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Stuff and space in the home: An understanding of material possessions to inform spatial storage design

Marco, Elena; Williams, Katie; Oliveira, Sonja; Sinnett, Danielle


Elena Marco-Burguete
PVC, Head of the College of Arts, Technology and Environment

Katie Williams
Professor and Research Centre Director


In the field of architecture, there has been little research on how the accumulation of material possessions is impacting on space for living in the home. There has been little understanding of what households own, collect, store and dispose of, nor the implications this might have for domestic space design, especially that for storage. Yet, householders can have their quality of life, well-being and happiness negatively affected by the ‘stuff’ they keep in their homes. This study presents a critical and reflective enquiry into the relationship between stuff and housing design. By better understanding the nature of ‘stuff’ and space in UK houses, they can be better designed. The enquiry uses an explorative and reflective multi-methodological approach combining design research with a sensory ethnography, which is augmented with architectural probes. The findings present a unique graphical exploration of how the design of domestic space has changed overtime and captures the intellectual agenda of the house as a ‘container’ and the household contents, the ‘stuff’, as the ‘contained’. It develops with practising architects innovative housing design solutions focused on storage. The study concludes that the design of homes could better support inhabitants’ quality of life and well-being if space for storage was better understood and considered.


Marco, E., Williams, K., Oliveira, S., & Sinnett, D. (2021, April). Stuff and space in the home: An understanding of material possessions to inform spatial storage design. Paper presented at Housing Studies Association Annual Conference

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name Housing Studies Association Annual Conference
Start Date Apr 14, 2021
End Date Apr 15, 2021
Deposit Date Apr 20, 2021
Publicly Available Date Apr 21, 2021
Keywords housing; storage; material possessions; architecture
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