Está en la página 1de 57

QUEER THEORY MEETS ARCHITECTURE IN BRECON

Queering Brecon
A SAFE COMMUNITY FREE FROM CATEGORIES

RESEARCH

A research project to analyse the political situation of Breceon in County Powys to understand the influences local politics and power relationships have on the built environment. In a crude nutshell the town council are progressive and experimental, keen to address Brecon’s social issues and develop the environment but the local planning authority is also the national park authority and blocks the vast majority of proposals before they can begin.

power

up

The film uses a Super Mario style world to follow a characer representing the twon council through Brecon as they try [and fail] to develop the town with new housing, renewable eneregy & new industry.

?

Each zone had an icon to help explain during ten minute presentation. This was surprisngly contravertial.

THE LABORATORY FOR LIVING

THE GHETTO
HIGH DENSITY
THE LAKE
LOW DENSITY

THE FORUM

THE HIVE
THE FIELD

THE VILLAGE

The Living Laboratory speculative research project was radical and top down proposals for an entirely new future for an entirely new Brecon. It was never meant to be realistic, it was barely meant to be useful. It remains the project I got the highest grade I’ve got in 3rd year...weird

MASTERPLAN
WATER HARVASTING TOWERS CONTROLED FLOODING

LIGHT IND LOW DEN HIGH DEN FACTORIE

Light Industry Zone Speculative mock-ups of potential zones for a fully redveloped Brecon. Drawing from adapted Garden City concepts creating a zoned city that is navigatable easily by foot. New zones organise parts of the city each with university & research quarters as Brecon is transformed into a living laboratory for the exploration of sustainable living, education, industry, tourism, transport & technolgy. A scaled up version of the Centre for Alternative Technology.

Ecology Zone

Food Production Zone

EDGE OF A NATIONAL PARK

THE GENDER NIGHTMARE

This Collage is a construction of constructed ideas. It explores the increadible scope with which humanity has set about its business of labeling and catagorsing people by whether they are born with a vagina or a penis. The complexity of genderas a social phenomenon cannot be over stated and similarly the collage is hard to take in at once. Broadly what we call male has placed itself on top of what we call female eager for power and controll.

Gender defines us. From the day we are born babies have gender roles projected onto them. “Who’s a clever boy?” “Who’s a pretty girl?” Pink, Blue, ActionMan, Barbie, School Uniform, PE, Whether to hold the baby facing out or facing in. My way into thinking about brecon was triggered by the school uniforms at the School on site.

Gender roles were such an established part of the site itself and yet we know gender and even sex differences are artificial constructions built up over thousands of years by societies anxious to create order among its subjects. Could my Brecon project could embrace a feminist stance and move beyond this over simplified model as epitomised by the toilet signs above?

If you are marking this you’re probably a man

beyond constructed gender

QUEER
THEORY
Is a broad academic disclipline that can have many meanings. The Constructivist Queer Thoerists hold that not only is Gender a entirely social construction but so is sexual preference. The catagorisation of Gay, Bi, Straight is unantual has no basis in biology and is a modern description of trends rather than any empirical source of identity. These catagories have allowed movements to lobby and win rights in the West but they also restrict identity and impose a new strata of artifical expectations. What if an Architecture could draw from Queer theory to create a community open to a myriad of flexible indosyncracies?

The image on the previous page is from a USA campagin shame the American right who believe homosexuality is a morally wrong choice. The argument that there is a Gay Gene is a powerful tool to challenge intollerance but acording to Constructivist Queer Theorsits it is misleading and intollerance should be confronted for what it is.

Its essential not to underestimate the scale of the challenge. There is a huge anti queer movement fuled by relgious alignments and the Murdoch press. However there is a precident for a non radical solution that’s strength is its simplicity. Queer Easter is a 2 week project that takes place in Berlin. for 2 weeks people of all ages from all over the world come together to form a community who share ideas living alongside one another. The project is entirely inclusive without projecting any expectations of identity onto the participants. This is the kind of community that is private when needed & safe for all those in need of discretion.

A VICTIM OF A C HOMOPHOBIC O SOCIETY O PUSHED OUT OF GOVERNMENT

ARCHITECTURE FOR SIMON HUGHES
Deputy leader of The Liberal Democrats Simon Hughes is one of the most interesting people in modern British politics. Hughes went to school in Brecon and clearly has been influenced by the community’s sense of social justice and care. As an MP Hughes faced a political challenge when The Sun Newspaper ran a smear campagin targeting gay Liberal Democrats. Hughes is in many ways the perfect fictional client. He is a deeply ‘normal’ character with far more in common withjoe public than the Eton boys in cabinet. He maintains his place on the edge of mainstream politics as both a voice of opposition and part of The Coelition. Hughes is gay but does not conform to accepted stereotypes. - Architecte for Simon hughes would neither be camp nor plain. - It would provide protection & exposure - It would be fun but sensible.

