There’s experimental housing, and then there’s housing created in a test tube. Rosa de Jong creates the latter.
To use Zoolander terminology, these are homes for ants. There are no ants here, but the scale is appropriate for the little critters. Instead, what you have is a series of cylindrical dioramas, wherein buildings float in midair on the earthen bases. The facsimile of soil beneath these buildings tapers like the flame coming out of a rocket engine. In a sense, these scenes have achieved liftoff. As part of her Micro Matter series, De Jong had created all sorts of homes, from experimental towers to teepees, with a smattering of silos and smaller domiciles in the middle.
The test tube used in the Micro Matters series function primarily as convenient vessels, but they also serve as a reminder that housing can certainly be experimental. Indeed, America’s history of public housing is often referred to as an experiment. This attitude is not always for the best: by virtue of being experimental, such developments represent a small percentage of the overall housing stock. Experimental housing remains a curiosity—sometimes beautiful and sometimes a failure. Rosa de Jong’s houses in test tubes, on the other hand, are consistently beautiful. If only they could scale up.