The Becoming of Identities: A Case of Residential Resilience - Tour Bois-le-Prêtre, Paris, 2012.
Paper in proceedings, 2013

This paper is focused on the general topic of dynamic interrelations between architectural and social change and puts special attention to these aspects within extreme urban residential situations and altering ways of residing characterised by radical spatial transgression and resident's profound processes of identification. It will try to re-situate the potentially critical role of urban architectural interventions for potential residential cultural changes. This research is dedicated to the combined architectural sociological analysis on ‘The Becoming of Residential Identities’ as empirical and conceptual explorations on contemporary residential situations with a focus on reciprocal dynamic between social reality and architectural projections or alterations drawing also on Bourdieu pursuing a perspective on cultural change and visual and symbolic residential quality consumption, in particular. The paper will present a preliminary assessment and qualitative analysis of the 2012 finalised refurbishment project Bois-le-Prêtre in Paris as an important attempt at rethinking the social in architecture and architecture in the social. These considerations are based on interviews with key project authors and with inhabitants on site as planned for later 2012. Significantly, the project is developed with inhabitants predominantly staying in the building during construction works with only a short two-week displacement, which as an experience of the renewal process and later adaptation to the new conditions is a focus of intended residents’ biographical study. Confronted with images from the pre-existing flat usage before reconstruction it becomes evident how this drastic projected structural as well as symbolic change offers an opportunity for an act of spatial liberation.

identity construction

projective practices

extreme ways of residing

residential resilience

biographical qualitative research

architectural and social change


Sten Gromark

Chalmers, Architecture

Katrin Paadam

CIB 2013 World Congress, Brisbane, 5-9 May 2013; 'Built Environment Research Focused on Social Outcomes''.

Subject Categories

Architectural Engineering

Civil Engineering


Cultural Studies

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)

More information