Elena Palacios Carral

Elena graduated from Diploma at The Architectural Association School of Architecture in 2012. In 2015 she completed The MA in History and Critical Thinking at the same school where she is currently enrolled as a PhD Candidate. She has worked as an Architectural Designer in Mexico City and the UK, and as an architectural researcher at Forensic Architecture. Elena has been a visiting critic at various UK Universities, taught first-year design studio at The University of Hertfordshire in 2017-2018 and currently, she is an Associate Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University where she is co-leading DS7 on the MArchD course since 2018.
Impression of Hubert Robert’s studio at the Louvre based on one of his paintings. Drawing by Elena Palacios, 2019

The Studioification of the Home: The Freelance Artist's Studio in Western Europe

Pier Vittorio Aureli, Maria S. Giudici

The thesis explores the studioification of the home, or rather, the process by which the home has been transformed into the studio. The figure of the artist is currently understood as a kind of curious prototype, whereby the sites of living and working are extended beyond the fixed site of the house to the studio, the street, the cafe, and the landscape beyond. Since their lives are rarely organised around conventional task divisions or family structures, they presage contemporary society’s embrace of the nomadic freelancer, who is supposedly no longer bound by the nuclear family or permanent fixed employment. This thesis argues that this informality of arrangement is in many ways a mischaracterisation and belies the role the state has in making such conditions. It begins with a study of the 200 year period in which artists were resident at the Louvre in Paris, tracing Henri IV’s project to accommodate their life and work, to their eventual eviction from the building in 1805 by Napoleon. This case is used to foreshadow the ways in which the state would lay the foundations for a new subject to emerge: the artist as a freelancer. This newly conceived condition, not simply allowed by but indeed manufactured by the state, would come to constrict the life and work of the artist to a new kind of space: the artist’s studio. By identifying this inherent relationship between centralised power, the artist and their ‘informal’ living arrangements, the thesis traces the development of the studio and its total permeation into contemporary living as one of design, not accident.