Common Threads | Architectural History MA 2020-2021

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This publication is a collation of final dissertation papers submitted by the 2020-21 Architectural History MA cohort, published in conjunction with an online symposium held on 18 November 2021. Keynote speakers at the symposium were Dr Neal Shasore (London School of Architecture), AbdouMaliq Simone (Urban Institute, University of Sheffield), and Dr Sabina Andron (Bartlett School of Architecture). The texts contained in this publication can also be found online at

Symposium Organisers Lettie McKie Shukri Sultan Fawzeyah Alsabah Editors Toby Blackman Harry Lewis Designers Alejandro Carrasco Hidalgo Fawzeyah Alsabah Yixuan Chen Communications Alia Hamadeh Published by The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL 22 Gordon Street London WC1H 0QB Symposium Supervisor Peg Rawes Thanks to the following Bartlett Staff Abi Luter Ruth Evison

Copyright of the texts: the authors; copyright of the images: see p.75. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written consent of the publisher.

+ Table of Contents Common Threads. Intersectional Methodologies of Architectural History

01. Architectural History MA 2020-21 Cohort and academic staff

02. Introduction. Common Threads The Editors The texts in this publication are organised into four approaches to architectural history.

03 Department Store Guise Fawzeyah Alsabah p.16

The intersectional and the everyday

04 Coffee-Women: Cristina Peces Moral p.20

Material Memory

Processes and Practices

05 Narrating Vietgrove Shukri Sultan p.23

Citizenship and Transit

06 Shijing, On the Debris of Shijing Yixuan Chen p.28

07 [e-]Treasure Island Alia Hamadeh p.34

08 Association and Dissociation Leonhard von Reinersdorff p.39

09 From Tropical Architecture to Development Irene Moisis p.46

10 The Ideology of Collage Alejandro Carrasco Hidalgo p.48

11 Decolonising Dulwich Picture Gallery Lettie McKie p.51

12 Quay to the Docks Charles Dixon p.54

13 Mind, Body and Soul Harry Lewis p.60

14 Marseille Toby Blackman p.64

15 Icebreakers and the Switchboard Filippos Toskas p.70

+ Architectural History MA 2020-21 + Fawzeyah Alsabah Toby Blackman Alejandro Carrasco Hidalgo Yixuan Chen Charles Dixon Carmen Downing Alia Hamadeh Harry Lewis Lettie McKie Irene Moisis Cristina Peces Moral Lianne Riback Shukri Sultan Filippos Toskas Leonhard Von Reinersdorff-Paczensky Und Tenczin + 2020-2021 Academic Staff Peg Rawes Sabina Andron Iain Borden Ben Campkin Mario Carpo Edward Denison Polly Gould Barbara Penner Jane Rendell Tania Sengupta Colin Thom Robin Wilson

+ Introduction

Common Threads. Intersectional Methodologies of Architectural History

Common Threads: Intersectional Methods of Architectural History celebrates the diverse positionality, voices and writing of the 2021 Architectural History cohort of The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. As a cohort we formed community amid an open-ended pandemic, researching and writing across continents and countries, regions and cities, forming community across geographic, spatial and temporal localities. The cohort is truly diverse, comprising a representational membership reflected in the subjects and subjectivities formed. Each of our dissertation studies developed specific situated archives, exploring architectural bodies and events through which these materials played out, in varying degrees of attentive lived experience, cadence or representation. This publication gathers together a series of written pieces from the cohort, remaking and remarking upon a diverse set of dissertation studies in the field of architectural history. The work is organised as four intertextual threads that recognise and juxtapose commonality and specificity: The Intersectional and the Everyday; Material Memory; Processes and Practices; Citizenship and Transit. These historiographic processes and practices speak to intersectionality through a-canonical subjects and objects, critical methodologies, and writerly modes: each coming to our subjects and objects of study so as to also reflect on our agency and experience. The Intersectional and the Everyday speaks directly to lived experience in the margins through intersectional feminism and critical race theory and historical narratives. In Material Memory the matter of the archive and its spatial organisation, distribution, form, culture and care are visited, studied and interpreted. Processes and Practices investigates a range of methodological

Introduction 11

and ideological concerns of and for architectural history, from the curatorial to representational space and the spaces of representation. Finally, Citizenship and Transit examines subjects and themes of transit and transition, infrastructure and network, border crossings and cultural exchange, liminal and infrastructural spatio-temporality. Our individual threads collectively employ a variety of historical and critical methodologies – moving our objects of study across empiricism, iconography and iconology, social history, politicized history and theory, intersectional, feminist and queer, operative history, theory and criticism, site-writing and auto-theory. Our threads form provisional, situated knowledges1 of the objects of study, and the subjects and subjectivities of diverse architectural histories. These collected, common threads represent synoptic, reflective fragments, vignettes, and glimpses of far larger, dissertation-based research and writing: historiographic processes which were so carefully nurtured, guided, and fed back upon, that we only hope this publication speaks to this care in some way. Toby Blackman and Harry Lewis

1 Donna Haraway, ‘Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective,’ in Feminist Studies, v.14, n.3. (Autumn, 1988), pp. 575-599, p. 583.

