Reinvention of a Lost Interior World


  • Sara Lee University of Auckland



Interiority, Domestic setting, Spatial design


This visual essay explores interiority through drawing into a grandmother’s world in the 1950s, Taiwan. My grandmother’s house had never been documented prior to its demolition in1980. This paper is intended to re-invent and re-imagine the potentially changeable, layered and multi-functional interior settings of that house through the act of drawing. Drawing was undertaken through collaging the lost domestic world and became an act of complicity with my distant heritage and a sign of recognition of a shared condition.

The house was an economic unit; she shared the house with animals, sewing machines and bentos. Bento is the term used for ‘lunchbox’ and usually ‘layered’ in content. Bento became an object and metaphor for this project that formed a link between the object, the house and the drawing process. Plans and sections are constructed to induce analysis and architectural readings between domestic events: farming, sewing, education, dressmaking and accommodation.

The interior resisted the stable and singular condition of the domestic setting and challenged the ‘everyday-ness’ of the house to propose a potentially more adaptable and variable living unit. The interiors of the house were negotiated and fluctuated between changing desires of the inhabitants, re-inventing forms and patterns throughout the day. Five drawings were generated for this project representing the interiority of the house. The first collaged interior (Figure.1) initiated a connection to the process of pattern-making and became a drawing that compressed together time and was followed by four watercolour drawings that described the house in its particular moments of time.


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Author Biography

Sara Lee, University of Auckland

Sara Lee is undertaking an architectural PhD with Creative Practice Component at The University of Auckland, New Zealand. Her current research focuses on the architectural analysis of Taiwan during the colonial and postcolonial periods (1895-1970) and its impact upon the contemporary urban conditions. In this research, drawing becomes the medium to uncover past images of cities, allowing narrated events in memory to participate in practice. She works as a graduate architect at Mitchell and Stout Architects and teaches design studio and media at The University of Auckland since completing Master of Architecture in 2008.




How to Cite

Lee, Sara. 2011. “Reinvention of a Lost Interior World”. Idea Journal 11 (1):102-11.