Architecture - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Sexuality in Architecture
Resources addressing the diversity, equity, and inclusion in the architecture community.
- This article addresses the question of why so many of the women involved in the practice and profession of interior design during the early part of the twentieth century were what we might now identify as lesbians. While design historians have acknowledged these women's non-heterosexualities, the connection between female sexual dissidence and modern interior design has been left largely underexplored and undertheorized. In the spirit of historical inventiveness which characterizes most work on the aesthetic cultural history of sexuality I argue that these women's designs were importantly involved in creating the historical spaces of sapphic modernity, and that the growing field of sapphic modernity has itself been designed by these women's works. Overall, I suggest that modern interior design was a critical site for the regulation and contestation of sexuality, and generate a speculative theoretical framework for understanding the centrality of women's design works to the generation of a sexually dissident, sapphic modernity.
- This article examines the role played by “third world” queer place-making practices in the reproduction of postcolonial dreams of urban and global modernity. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in Manila, the Philippines, the article investigates the transformation of the Brutalist structures erected under the Marcos dictatorship into sites of transgender performance. More specifically, it examines the conversion of the Manila Film Center (1981)—a long-abandoned structure rumored to be haunted by the ghosts of entombed construction workers—into the host site for the Amazing Philippine Theater, a “drag” production marketed to tourist audiences as “the largest transvestite show in Asia.” The paper suggests that the Film Center can be read as a modern ruin: a spectral environment that elicits a lost sense of optimism and globalism, while inducing feelings of terror and dread by serving as a reminder of what awaits those who subscribe to the dictatorship’s promise of modernity. In turn, the paper reads the Amazing Philippine Theater as a queer space emergent in the ruins of modern dreams: a space that has inherited the never-to-be-completed task of becoming global and that thus enables the aspirations embodied by dictatorship architecture to have a life beyond death. By drawing links between transgender performance and the production of a third world city in “first world drag,” the paper demonstrates the relations of complicity that bind “third world” queer place-making projects to the postcolonial state’s monumentalist attempts to materialize claims of truth, beauty, order, and progress through the adoption of modern aesthetic forms.
- This article considers the queer roles of weeds and undergrowth in the architecture of the garden. With the garden defined as a site where human pleasure is ordered and controlled, undergrowth is interrogated as both architectural agent of queer space and as intimate co-producer of queer sensuality. This argument charts the roles of weeds in the sexual history of the English garden, with a particular focus on the vegetal architecture of eighteenth-century wildernesses, especially at Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens in Lambeth, London. The article produces two speculative modes of interrogating the queer potential of weeds and undergrowth. The first is a schematic outline of the material functions of undergrowth in creating spaces for queer desire, seduction and intimacy. The second is a narrative re-performance of the embodied labor of gardening, as a key site where the conflict of plant and human desires is enacted, and through which queer modes of sensual relation are constituted.
- From 1747 Horace Walpole and a close circle of male friends and associates designed, decorated, and furnished Strawberry Hill, the remarkable neo-Gothic villa in Twickenham, a fashionable suburb of London. An examination of the role of Walpole's sexuality in the design and reception of the house and its furnishings, following the lead of recent studies in literature, historiography, and the history of sexuality, reveals the interrelations between the revival of the Gothic as one of the "modern styles" of eighteenth-century architecture and fundamental changes in human sexuality characterized by the rise of a "third sex."
- Klaus discusses the relationship between architecture and sexual identity by highlighting Jeanne de Jussie's narrative of the Protestant Reformation in Geneva. Jussie's account of the Reformation and its effect on her own Convent of St Clare bore witness to the importance of privacy and sexual segregation in the convent. Jussie cast the whole of the Reformation as an assault on the nun's right to spaces of their own, and dramatized the Poor Clare's fight for control of their convent.
- This paper examines how queer practices of transformation enable the preservation and perversion of the logics, aspirations, and violences that animated Imelda Marcos's “war of urban beautification”. It traces conceptual overlaps between the notions of truth and beauty that underpinned Imelda's faith in architectural modernism and which operate in the sex/gender tradition of kabaklaan. Using the case study of the Manila Film Center, a formerly abandoned and famously haunted Marcos‐era building that has been transformed into the host site of a “transgender” revue, the paper demonstrates how queerness, necropower, architecture, and dreams of urban and global modernity come together through the spatial effects of authoritarian power.