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Introduction 15

Department Store Guise:

The role of female shoppers, thieves and tourists in shaping London West End department store. Fawzeyah Alsabah In the early 19th century, the West End witnessed the emergence of department stores, revolutionary in methods of construction, display and technology; they became a symbol of modern consumerism. Yet, a significant factor of this new shopping space, was increasing female mobility in the city. With access to the metropolis women became the department store most frequent visitors. The West End belonged to women, as claimed by journalists on March 15, 1909.1 Journalists titled that week ‘Women’s Week.’2 This celebration of women was due to the opening of Selfridges, which coincided with Harrods 60th jubilee sale.3 Women, according to historian Erika Rappaport were finally recognised and were a centre of public events.4 Nevertheless, not many decades prior, women were either restricted or faced limitations in exploring their cities. The role of women in the city has been a topic of many gender historians. For instance, Janet Wolf in The Invisible Flaneuse discusses the female stroller or flaneuse.5 A term derived from the 19th-century male stroller: ‘flaneur.’6 According to Wolf and cultural theorist Elizabeth Wilson, the flaneur’s gaze or ‘the male gaze’ continuously viewed women in the metropolis as chaotic, sorrowful or sexual figures.7 This othering of women in the public sphere demonstrates their lack of belonging in the city, and that cities in the early 19th century were not ‘suitable’ for respectable women.8 Nevertheless, the emergence of department stores allowed ‘respectable’ women to visit the city and interact with people and objects unchaperoned by a man.9 1 Erika Diane Rappaport, ‘“A New Era of Shopping”: An American Department Store in Edwardian London,’ in Shopping for Pleasure: Women in the Making of London’s West End (Princeton, NJ, 2000), pp. 142-143. 2

‘Women’s Week in London,’ in The Standard, Tuesday, March 16, 1909.



4 See Erika Diane Rappaport, ‘“A New Era of Shopping”: An American Department Store in Edwardian London,’ in Shopping for Pleasure: Women in the Making of London’s West End. (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2000). 5 Janet Wolff, ‘The Invisible Flâneuse: Women and the Literature of Modernity,’ in Theory, Culture & Society, v.2, n. 3 (November 1, 1985), pp. 37–46. 6

Elizabeth Wilson, ‘The Invisible Flaneur,’ in New Left Review, 1/191, January/February (1992), p. 90.


Ibid, p. 93.

8 Siân Reynolds, ‘Vélo-Métro-Auto,’ in A Belle Epoque?: Women and Feminism in French Society and Culture: 1890-1914, edited by Diana Holmes and Carrie Tarr, 1st edn (Berghahn Books, 2007), pp. 81–94. 9 Janet Wolff, ‘The Invisible Flâneuse: Women and the Literature of Modernity,’ in Theory, Culture & Society, v.2, n. 3 (1 November, 1985), p. 44.

Department Store Guise / Fawzeyah Alsabah 16

From the emergence of department stores to their current shape, it was catering to women’s needs. For instance, one of the first emerging department stores, Whiteley, was owned by a clothes merchant who understood the female shopper’s needs.10 His extension to the original drapery store reflects that understanding. Whiteley store expanded to include green’s groceries and butchery.11 Household shopping or shopping, in general, was perceived as a woman’s responsibility. 12 By placing multiple functions presumed for women under one roof, the department store became the key to entering the metropolis. In this public space, respectable women can visit and not be the centre of male judgment. This dissertation study seeks to distinguish the diverse experiences of women in the department store by addressing historical, political, and social events, which shaped and transformed it through architectural and structural details. Considering London’s West End department stores, my dissertation study questions how the department store architecture and experience have been shaped to accommodate the female experience. In doing so, my study pays particular attention to the female class, appearance, and behaviour, which resulted in the department store’s transformation as a feminine space. In order to argue that the department store form was developed due to the female experience, I introduce three specific behaviours among women: shopper, shoplifter, and tourist. The interlinking factor between these three female roles was the method in which their experience and body in the department store have played a prominent role in its architecture. My dissertation study is divided into three chapters, each based on a period division to illuminate a specific behaviour that was most prominent, whether in newspaper articles or department store reactions. While the behaviours may overlap and intersect, the chronological display of sections help build up the overlapping events that resulted in the department store guise. Chapter one inquires the intended department store client, the female shopper, from 1870 to 1920. I explore the multiple dimensions of creating and enabling the new consumer, including people and objects. This chapter acknowledges the work of historians Bill Lancaster, Wilson and Rappaport to articulate the unique shopping experience offered by the department store through access to various products, entertainment, Innovative architecture and theatrical display methods. Moreover, I introduce the concept of conspicuous consumption in order to demonstrate the alienation of a large group of women, which caused many to act in a ‘sinful’ manner.13 10 Jonathan Glancey, ‘A History of the Department store,’ BBC Culture (March 26, 2015) < com/culture/bespoke/story/20150326-a-history-of-the-department-store/index.html> [Accessed August 24, 2021]. 11 Erika Diane Rappaport, ‘“The Halls of Temptation”: Gender, Politics, and the Construction of the Department Store in Late Victorian London,’ in Journal of British Studies, v.35, n. 1 (1996), pp. 58–83. 12

