The Giant Dolls’ House Project

The Giant Dolls’ House is a social Arts Project. The Alone Togeth­er instal­la­tion, in sol­i­dar­i­ty with 70 mil­lion refugees, explored our sense of home and com­mu­ni­ty dur­ing the Covid lock down. Please browse through the book­let that lists the sub­mit­ted dolls’ hous­es with descrip­tions. Many thanks to all the participants.

Alone Together Virtual Installation

Alone Together

The instruc­tions by Gov­ern­ments all over the world for peo­ple to stay at home dur­ing the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic has made every­one more aware of their per­son­al space and the val­ue of their com­mu­ni­ty. The 70 mil­lion refugees around the world have also lost their free­dom of move­ment and access to their communities.

In the Vir­tu­al Giant Dolls’ House project, we ask chil­dren of all ages and their close ones to cre­ative­ly share their expe­ri­ence of stay­ing in one space because of self-iso­la­tion and social distancing.

Mak­ing a dolls’ house in a shoe­box engages par­tic­i­pants in crit­i­cal think­ing and craft skills. It visu­al­ly demon­strates the impor­tance of com­mu­ni­ty and mutu­al sup­port for all people.

VGDH11 Amelie blk

My name is Amélie, I am 8 years old and I attend my absolute favourite pri­ma­ry school in the Nether­lands. I love singing togeth­er, play­ing the vio­lin, field-hock­ey and meet­ing my friends, and play­ing horse” with my old­er sis­ter on the tram­po­line in our gar­den. I real­ly don’t like the Coro­na virus. I can only see all school friends, singing‑, vio­lin- and hock­ey-friends through Zoom. But it is very dif­fi­cult and sad for every­one, per­haps most of all for all grand­fa­thers and grand­moth­ers, all peo­ple who are not very healthy and for all refugees. They are not allowed to receive vis­i­tors and have nowhere to go. That is why I think this Doll­house project is very good because espe­cial­ly for them (for refugees) this time is very dif­fi­cult and sad. We talked a lot about refugees in the mak­ing of this house, my moth­er was also a refugee a long long time ago. I play out­side every day (with my sis­ter) and then I have a lot of fun, but we are also some­times Coro­na-tired, and then we have a fight more often than usu­al. In the kitchen I then try to make a treat for all 4 of us, from choco­late, whipped cream and straw­ber­ries. And we also have activ­i­ties dig­i­tal­ly (online). And I also play a lot of music with my sis­ter. I wrote my 2nd piece of music (on the com­put­er) and I called it the Zuider­hoef schierei­land” (Zuider­hoef Penin­su­la). And we play horse games on the com­put­er, and we get even more bed­time sto­ries from my dad than usu­al. Thanks for my sis­ter who helped me a bit with my Dol­house, Greet­ings Amélie.

VGDH04 Julia

For The New York­er mag­a­zine in mid-April, Jonathon Blitzer wrote a pow­er­ful arti­cle about Juan Sanabria, one of New York’s first vic­tims of COVID-19. A well-liked Door­man in the Bronx, only 52 years old, Sanabria became ill rapid­ly and spent his last days on a ven­ti­la­tor and alone. His step-daugh­ter was only able to com­mu­ni­cate with him through a win­dow. It was the first spe­cif­ic sto­ry of this sit­u­a­tion that I read about and it has stuck with me, as the trag­ic sce­nario plays out over and over again.

Ven­ti­la­tors have become a sym­bol of the pan­dem­ic, a twist­ed pair­ing of man and machine, while bar­ri­ers — on the hands, over the face, between con­ver­sa­tions, sep­a­rate us at the times we most need others.

VGDH50 Mc Cloy Muchemwa BLK

Our real­i­ty of the lock­down is about work­ing and col­lab­o­rat­ing remote­ly, so we exper­i­ment with doing the project togeth­er over a video call. We use three tech­niques: Dig­i­tal Mod­el­ling, Lego and Clay.

We want to design a house where spaces can be bro­ken-up into a good mix of pri­vate and socia­ble areas, to help ease the bore­dom and occa­sion­al ten­sion of stay­ing at home for weeks and weeks. The blocks would con­tain the more prac­ti­cal spaces in the house, such as bath­rooms + util­i­ties, but also pro­vide pri­vate bed­rooms and a qui­et ele­vat­ed read­ing room. A series of sculp­tur­al, play­ful ele­ments help to soft­en’ and human­ise’ the inter­nal envi­ron­ment — we imag­ine they could have been made by the peo­ple in the house­hold as a cre­ative lock­down activity!

