Case Study Homes Photographs by Peter Bialobrzeski Published by Hatje Cantz, 2009.
The community of Baseco, located at the mouth of the Pasig River near the harbor of Manila, Philippines, is a haven for those coming to the metropolis from the countryside. New residents construct houses for themselves out of the city's refuse, erecting huts that act as life rafts on the sandy shores until their builders can establish themselves on firmer ground.
In naming his book Case Study Homes, photographer Peter Bialobrzeski refers to the original Case Study Houses project sponsored by Arts & Architecture magazine; the project invited well-known architects of the day to design attainable residential housing in the boom years that followed World War II. The unknown builders of the structures at Baseco seem far removed from the ranks of Eero Saarinen and Charles and Ray Eames, and yet they share in common a search for the best solutions and materials for the problem at hand.
Bialobrzeski's typology of the homes of Baseco shows that the solutions are as diverse as the builders. Some seem to have been constructed with shreds of paper and pieces of unsupported cloth by those who hope to be in residence only for a short while; other huts have sturdier supports and metal roofs, perhaps put together by settlers who are a little more doubtful of their chances of success outside the sprawling acres of Baseco. Ultimately, the structures in Case Study Homes are portraits of their makers who courageously and creatively erect essential footholds on treacherous ground. These homes offer a much needed foundation upon which their inhabitants can dream for something better.
Mary Goodwin is a photographer, writer, and editor. She is also the Associate Director at Light Work, a non-profit, artist-run organization that provides direct support to artists working in photography and digital imaging through residencies, publications, exhibitions, a community-access digital lab facility, and other related projects. Goodwin holds a BA from Mount Holyoke College, a BFA from Herron School of Art, and a MFA in photography from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.