Domesticity and Leisure | Birth and Death / East End Newcastle, NSW

Team: Richard Eastman, Eden Wilson, Max Suciu Gleeson, Gabriellle Colthorpe

Tutor: Maria Cano Dominguez

We can state the obvious. That Domesticity and Leisure, Birth and Death are unlikely partners.  Unlikely companions. Yet there is entanglement that needs enquiry.

Birth and Death are singular, transitory and defining; yet messy, unpalatable, confronting and emotional.  We are born alone. We die alone.   Singular, yet the cyclical underpins an existential continuum of birth, life and death.

Birth: a creation, a genesis, emergent and revelatory. Cause for wonder, cause for celebration.  

Death counters birth and counters life.  Death is to cease, to decease, to nullify, a cessation of a life of fulfilment that feels like betrayal, that feels like a broken promise.  A promise that to be young was to be immortal.  A broken promise that prompts mourning, grief, fear, denial, separation and abnegation.  We shy away from it knowing full well we can live fuller lives confronting it.

Western institutions and commerce have sanitised, de-contextualised, de-ritualised and marginalised birth and death,  mimicking polarised binary constructs in politics, gender, racism, identity.  

This manifesto, this enquiry, is not to have birth and death hijack domesticity and leisure, but rather the opposite.  To leverage the positive attributes of meaningful domesticity and meaningful leisure and inject these into the practices of  birth and death.  To make domesticity and leisure co-actors, co-companions and collaborators in supporting a new life and an ending life.

To practice meaningful domesticity and meaningful leisure is to fulfil a promise to ourselves, our family, our partner, friends, neighbours, to society.   To practice meaningful architecture is to make a future promise that accommodates individual and societal fulfilment.

Meaningful leisure is restorative, regenerative, illuminating. It is meaningful through reflection of self and inspires through collective learning, activity and engagement.  Leisure: the expression of freedom.  Part enlightenment of mind and body, part vice, part vanity, part the privileged fantastic and part unsustainable.  Leisure is found in creativity: in dance, theatre, music and the arts.  Leisure is found in contemplation, reflection and self.  Leisure is found in touch and sensing.   Leisure is found in living.

Meaningful domesticity is the crucible affording comfort, amenity, retreat and connection within our daily routine. It is the crucible of consummation. The crucible of our productive lives. The host of our dramas, intrigue and our leisure. 


In fact these characteristics, these attributes, these activities, these routines of domesticity and leisure are the very things that re-centre birth and death. That bring birth and death ‘home’. That are meaningful in support, in processing, in transitioning, for a young adult to a mother or a father or a grieving family at the loss of a loved one.

Speculations on unceded land, UON, 2022

1st Prize University of Newcastle| Architecture presented at the Newcastle City Council Digital Library 2022

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