Ibid., p. 82.

13 Elizabeth Wilson, ‘Fashion and City Life’ in Adorned in Dreams: Fashion and Modernity (London: I. B. Tauris, 2003), p. 150.

Department Store Guise / Fawzeyah Alsabah 17

This alienation leads to the second chapter, the shoplifter. In the second chapter, the chronological display face an obstruction; this deliberate cut through the dissertation study mirrors this chapter’s theme and its perception as an outbreak. In order to have a comprehensive understanding of this outbreak, I incorporate crime author Martin Gill’s theory in discussing the cycle in which women shoplifted. And that is because Gill explores shoplifting from the perspective of the shoplifter. Therefore, this section initiates with understanding the intent of shoplifting, followed by why the West End department stores were targeted and finally, the methods of committing the act and the disposal of the items. I also discuss the store’s reaction to prevent this cycle of theft, the reason for its decline, and the emergence of a new clientele. In my final chapter, I look into the 1960s to contemporary wealthy Arabian Gulf tourists, women of modesty and newfound freedom. I discuss why these women chose the department store and how the store catered to them. This chapter incorporates analysis drawn from sociological, marketing and tourism studies, and most significantly, visiting the West End department store. The store visit helped me recognise how the department store redesigned itself as a reaction to female tourist behaviours. This appeal to women from diverse cultures or in different periods resulted in her experience becoming critical to the store formation or guise. Guise is defined as a method in which something or someone presents themselves. Therefore, there is an aspect of control, controlling what to showcase and what to conceal. This manner of presentation resulted in the department store becoming a feminine space. Thus, this dissertation study displays the irregular patterns the department store adapted to cater to its female clients. I conclude that feminine design features have been created very deliberately concerning how women should feel in the space. Moreover, becoming a feminine space was through the accommodation of needs and adapting with behaviours of women in an extensive timeline.

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+ Illustration by Fawzeyah Alsabah, 2021.

Department Store Guise / Fawzeyah Alsabah 19


The Representation of Femininity in the Free Press and the Role of Women in the ‘Public Sphere’ of London’s Coffee House Culture (1650-1750) Cristina Peces Moral Coffee, the popular caffeinated drink, has an intriguing history in Britain. This exotic beverage arrived in England in 1650, and since then coffee houses have been deeply rooted in our social consciousness as the origin of many modern institutions and corporations. With the emergence of a new middle-class bourgeois society, London coffee houses were associated with the freedom of speech, thinking and the free press. The growth of coffee houses followed the urban and social expansion of the City of London, from their golden era in the old walled city, to their degradation during the 1750s in the new western developments. ‘Coffee-woman’ was a derogatory term used during the seventeenth and eighteenthcentury England for women who owned or worked in coffee houses. This dissertation study investigates the gendered representations of ‘coffee-women,’ developing a feminist architectural history of coffee houses as gendered spaces, which works across literary, culture and urban history. I analyse how the government had the desire to control the freedom of speech in coffee houses; whilst the free press had the aspiration of keeping their culture as true to their origins as possible. There should not be any single image of coffee houses, as well as coffee house-keeping, that deserves to linger most strongly in general social consciousness, as they were as different as the areas in which they flourished. From an urban perspective, it has become evident that the coffee house dissemination process followed the expansion of London itself after the ‘Great Fire,’ growing from the walled city towards the new developments of the west. Due to the coffee house cultural and social attachment to the bourgeois society, once the east and west social disconnection was evident, this rapid western expansion was natural and foreseeable. They spread in space, but also in time and codes of conduct. As in a fluid state, they wandered through the urban space, growing and reinventing themselves as a mirror of their own society. The first coffee houses emerged inside the city during the mid 1600s; the growth continuing along the axis of Fleet Street and The Strand, hand by hand with the development of the free press; and finally made their appearance in Charing Cross and Covent Garden by the 1730’s. A period stretching almost 80 years.