- In the early 1990s, feminist challenges to mainstream architectural discourses were taken upon by queer space theorists, who broadened the focus from understanding how space is gendered and sexualised to suggest new ways of inhabiting space. In the last decade, a new generation, exemplified by artists Elmgreen & Dragset's transformation of architectural spaces, further pushed the challenges, offering a communitarian ideal that puts aside traditional public and private divisions. These spatial experiences can be linked to the ideas of queer theorist José Esteban Muñoz who proposes a queer futurity tainted with political idealism which can inspire architecture to emulate a queer collectivity.
- This project locates itself at an intersection of queer theory with art and architecture theory relating to identity, the home, and political agency. The research is born from the desire to explore alternative notions of domesticity and speculate on the way architecture can facilitate and respond to new definitions of family and home. The homogeneity offered by the prototypical nuclear family and the suburban context in which it resides has proliferated, despite an increasingly diverse population of homeowners and increasingly empowered minority groups within our society. Intended to specifically address queer domesticity, this MDP uses queer theory as a catalyst to directly subvert traditional interpretations of the domestic realm, and offer an architectural speculation as to how a critical engagement from a position of marginality can offer a new, positive interpretation of domesticity.
- The Rural Studio is a design and build architectural program at Auburn University in Alabama. The studio was co-founded by Samuel Mockbee and D.K. Ruth in 1992 with the mission of building an "architecture of decency" for families in Alabama's Black Belt region that lacked access to stable and permanent housing. The studio utilizes found, discarded, and donated materials to craft innovative housing solutions and public spaces in and around Hale County—a region that has played a historic role in the state as the seat of King Cotton in the antebellum south; it has since seen economic disinvestment leave it ruined, and has notoriously claimed the title of one the country's poorest counties. The Rural Studio aspires to confronting this historical legacy head-on by building private and public structures throughout the county at little to no cost to its citizens. This thesis brings the work of the studio into conversation with queer theories of metronormativity and anti-urbanism as developed by theorists including Judith Halberstam and Scott Herring. I develop the architectural practices of the studio and its relationship with its clients as a queer structure of feeling that challenges contemporary architectural values with its insistence on rural, vernacular building solutions—this, I claim, is parallel to self-identified rural queers who live in the country and defy metronormative and urbane conceptions of LGBT identity. By deconstructing modern, metropolitan definitions of queerness, I seek to expand the mantle of queerness to include the clients of the Rural Studio, as well as rural-identified queers who consider the country as an inherent aspect of their queer identity. By dissecting the geographic and temporal characteristics of the urban/rural dialectic, I attempt a rapprochement of rural space and queerness as such, disabusing the notion that to be queer is to be urban. Tracing the intersectional political alliances at the heart of the Rural Studio's design-build process, I hope to view the studio's work as a queer organizational model for marginal subjects— one that confronts the twin legacies of Queer and Southern history—through the production of strange and intersectional political and social alliances in rural spaces.
- "The Scarab" (1907), a sprawling Shingle-style house in Wellesley, Massachusetts, was built by poet and professor Katharine Lee Bates as a home for herself and her partner Katharine Coman, a social economist and labor activist. Both women had lived and taught at Wellesley College, founded as a single-sex institution for higher education in 1870, for over a quarter of a century. In their new home they adapted many of its hybrid spaces for living and working, surrounding themselves with friends, family, colleagues, and students to form a lively and engaged community of women. While it decisively broke with familiar conventions in both plan and program, "The Scarab" nonetheless fits comfortably in its leafy, suburban neighborhood, demonstrating that this committed couple could "hide in plain sight" while radically queering the terms of early-twentieth-century domesticity.
- This study explores an iconic twentieth-century house, the Weston Havens house, in
Berkeley, California, designed by architect Harwell Hamilton Harris between 1939 and 1941. It was inspired by personal circumstances. After occupying his beloved "Sky House" for sixty years, philanthropist Weston Havens donated the famous house to the University of California in 2001.1 As part of my planned sabbatical in Berkeley in 2007-2008, I was offered a chance to live in the Havens house. But when university representatives learned that I would be coming with a husband and two children, the offer was recanted: "The house won't work for a family," they said. Curious to know how an icon of post war domestic architecture could not accommo date my family?which, I usually assume, is the conventional family size and organization meant to inhabit such houses?my interest was piqued. Why was this impossible? Could such a house exist? How queer.
