gillis, Franco Rosetti, Allesandra Gotsch

PROJECT TEXT: In an age of unstable family structures and shifting power relations, the agility of modern domesticity is tested. Where the global and the local are merged through high-speed communications, where politics are reduced to brands and logos, and where technological innovation is produced in obsolescence, the responsibility for domesticity is thrown back upon the user to spatially express her own understandings of domestic traditions and transactions. In such an age, overt architectural authority is relinquished.

In such an age, the PRO/con Package Home emerges as an apotheosis, as extreme canniness. From the PRO/con Package Home website, a consumer chooses among different corporate-specific activity-oriented pro(gram) con(tainers), or “packages”—loosely organized along the lines of traditional architectural program divisions but also departing from the coarseness of that grid as new markets are sensed and new niches are filled. The consumer can relax and listen to music in the Bose sound system package, cook a meal in a package by SubZero, or enjoy countless activities in packages from Soloflex, Quake, the NBA, even Playboy. Once ordered through the website and detailed by the individual companies, PRO/con Packages are consolidated and distributed through the agency of the existing intermodal shipping container industry infrastructure. The website serves as a clearinghouse for all phases of the home procurement and delivery process, from the initial uncommitted shopping experience to the ultimate financing and infill construction subcontracts. Because each package can be either leased (leaving open the possibility to upgrade) or owned (allowing for secondhand economies), traditional concepts of home-ownership are rejected in favor of technological adaptability and affordable affluent mobility. Because each container wears a corporate logo, publicity of the interior becomes a matter of community discourse. And because each container behaves as a fully realized appliance-environment, the in-between space, left idle and without program, challenges a range of exteriorities and interiorities—and exchanges the performance of affect for the signification of effects.

As apotheosis, as customization without affect, the PRO/con Package Home produces fulfillment as it produces authorial dissatisfaction. Although assembled from standard twenty-foot shipping containers, the perfect generic of multinational conglomeration, each PRO/con Package Home is tailored according to individual consumer choices and budgets. Although linked to a global infrastructure of assembly, shop-fabrication, and transportability, each PRO/con Package Home is continuously redeploying its relation to the street and the neighborhood as new containers are added, upgraded, or discarded. And, although bricked-together orthogonally, each PRO/con Package Home is comprised of both programmatic micro-environments and non-programmatic but active in-between spaces, postulating an architecture of multiple spatial and cultural fluidities. A PRO/con Package Home is open-ended precisely because of its specificity. Production-line concatenation, prodigal consolidation, promiscuous consolation—the PRO/con Package Home is radically present.