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During this interval, London social structure was transformed from a production-based order into a new consuming-focused society. In such manner, as long as coffee houses were gaining popularity in this new London folklore, they initiated the transition from ‘virtuosi’ centres of knowledge to places of commercialized leisure. As such, coffee houses ceased being a problem for governments and the state, and started being a headache for the honourable and respectable men that until that point enjoyed this well-mannered ‘public sphere.’ Periodicals that were once enthusiastic about these institutions, manifested in their pages the ‘degrading’ cultural tendency of these once dignified establishments. The issue regarding the non-equality of genders was challenged and questioned by writers and philosophers during the first half of the seventeenth century. The masculine ‘public sphere’ against the feminine private one, was confronted by both men and women in writings and pamphlets. While these tendencies in France culminated in the French Revolution, the fierce dominion that intellectual life had over the English ‘public sphere,’ clashed with the endemic lack of education for women. With an education focused on the household and pleasing the male sex, women were not considered cultured enough, and were identified with shallow interests with no place inside the early academic life of coffee houses. Nonetheless, there were few objections to women working or owning such places if they found themselves in need of sustenance, and so widows and lower-class women began to manage coffee houses. In the earliest stages of the coffee house world, there was little evidence of disapproval or controversy about any gender related issue. With the process of the commercialisation of the coffee house, the polite society that had appeared with them shifted. ‘Effeminacy’ taking over coffee houses began to be a major concern, and periodicals started to condemn the appearance of ‘fops’ and ‘beaus’ in their premises. By the beginning of the eighteenth century, the so called ‘effeminate men’ were placed by periodicals in a position between the male and the female figures, beginning a ‘feminization’ of the coffee house that was against the natural order of its society. The ‘virtuosi’ culture was being replaced by shallow behaviours and superfluous conversations usually attached to the female lifestyle and the private sphere. Coffee houses notably connected with this kind of ‘feminine’ attributes were more commonly found in the Covent Garden area, with Will’s and Tom’s Coffee Houses (both in Russell Street) singled out in the Tatler and other periodicals as the places of gathering for the ‘beaus’ of the town. This new type of clientele and their narcissistic behaviour became relevant for the situation of women in the public sphere and ‘coffee-women’ in particular. Not interested in matters of state or trade, they centred their activities in pleasure, leisure and attention. By the turn of the new century, ‘coffee-women’ – sexualized, and objectified as a part of the coffee house culture by these men – began to publicly denounce the treatment they endured in the coffee house press.

Coffee-Women / Cristina Peces Moral


The issue of the respectability in the public sphere became more pronounced in society at the same time as the consumerist culture began to rise from the mid 1600s until the end of the eighteenth century. The politeness and reputability of the coffee house made it possible for women to enter in some fashion into the commercial and business world of the city, even if they never were full equally-educated members of the ‘public sphere.’ But as more women joined the public life of coffee houses, the shift to more capitalistic pleasure-seeking social norms of London’ society had turned these establishments into downgrading places. By the 1750s, coffee houses were common in Covent Garden, and the area became the perfect background to create a disreputable image of the public woman. The conjunction of these situations initiated a regression of women’s involvement in the ‘public sphere,’ and the creation of a revised ideal of the feminine figure, ‘the angel of the house,’ preventing the fulfilment of the proto-feminist ideas of the mid seventeenth century.

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Narrating Vietgrove:

An Analysis of the multiple accounts of the Mangrove Restaurant 1968—1971 Shukri Sultan This dissertation study’s starting premise is that narrative is a site where the conditions of racialised minorities within the city is debated and decided. The narratives examined in this study are those situated within and around No. 8 All Saints Road in Notting Hill, London. No. 8 was home to the illustrious or notorious (depending on who’s narrative you ascribe to) West Indian restaurant, the Mangrove. I examine the events that occurred within the restaurant’s initial four years of life as these were the most volatile and formative in the course of black British history. My analyses of these events are given in three narratives, all told in three different voices: the defendants, the British establishment and my own. Through these three voices I intend to reveal how narrative is simultaneously a site of resistance and a site of subjugation.

