Strangers at Home

Daniel Movilla Vega

Lenart Holm, ‘This is how it is thought that the family home of the 1960s will look’; floor plan for a three-room apartment, exhibition ‘Without Borders’, 1957. Graphic by Daniel Movilla Vega.

Strangers at home: A study of how volunteer housing support for asylum seekers in Sweden is reshaping domestic architecture.  

This architectural research project examines the interconnection between Swedish non-institutionalized housing provision for asylum seekers and everyday domestic practices. Though barely investigated, these emergent housing modalities bridge a gap in the provision of accommodation for adolescents facing relocation orders to other municipalities. Since 2015, volunteer homes in northern Sweden multiplied and underwent major architectural transformations to provide these youths with stable housing. The spatial transformations in the affected dwellings push the limits of architectural design and raise critical questions about the resilience of current Swedish housing design recommendations for the construction of ‘the Swedish home’.

By translating spatial, material and social surveys into a 1:1 domestic prototype, the project contributes unprecedented analysis of the implications domestic space has on everyday life, shows how housing design relates to societal circumstances, and provides an interdisciplinary framework to revise the design and regulation of domestic space.