Over the years, changes are taking place in the structure of families in the west: the marriage age and divorce rate are rising, and changes in life expectancy and lifestyle increase the phenomenon of people who live alone; families deconstruct and are reconstructed, and the number of single-parent and single-sex families is increasing. But while the life style and family structure are changing, the market of new apartments in Israel is characterized by great uniformity, preserved despite the raised living standard and the improvement in housing standard with the transition from public-market-dominated building to contractor building over the past decades. What, then, takes place when families’ unique life style encounters the apartments that are typical of the housing market?
For the past few years, students of the Design School of the College of Management Academic Studies (COMAS) have investigated the effect of changes in the family’s structure on families’ housing needs in Israel. They use various research methods, from ethnographic research, design research and visual culture methods: interviewing family members and inviting them to draw a mental map of their living space; mapping and analyzing the apartment and its use; documenting even the slightest changes that families made in the apartment in order to adapt it to their lifestyle.
The research indicates that families live in many different ways, some of them creative and extraordinary, and in any case not always according to the accepted ideas of family and apartments that are held by designers, architects and the housing market.