BRECON TOTAL POPULATION

grow
a year

average

1%

BRECON 16-24 POPULATION

shrink

16-24s

7% a year

Brecon dislikes Party Politics. For a small, well off, historic town that you might expect to be a safe Tory seat Brecon rejects Parties choosing indipendants instead. This indicates a population interested in politics and passionate about positive change. A suprising and exciting discovery

THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
CHRIST COLLEGE PRIVATE SCHOOL

Christ Church School in Brecon is reckoned to be one of the best “Value for Money” private schools in the UK. For the aparently affordable fee of several thousand quid a term you can buy your child’s way into the kind of The British Private School establishment where Sixth system is the great bastion formers drive their Porche of sexism, gender roles and into lessons.

ONE OF THOSE SCHOOLS

entrenched homophobia.

Christ Church School faces onto my chosen site. I plan to cronfront the school’s posturing by placing the ultra private “closet” right against their main quad. The elevation shall present the school with a large wall that is cool to their pressance.

Initially inspired by Nigel Coates’s work with Nato I began to draw loosely using shapes and colours to to and capture the essance of the vibrant Queer comunity I was setting out to make but without a clear architectural manifesto in mind. The Result was helpful as a starting point but quickly was adapted, augemented and changed. As the manifesto emerged as a clear guiding principle. SKETCH SECTIONS
These tiny sketch sections proved suprisingly important in the development of certain moments in the overall scheme.

the porch/stage

the closset

the mirror

Inspired by the writing of Aaron Betksy I developed a architectural manifesto of 4 stages that drew from his description of the Closset

the forum
and the mirror as architectural experiences beyond the traditional metaphores.

THE CLOSET THE CLOSET HE CL
The closet is the opposite of order place of apprarance, but also its beginning point. it is a dark and musty place where past and future mingle and could become interchanged. It is where you can define yourself, constructing an identity out of what you have collected, in a space that is free and boundless exactly because it hjides in the dark recesses. It is a constructed version of the womb that contains not biological but socially produced building blocks for the person you become in the real world.
The Closet offers a real retreat for those unwilling or unable to stick their identity on the line for disection by the unforgivingpublic. This Polll in The Sun asked “Should Gay MPs be allowed?” A devestating indication of how regressive the mainstream are.

Most of all is a pravte world you can retrete into closing many layers of privacy behind you and only come out when you are ready.

THE MIRROR THE MIRROR
The mirror is where you appear to yourself, primping and posing, examining and admiring yourself. Mirror space is an alternate world that is unreal. Everything in it is only a reflection, and yet appears as it really is, only reversed. Mirror space is free and open, shifting and ephemeral, and yet constrained by its lack of reality. The mirror is useful for little else other than appearing in. We don’t live in mirrors even we obsess over them.
In the Queer criticism our catogorized and contrived differences are exagerated. In a world where Gender and Sexual Preference are banished to be replaced by individual difference not retrained by types to observe another is in a sense to observe a reflection of yourself. Thus the mirror can be thought of as a voyerism where we peer at each other to better understand ourselves. The Farnsworth house is as house exposed to voyerism & an interesting precident for an architecture as Queer Mirror

THE PORCH THE PORCH THE STAGH E
The stage or porch is where you appear to world. Bold and confident you present yourself to the audicence of society unsure how they will react. It is space that for a brief limlight focuses on you. How you act and react is under intense scrutiny. It is a scary space that require much gall to approach. It is also an inbetween space, a porch between the backstage and the world outside, a portal that is both your terratitory and public domain.

THE FORUM THE FORUM TH FORUM THE FORUM
The stage or porch is where you appear to world. Bold and confident you present yourself to the audicence of society unsure how they will react. It is space that for a brief limlight focuses on you. How you act and react is under intense scrutiny. It is a scary space that require much gall to approach. It is also an inbetween space, a porch between the backstage and the world outside, a portal that is both your terratitory and public domain.

Utzon’s housing layouts in Denamrk and the ancient New Zealand parliments are both examples of community embracing architecture. They allow a level of privacy but are overwhelmingly configured to encourage community interaction.

willful controlled route & short views

remove the 4th wall

shaddowy and exlusive

back to basics

water mirror

voyer behind green curtain

black boxes are fake reconnect theatre with the environment

janus porch with different faces

life withou imposed identity

always encounters

The Albany is a hyper exclusive closed street in London. In the past to live there you had to be young, male, single, connected and wealthy. Not only is the street entirely closed to the public but inside the “ropewalk canopy protects the residents from the stares of their neighbourghs as they leave and arrive. It is extremely discrete, extremely exclusive, intensely private and the perfect precident for The Wardrobe

THE ALBANY

Capture the discrete, keep the privacy but inject risk & play. The alley is narrowed and twisted this way and that. The route is highly controlled with no long view to the end. Some spaces break out slightly giving space to dash past running the risk of being seen. The world at the end of Brecon’s Albany is going to be very different to the one left behind.