The Mangrove restaurant was open between 1968 and 1992. Within these 24 years, the building witnessed the tumultuous change of its surrounding North Kensington neighbourhood. Its walls were graced with a company of acclaimed artist such as Bob Marley and Nina Simone and bore the brunt of violent thumps from the local bobby’s batons. The building was the Caribbean community’s beating heart, the centre of London’s counterculture and the frontline of resistance against police harassment.1 How and why did the Mangrove become the focal point of the bitter fight between the Caribbean community and the police? How did a simple restaurant from Notting Hill become the focus of a 55-day long trial at Britain’s most acclaimed court, The Old Bailey? The trial was the result of the long-term harassment of the restaurant. Within the first few months of its opening the restaurant was repeatedly raided by the police which led to a protest being held in retaliation on the 9th August 1970.2 The protest which descended into a violent clash between the protestors and police, was followed by a highly publicised trial the following October. The defendants, known as the Mangrove Nine were Frank Crichlow, Altheia Jones-LeCointe, Darcus Howe, Rhodan Gordon, Godfrey Millett, Barbara Beese, Rothwell Kentish, Anthony Innis and Rupert Boyce. They were charged for riot and affray, the possession of offensive weapons and multiple accounts of bodily harm to police 1 Robin Bunce and Paul Field, Darcus Howe: A Political Biography, 1st edn (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2014), p. 93 <> 2 Three raids were conducted before the protest was held. However, by beginning of the trial in October 1971 the restaurant would have been raided 12 times by the police.

Narrating Vietgrove / Shukri Sultan


officers. They spent 55 days at the Old Bailey with the aim of not only defending themselves against the charges but to also challenge the false narrative constructed of the Mangrove restaurant and, more broadly, of the Black community of Notting Hill. A narrative which was perpetuated by the police and Britain’s mainstream press. This investigation privileges their narrative, which is titled ‘Vietgrove.’3 Unbeknownst to the Police, this trial would mark the pinnacle of the Black British Power movement, becoming a turning point in the political debate regarding racial discrimination. This trial, and their power over that narrative of the Mangrove, was a battle in which they would come out defeated. I argue that the trial was not only a dispute over narrative but also the terms and conditions of how Black people should live in the city. It was a battle over their visibility and place within the wider British society. The provisional arguments formed in this study argue that the trial of the Mangrove Nine can be read as a contest over narrative and the rights to the city. Extract from ‘Vietgrove Narrative’ …Vietgrove is still a part of England, albeit the relationship between the two has changed. Now an internal colony within the decaying British Empire, sequestered away in a forlorn corner of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. A neighbourhood apart in both its inhabitants, material condition and the conduct of its authoritative powers. The citizens and their establishments have been subjected to unusual brutal rule from the mob that run rampant through this quarter. Defiance and radical methods for a new way of living can be found in the Mangrove restaurant; this is where the locals gather to organise and put up some sort of resistance to the daily harassment they face. Vietgrove is no ordinary neighbourhood: it is a neighbourhood in the midst of revolt. In appearance it resembles any other war-torn colony. Yet the war that is taking place is one with the past. The streets are littered with rubble and broken panes of glass as great swathes of it are being hurled up and swept away to make space for the new future. You will see children playing amongst the debris of the past, chatting and jumping between tyres on the side of Silchester Road.4 Excluded from the private green squares, the children have carved out their own corners of the city by appropriating bomb sites as playgrounds. Free from the tightly controlled Victorian classrooms, they launch themselves off makeshift platforms and gleefully swing in the air.

3 The name originates from a photograph featured on the back page of the TriContinental Outpost a counterculture magazine who regarded themselves the ‘voice of the grass roots.’ The photograph is a close up of the restaurant with a sign in the window reading: ‘This restaurant is regularly raided by police, if you like kicks-visit-us, best food in Vietgrove.’ 'Tri17th June 1970, 'TriContinental Outpost, 'WONG/7/40 Magazine, Black Cultural 4

Charlie Philips. Id no.IN40103

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+ Illustration by Fawzeyah Alsabah, 2021.

Outsiders refer to Vietgrove as a square mile of squalor— a social dustbin5— and consider the Mangrove as the root cause of all the area’s delinquency and vice. And while yes there is squalor, it is false to equate the citizens of Vietgrove to the conditions of their homes. These conditions were not their creation – this area has been in decline since its inception in the mid-nineteenth century. The carving up of its grand terraces into sublets began as early as 18816 and the Irish and Blacks are just the most recent occupants. As authorities clear the streets to make way for a supposedly squalor-free future, they sweep away a section of its current residents. Residents such as Alice Cummerford, who shares one room with her husband and three children.7 A room where water seeps through the ceiling like rain, she fears she will not be rehoused once her home is pulled down as part of the Lancaster Housing development.8 As derelict and damp as it is, it is still one of the only rooms available to Irish and Black residents of Vietgrove.9…


24th May 1968, Hustler, NEW/3/1 – 9 Hustler magazines, George Padmore Institute.

