Nomadic or Settled?

Reading a book Living in Motion: Design and architecture for flexible dwelling by editors Mathias Schwartz-Clauss, Alexander Von Vegesack (Vitra Design Museum, 2002). It examines flexibility and dynamic qualities from work designed by Modern architects Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles and Ray Eames, Rem Koolhaas, Shigeru Ban and others and mobile and flexible vernacular dwellings from global cultures including tents, tipis and yurts.

This quote from the book caught my attention: ‘Every nomadic lifestyle has its settled moments, just as every settled life has its nomadic aspects, and a normal part of living somewhere is arriving and staying there, feeling secure and sustained, as a house and its furnishings are something to be secured and maintained.’

The sense of being too ‘settled’ and tethered to my house leads me to want to travel and leave home and yet after a period of travel, I look forward to my return home. Perhaps the question in this paradoxical pull in either direction is the question of choice or free will. Even as the Syrian political crisis rages with millions of refugees fleeing the country into Europe in search of a better life, and more environmental disasters like hurricanes and tornados make life everywhere unpredictable, is the notion of being settled in a larger sense, an illusion?


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