After being stuck inside for six weeks, there’s a good chance we’re tired of looking at our own homes. Fortuitously, Apple TV+ has a new docuseries that gives us a glimpse inside other people’s homes and speaks to our current reality in quarantine, as our worlds are increasingly defined by where and how we live.
The nine-episode show, Home, takes viewers around the world—from Chicago to Maine, Hong Kong to India—to explore how innovative homeowners have reimagined the limits and freedoms of residential architecture.
In Sweden, a couple has nested their house within a larger greenhouse to maintain a Mediterranean climate during the brisk Nordic winters. In Bali, a family’s towering treehouse is made completely out of bamboo. In Tabasco, Mexico, a neighborhood of 50 3D-printed homes provides sanctuary for a community flattened by poverty.
“We knew this wouldn’t be just a home show, it wasn’t just going to be about the structure or architecture,” says Doug Pray, a director and executive producer on the show. “The stories had to be inspiring because all of the homes are solving some kind of specific problem. [The subjects] are all people who looked at what was right in front of them and . . . went deeper into their land and into what a home could do.”
Though some of Home‘s subjects were already well-known, like artist Theaster Gates (featured in the Chicago episode), most were chosen simply because of their wildly imaginative spaces. Production on the half-hour show began two years ago; the final episode to be filmed, Mexico, was shot in December 2019. Home toggles between being a docuseries that features truly awe-inspiring architecture and a meditation on alternative ways to live. In the Hong Kong episode, we see a 344-square-foot apartment that can be transformed into different rooms; in Austin, Texas, the home is hidden in an oasis of native plants, inspired by semi-subterranean, Native American pit houses.
“[We wanted] to find these environments where the home is more than a house, and you can feel the life that the home is breathing into the homeowners,” says Pray. “There’s a theme of rejuvenation.” As we adjust to a new reality in the midst of COVID-19, there’s a sharper focus on the ills plaguing society: climate change, poor work-life balance, healthcare, and housing insecurity. The spaces featured on Home challenge us to think more progressively about how we define a life well lived, and to consider new approaches to domestic architecture that prioritize sustainable materials, cultivate community, and promote healthy lifestyles.
Home debuted on April 17, and Pray says the show’s executive producers are talking to Apple about a second season, though the decision is ultimately up to the streaming service. But Pray is hopeful, noting the show’s inherent compatibility with the company. “In Apple’s best times, what they do with their design is aspirational. All of these characters ‘think different.'”