6 ‘The Portobello and St. Quintin estates,’ in Survey of London: Volume 37, Northern Kensington, edited by F. H. W. Sheppard (London: London County Council, 1973), pp. 298-332. British History Online <> [accessed September 11, 2021] 7

24th May 1968, Hustler, NEW/3/1 – 9 Hustler magazines, George Padmore Institute.





Narrating Vietgrove / Shukri Sultan


Shijing, On the debris of Shijing Yixuan Chen

Nostalgia about the 1980s-2000s in Contemporary China This paper aims to analyse the nostalgia about the 1980s-2000s in contemporary China by tracing the semantic change of a single word – Shijing (市井) – in an urban context. As a noun, shijing refers to an urban area where commercial spaces are mixed with residential spaces of ordinary people, full of the hustle and bustle.1 As an adjective, according to the orthodox dictionary Da Cihai, it is used to describe philistine, vulgar and despicable people in the city.2 Conversely, in everyday use, it denotes an urban culture with renqingwei (human touch; 人情味; literally, the taste of human feelings) where the desires and emotions of ordinary people outweigh grand narratives.3 The contradictions and ambiguities of this word reveal the tensions between the elite and the ordinary, and the grandiose and the everyday over the right to the city. Marked as roughly the first twenty years of China’s reform and opening up (from December 1978), the 1980s-2000s are mourned as a lost golden era. Users of the networking website Douban gather on the social media group ‘pretending to live in the 1980-2000’ to share their memories and photos.4 ‘It was a golden age spiritually,’ ‘it was full of hopes,’ ‘it was slow, more real, less commercial,’ ‘it was more open and more inclusive,’ ‘it was full of renqingwei,’ they sighed.5 1

Shifen Zhou, Shijing (市井) (Jinan: Shandong Pictorial Publishing House (山东画报出版社), 2003), p. 15.

2 Da Cihai - Yuci Juan (大辞海 · 语词卷), ed. by Zhili Chen and Zhengnong Xia (Shanghai: Shanghai Lexicographical Publishing House (上海辞书出版社), 2011), p. 3170. 3 Yang Li, ‘‘The Dream of Empire’ and ‘Urbanity.’ The Chinese Story in Along the River during the Qingming Festival (‘帝国梦’与’市井情’:《清明上河图》中的中国故事; ‘Daguo Meng’ Yu ‘Shijing Qing’: Qingming Shanghe Tu Zhong de Zhongguo Gushi),’ Journal of Chinese Literature (中國文學學報), 2 (2011), pp. 85–96 (p. 89); Tao Jiang, ‘On the Rebirth of Shijing Literature and the Discovery of Modernity in the ‘Shijing Tradition’ in the Early 1980s (论 80年代初市井文学的重启与’市井传统’的现代性发现; Lun 80 Niandai Chu Shijing Wenxue de Chongqi Yu ‘Shijing Chuantong’ de Xiandaixing Faxian),’ Journal of Yantai University (烟台大学学报; Yantai Daxue Xuebao), 31.01 (2018), pp. 62–72 (p. 64). 4 Jia Li, ‘Why This Group of Young People Pretend Living in the Past (这群年轻人为什么假装生活在过去; Zhequn Nianqingren Weishenme Jiazhuang Shenghuo Zai Guoqu),’ China Youth Daily (中国青年报), 5 February 2021 <>. 5 ‘Why Do Our Group Members, Who Are Predominantly Born in the 1990s and 2000s, Feel Nostalgic about the 1980s and 1990s? (为什么组内90 00 居多,却对千禧前二十年间有怀恋的感觉呢?; Weishenme Zunei 90 00 Juduo, Que Dui Qianxiqian Ershinian Jian You Huainian de Ganjue Ne?),’ Douban (豆瓣), 2020 <https://www.> [accessed 27 July 2021].

