One house, many stories
A house is many things—building, property, administrative unit, part of a landscape, cultural object alive in stories, memories, and histories. It is also a home. Our project compares two stories of the owners of the Ludwig Von Baumbach residence. Through these stories we discern how this building figures in residents’ daily lives in different ways. The two stories show how a house slowly becomes a repository of memories, hopes and aspirations.
In June 2014 Ludwig Von Baumbach Residence was sold. The previous owners and the new buyer tell their stories about coming upon this house and their reasons for buying it. We compare two narratives of moving into this home—first, the story of the Howdens in the late 1970s and second, the arrival of the Cuhels in 2014. The formers' stories of interactions with neighbors and their memories of spaces and traces of this neighborhood bring to light how they see themselves as part the social and cultural landscape of Washington Park neighborhood. For the sellers who lived here for decades, the Ludwig Von Baumbach residence marks a site where they cultivated plants and flowers and consolidated lifelong social relations.
For the new buyer the building is a newly acquired property— not yet a home. Priced out of the Riverwest neighborhood, the new buyer sees this house as an economically viable and profitable option. The terms with which he sees this house are functional and economical, and not so much of affective bonds and aesthetic attraction that frame the memories of the seller.
These somewhat contrasting stories of the Ludwig Von Baumbach residence tell us something about multiple ways by which we understand and define a residential building. On the one hand, economic value and media images frame the way we read the Ludwig Von Baumbach residence. On the other hand, social ties, emotional values and daily routines describe the meaning of this home.
Mike and Judith Howden, interview by Leonardo Moises and Salman Hussain, June 2014.
Dustin Cuhel, interview by Leonardo Moises and Salman Hussain, June 2014.
The Howdens tell us how they found the house.
Dustin Cuhel tells us how he found the house.