Habitat AFK (Away From Keyboard) explores how techniques found in the escapism of video games, can be used as social, psychological and physical hyperstimuli in architecture to re-establish the sensory makeup of the Hikikomori, in an attempt to re-integrate them into society. Set on the island of Daiba Park, the concept for Habitat AFK is to split the Hikikomori, the bedroom and the screen in order to enoucrage a movement away from the bedroom. A central tower called “The Screen” becomes the sensorium for the Hikikomori whilst the bedrooms are pulled from out of it. Habitat AFK provides a speculative case study as to how residential architecture may have to evolve over the next century to cope with societies’ tendencies to prefer to live in an alternative reality.
The project questions whether the architecture could actually cause the trapping of the Hikikomori in another form of box – the confines of a working Japanese citizen or enlarge their desire for elements of escapism.