- Sex and Buildings byCall Number: 720.1030904 W726s - Main LibraryISBN: 9781780231044Publication Date: 2013-08-15Massive modern skyscrapers, obelisks, towers--all are structures that, thanks to their phallic shape, are often associated with sex. But other buildings are more subtly connected, as they provide the frameworks for our sexual lives and act as reminders of our sexual memories. This relationship between sex and buildings mattered more than ever in the United States and Europe during the turbulent twentieth century, when a culture of unprecedented sexual frankness and tolerance emerged and came to dominate many aspects of public life. Part architectural history, part cultural history, and part travelogue, Sex and Buildings explores how progressive sexual attitudes manifest themselves in architecture, asking what progressive sexuality might look like architecturally and exploring the successes and failures of buildings' attempts to reflect it. In search of structures that reflect the sexual mores of their inhabitants, Richard J. Williams visits modernist buildings in Southern California, the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, the Playboy Mansion in Chicago, the Seagram in New York, communes from the 1960s, and more. A fascinating and often funny look at a period of extraordinary social change coupled with aesthetic invention, Sex and Buildings will change the way we look at the buildings around us.
- Gothic Architecture and Sexuality in the Circle of Horace Walpole byISBN: 9780271085883Publication Date: 2020-07-15Gothic Architecture and Sexuality in the Circle of Horace Walpole shows that the Gothic style in architecture and the decorative arts and the tradition of medievalist research associated with Horace Walpole (1717-1797) and his circle cannot be understood independently of their own homoerotic culture. Centered around Walpole's Gothic villa at Strawberry Hill in Twickenham, Walpole and his "Strawberry Committee" of male friends, designers, and dilettantes invigorated an extraordinary new mode of Gothic design and disseminated it in their own commissions at Old Windsor and Donnington Grove in Berkshire, Lee Priory in Kent, the Vyne in Hampshire, and other sites. Matthew M. Reeve argues that the new "third sex" of homoerotically inclined men and the new "modern styles" that they promoted--including the Gothic style and chinoiserie--were interrelated movements that shaped English modernity. The Gothic style offered the possibility of an alternate aesthetic and gendered order, a queer reversal of the dominant Palladian style of the period. Many of the houses built by Walpole and his circle were understood by commentators to be manifestations of a new queer aesthetic, and in describing them they offered the earliest critiques of what would be called a "queer architecture." Exposing the role of sexual coteries in the shaping of eighteenth-century English architecture, this book offers a profound and eloquent revision to our understanding of the origins of the Gothic Revival and to medievalism itself. It will be welcomed by architectural historians as well as scholars of medievalism and specialists in queer studies.
- Architectural Flirtations: A Love Storey byISBN: 9789187447075Publication Date: 2016Formulated as a feminist project, written as a pulp fiction, Architectural Flirtations: A Love Storey begins with our claim that the architectural discipline is centered around a culture of critique, which is based in what bell hooks calls “a system of imperialist, white supremacist, heterosexist, capitalist, patriarchy,” and that the values instilled by this culture not only begin with, but are reinforced and reproduced by, the education of young architects. Sounds serious . Right? In a move toward a more vulnerable, ethical and empowering culture of architecture, the project aims to displace the culture of critique, by questioning and undermining relationships of power and privilege through practices that are explicitly critical, queer feminist, and Campy. In other words, it takes seriously , in an uncertain, improper and playful way, what is usually deemed unserious within the architectural discipline, in order to undermine the usual order of things. All of the (love) storeys take place on March 21 st , the spring equinox, in and around a 1977 collaborative row house project called Case Unifamiliari in Mozzo, Italy, designed by Aldo Rossi and Attilio Pizzigoni. Beda Ring, PhD researcher, constructs a Campy renovation of one of these row houses, full of theatricality, humor, and significant otherness ; while architectural pedagogue, Brady Burroughs, guides a student group from KTH in an Architecture and Gender course; and Henri T. Beall, practicing architect, attends to the details upstairs.