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Based on the premise that social relations have a spatial form, I approach this nostalgic elegy by unfolding its spatial frame.6 To be exact, I will use the dining complex Wenheyou (文和友), known for its vintage-themed ambience of the 80s and 90s, as my primary study site of nostalgia. Situated at the high-end shopping mall Hisense Plaza in Changsha city (the capital of Hunan province), Wenheyou claims that they preserve the shijing culture by duplicating shijing streets, buildings, and food in the city core.7 For them, shijing is a bridge between a past with renqingwei and a current-day without.8 Designed by and for Hunan Wenheyou Culture Development Group, this project has attracted widespread public attention since its opening in 2019. Three years on, it serves an average of 20,000 customers a day and has expanded two more branches to Guangzhou and Shenzhen.9 Furthermore, it is recognised as an exemplary case of Wanghong (Internet Celebrities; 网红) economy, with 108,000 posts written about it on the popular lifestyle social networking platform Xiaohongshu (RED; 小红书). Among these posts, ‘Recommended locations for taking photos’ and ‘Photo-shooting strategies’ are heated topics. Thus, the spread of photos is crucial for Wenheyou’s commercial success – photos by influencers attract real-life customers, who in-turn post images of their visit online.10 Alongside its business success, Wenheyou is nominated for the ‘city for humanity award’ by the influential Sanlian Life Week magazine due to its promotion of ‘the social values and humanitarian concerns in Chinese cities.’11 The nomination speech highlighted the need to shift architecture’s role in the ‘age of consumerism’ – ‘Super Wenheyou in Changsha rejuvenates the diversity of urban street life by representing historical imageries with the ‘sense of authenticity,’ and it also rediscovers the architectural typology in the age of consumerism.’12 Previous descriptions reveal that shijing plays a significant role in the spatial frame of nostalgia. It is simultaneously regarded as a part of the irreversibly lost ‘golden age’ (in the urban dimension) and a feasible cure for this loss (in Wenheyou). I define shijing as an urban area where ordinary middle- and lower-class people dwell. At the junction between urban nostalgia and nostalgic building, shijing can be employed to scrutinise these contemporary nostalgias. And, more explicitly, I regard shijing as an evaluative tool to read people’s right to the city. In doing so, I problematise the acclaimed ‘authenticity’ of nostalgia in Wenheyou 6

Doreen B. Massey, Space, Place, and Gender (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994), p. 120.


长沙文和友 _(Changsha Wenheyou), WeChat <> [accessed 29 July 2021].


长沙文和友 _(Changsha Wenheyou).

9 Peiyin Yu, ‘Revealing Wenheyou: How to Create Queues with Queues (揭秘文和友:怎样用排队创造排 队),’ 2021 <> [accessed 13 June 2021]. 10


11 Sanlian Life Week Magazine, ‘City for Humanity Awards ( 人文城市奖; Renwen Chengshi Jiang)’ <> [accessed 6 August 2021]. 12 Ran Jiang and Yiwu Zhang, ‘‘Number 60,000’ Proves the ‘Mode of Wenheyou’ Is a Convincing Urban Innovation (‘6 万号’证明’文和友模式’ 是有说服力的城市创新),’ National Business Daily, 2021 <> [accessed 6 August 2021].

On the Debris of Shijing / Yixuan Chen


by questioning its authorship and readership – that is, who defines the nostalgia, to whom does the nostalgia belongs, and how does this nostalgia retain or redefine the right to the city? Relying on visual materials I gleaned from my field trip and social media, I build my argument through visual analyses. I concentrate on how visual encounters between viewers, images, and surroundings represent collaborative acts of interactive meaning-making.13 Film forms a site of meaning production in this dissertation study, and the formation of a fictional flaneuse’ journey searching for shijing in Wenheyou. The film represents multiple, changing authorship in a series of visual encounters, and generates plural dialogue. The following texts are the extracted scripts from the video:

那么市井是什么呢? So, what is ‘shijing’ exactly? 一种感觉 A feeling. 规则的反面、宏大的反面。 …… The opposite of rules, the opposite of grandeur. 文和友展示了这一切, _ Wenheyou shows all this. 然我知道,这都是虚假的。 _ Yet, I know that it is all false. 这种虚假感首先从边界向我坍缩、将我包围。 _ This sense of falsity first collapses towards me and envelops me from the boundary. ……

13 Olga Belova, ‘The Event of Seeing: A Phenomenological Perspective on Visual Sense‐Making,’ Culture and Organization, 12.2 (2006), pp. 93–107 (pp. 104–5) <>.

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在虚假与真实的世界之间游走, _ Moving between the world of the fake and the real, 往复于市井与非市井的辖域。 _ In and out of the precincts of shijing. 虚假催生的首先是一种晕眩。 _ Falsehood spawns, above all, a dizziness. …… 晕眩,是一个中性的词汇。 _ Dizziness is a neutral word. …… 晕眩在真与假之间产生, _ Dizziness arises between the real and the fake, 指向一种不确定的自由状态, _ pointing towards a state of indeterminate freedom 使人游离在束缚、枷锁与压迫之外。 _ that makes one wander beyond bondage, chains and oppression. 而一旦晕眩成为被凝视的对象。 _ …… And once dizziness becomes the object of the gaze, 其本身就又落入了一种确定性。 _ It falls back into a determinacy in itself. …… 它不会再发出沉重的悲鸣。 _ It no longer utters a heavy mournful cry.

