Sociologists could take buildings more seriously, but maybe not too seriously. The play of agency and structure happens as we build: we mold buildings, they mold us, we mold them anew…. “ (Gieryn 2002, 65)
A building is, I argue here, a complex mediator that skilfully redistributes the agency among human and non-human participants in renovation, provokes contextual mutations and transforms social meanings. (Yaneva 2008, 8)
What can STS teach us about the built environment?
[A]n infrastructure occurs when local practices are afforded by a larger-scale technology, which can then be used in a natural, ready-to-hand fashion. It becomes transparent as local variations are folded into organizational changes, and becomes an unambiguous home—for somebody. This is not a physical location nor a permanent one, but a working relation—since no home is universal (Star and Ruhleder 1996, 114).
“inhabitants should be responsible to take an ‘active’ role for the provision of relative comfort using robust ‘passive and low energy’ strategies” (Cole et al. 2010, 344-5, quoting from PLEA’s 2009 “Building Human Agency” manifesto)