QU QUEERING

THE AL LBANY

CARVED ROUTE

Observers are constantly observed. In the queer world the normative and the diviant are one so to observe another is to observe yourself. Architectecturally this is expressed by the living veil that wraps the ballet school and extension to the private school. The living veil hides the observer behind fleshy greenery while allowing light in and peering eyes out. The living screens are calming, cooling and refreshing but tie into a playful interpritation of privacy and public as balconies run round the ballet school just out of sight.

BALLET BUT NOT AS YOU KNOW IT
A major part of the programme of the proposal is the ballet school. Ballet as a discipline is obsessed with the visual image, perfection and the individual. It is the worst and best of The Mirror all at once. As precident I have studies BalletBlack the only all Black & Asian ballet company in the UK. As a company they smash preconceptions and overcome huge institutional discimination.

Not too happy with how these perspectives turned out. Would have liked far more time to inhabbit the drawing in more detail giving them a greater sense of rich inhabitation. - Spot the big cat

A porch is an inbetween space. It boarders the world that you know and the world that will judge you. It is also a stage, where you are observed but on your own terms. I was exploring architectural ideas from the world of British theatre & festivals. The Lattitude theatre & music festival and Globe Theatre stood out as precidents for creating worlds hidden from view. The Globe hides its world behind high walls but open to the air none the less. Lattitude conceals stages & events in Norfolk’s woodland. The Porch or Stage in Brecon will draw inspiration from these hidden worlds creatinga permanant fesitval to connect to Brecon’s existing Jazz & Theatre events.

BLACK BOXES

REAL CREATIVITY

DEPLETE

THEATRE
A limp black box culture has sprouted in theatres. A isolation box that shuts out everything of the outside world and builds its own between blackout tabs. This fear of the real world has pushed theatre away from its environment. Non adaptive and disconnected from its surroundings. But once upon a time theatres were open to the weather, sound and light. Rooted in context that still created a new world behind high walls but worlds that were part of the real world. The Brecon stage aims to update the globe theatre of tudor times with a theatre in the round with a pitched glass roof bringing in awesome force of the weather forcing a new kind of dynamic creativity from directors.

REAL

INSTANT THEATRE

THEATRE

REAL

s the ultra e. It is an l condition surround the with a nvironment their own

LITERALLY REMOVE THE FOURTH WALL
Converting the small house on the site to a theatre I take a litteral slant on Chekhov’s manifesto of removing the fourth wall to create a theatre that shows front and back stage an a unit experience.

CHEKHOV

The Forum captures a large shared garden that opens onto the Brecon beacons, the final public and entirely queer space free from social constructions.

Fredensborg housing complex by utzon has elements of the queer spirit. That every house is arranged to have equal access to south sun and that the garden walls are individually laid captures a sugestion of equality through variety. This is a useful case study to apply to The Forum

UTZON
COMMUNITY

THE FORUM
EMBRACING

HOUSING

Mean openings to communal area Extremely deffensive openings Thorn hedges increace deffensive perimeter

Garages in small dwellings eliminate some social encounters

Colour is one of the most important architectural elements. This project shall use colour as an essential ingridient of the scheme and to communicate that scheme. Rainbows aren’t tacky. They are spectacular.

willful controlled route & short views

remove the 4th wall

shaddowy and exlusive

back to basics

water mirror

voyer behind green curtain

black boxes are fake reconnect theatre with the environment

janus porch with different faces

life withou imposed identity

always encounters

The route connecting the 4 zones is key. It fluxuates and varies as you wander down it strung together by light. From the compressed, private closet to the open, airy forum the natural lighting conditions in the public space fluxuate in step with any rhythm in the spaces. To express This fluxuation I drew a series of “Light Sections” at several stages throughout the scheme. They use trace overlays to show deep shadows and open light areas.

Thing about axons (or isos as they actually are) is that they can’t help but abstract the building so far that it becomes simply a diagram. A challenge for the future.

M

IR

RO

R

PLAN
1:400

CLOSET

MIRROR

STAGE/ PORCH

FORUM

PHIN HARPER Phin Harper 2011 2011

PhinHarper.com

PhinHarper.com

+44 7985470579
phin@phinharper.com
@PhinHarper