VGDH70 Elena the dark and colorful side of lockdown

The COVID 19 virus has changed our lives and mind­sets for­ev­er. We are just exit­ing a peri­od dur­ing which we were forced to stay at home, quar­an­tined and to apply social dis­tanc­ing at all times in order to con­trol the virus’s spread­ing. Not every­one expe­ri­enced con­fine­ment in the same way; It is always a mat­ter of per­spec­tive and con­text. Every good thing might be bad for some­one else because life has not just one taste, nor just one col­or for every­one. For some of us it has been a dark phase, for oth­ers a col­or­ful break.

For each of us Covid 19 was a dif­fer­ent chal­lenge: Either to real­ize that we live our lives like a ham­ster on a spin­ning wheel or like a roller coast­er, run­ning and run­ning between work, activ­i­ties and chas­ing after mon­ey, or to strug­gle fac­ing our own real­i­ty, or even worst fac­ing our inner voice and con­science in regards to life, goals, suc­cess, fail­ure, anx­i­ety, fears, stress, depres­sion, addic­tions, desperation.

For those that were liv­ing a busy life the lock­down is a hap­py, col­or­ful mem­o­ry. For those who were already strug­gling, this phase became an even dark­er peri­od with no escape.

Ele­na Stavropoulou Archi­tects Col­lab­o­rat­ing with Irene Sobatzi, polit­cal scientist.

VGDH18 Kudiwanashe blk

My name is Kudi and I made this box with mum and dad. Every­day, I have to patch my right eye for a few hours so the vision in my left eye can be cor­rect­ed. I don’t par­tic­u­lar­ly like doing it and it is some­times very hard to keep it on. When I patch, I like to sit with mum and dad in my room and read books. Today, we sat in my room and made this box instead. We made it using all the used eye patch­es mum has been col­lect­ing. We talked about child refugees that may have vision prob­lems like me. Mum explained to me about how dif­fi­cult it is for refugees to access eye care and how they don’t have the resources to pre­vent blind­ness. We said how brave and strong they are. So we named this box you are brave, you are vis­i­ble, you are not alone”.

@city planista

VGDH67 Yohannesblk

I am seek­ing Asy­lum in UK Now every­one else under­stands Lock­down too No per­mis­sion to work No space No life no future Just wait­ing Waiting

Example 1

Wel­come to my Rom­mel box for the Vir­tu­al @giantdollshouse! This is a mild rep­re­sen­ta­tion of how my room will come to look in the com­ing peri­od… I have come to the con­clu­sion that it’s more than fine not to have my room cleaned up all the time now that we’re in iso­la­tion. Not only my room but my life, it’s okay just to take a break and not con­tin­ue on with life as if noth­ing has changed or become extra productive.

Example 2

This last month of social dis­tanc­ing and iso­la­tion has made me acute­ly aware of the shift from win­ter to spring. The blos­som trees and flow­ers are start­ing to sprout up, pro­vid­ing much need­ed enjoy­ment on my dai­ly walk. I want­ed my dolls’ house to focus on pos­i­tive aspects of these strange times. The main focus of my dolls’ house is nature, specif­i­cal­ly the view from my desk out to the gar­den which has been a big source of plea­sure in the last few weeks. As we move through spring and the weeks of lock­down con­tin­ue, the trees get will their leaves and the flow­ers will bloom. This is some­thing I can look for­ward to see­ing and enjoying.

VGDH15 Caroline Hblk

This is a bit stark look­ing, but it’s rep­re­sent­ing being a child as an adult, look­ing in at your elder­ly par­ents in iso­la­tion… I’m quite enjoy­ing lock-down and all the pos­si­bil­i­ties it throws up, things that you actu­al­ly have the time to do- but I haven’t seen my mum for near­ly 3 months- and she can’t use a com­put­er! I put my Dad in there too, even though he died 3 years ago- I’d love to see them both face to face. When I last saw my mum, she looked like a doll at her win­dow.. We’re all well though, and it’ll be great to enter the dolls house when we sur­face. Me look­ing in on them empha­sis­es how roles shift as we get older.