On the Debris of Shijing / Yixuan Chen


…… 当我想用英语来解释’市井’的时候,我发觉语言是无力的。 _ When I try to explain ‘shijing’ in English, I find that words become feeble. 这种无力感,与其说是来自一种退却,倒不如说—— This feebleness comes not so much from a retreat as from … _ 是一种极速的甩荡。 _ a kind of swirling swing. 我无法找到一种合适的语言,去描述—— I cannot find the right words to describe 街道被一句私语唤醒, _ How the street is awakened by a whisper, 一张脸在热馄饨的蒸汽中消失, _ a face disappeared amid the steam of hot dumplings, 一阵答答的脚步声。 _ and the sound of footsteps, tip-tap, tip-tap. 在一阵被时代变迁甩荡后产生的眩晕中, _ In a dizzying hallucination after the swirling swinging of our times, 深夜回望 _只洒下点点光影。 _ A late-night look back, spilling only a little light. 有谁被遗忘? _ Has anyone been forgotten?

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Name: Shijing, on the Debris of Shijing Duration: 05:12 Narrator: The Flaneuse

On the Debris of Shijing / Yixuan Chen


[e-]Treasure Island:

E-scrap Mining and New Ore Extraction at Naoshima Alia Hamadeh

Orepocentric adventures To wit, the current smartphone generation is simultaneously the future mineral deposits for the flexible mine.1 By drawing on environmental scientist Freyja L. Knapp’s concept of the flexible mine, we can take the smelter’s mode of extraction and its material resources produced, as a

way to understand the extractive governance of the Benesse art site. The disarticulation from the geophysical, which allows greater flexibility in their location, and adaptability to the increasing environmental restrictions which traditional mining had to negotiate. Her definition of disarticulation has interesting implications for architecture because it places refinery buildings as the new fixities for the flexible mine which are sustained by the global and mobile collection points of materials. Thus, we can understand the convenient role of architecture as something which does not need to physically resemble a mine, thereby making extractive processes blend in with other modes of production. Yet, it houses a reclaiming of wealth which ensures it is pinned down in a spatial network of commodity production. Its dependence on previously mined materials to exist, is thus an extension of this form of extraction, as it affords them multiple more lives through recycling. Octopus Mine The figure of the octopus, its nimble arms sprawled across a Setouchi Triennale 2019 poster themed on Restoration of the Sea and its 12 islands with Naoshima at the centre; the starting point for conceiving Knapp’s flexible mine as an octopus mine gathers at the intersection of notions of flexibility and resourcefulness. This species, able to self-amputate, restore limbs and its severed limbs to even hunt independently; continues the conversation of the ore, raising questions of embodiment and consciousness in the movement of materials. These traits can also be found in symbolic representations of the Octopus 1 Freyja L. Knapp, ‘The Birth of the Flexible Mine: Changing Geographies of Mining and the e-Waste Commodity Frontier,’ in Environment and Planning A 48, n. 10 (2016): 1890 <https://doi. org/10.1177/0308518X16652398> [accessed August 15, 2021].

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(akkorokamui) in Shintoism as aquatic deities of regeneration and transformation.2 The octopus, which ‘threatens boundaries’3 and is chosen to front the island-hopping nature of Benesse’s Triennale, allows us to read how Knapp’s flexible mine might be embodied and act with spatial agency. Alongside this visual is a schematic illustration produced by the Mitsubishi Corporation in which their method of copper smelting at Naoshima is depicted. Both images depict a conflated anthropomorphism to combine human and non-human elements in the capitalistled reorganisation of space. Rather than illustrating ‘…conventional anthropomorphic depictions, in which non-human beings are simply used for their cute shapes to tell an allegory of the human world…’,4 its allocation of human and non-human also reflects an economic hierarchy and the allocation of value. The volcanic rock is the most animated entity, embodying mechanical arms and gurgitating, as if endlessly, copper ores. To consider the fact that the e-scrap mine increasingly moves away from such depictions of an outdoor, open-ore mine in the landscape, architecture insulates this metallurgical

process of urban mining and the ‘infinite recyclability of metals.’5 Not only taking nature into the laboratory, as Rachel Carson holds,6 but by holding it hostage in the process of endless recycling. In turn, corporations that precipitated the environmental damage in the first place, sustain their power and agency, focusing on innovative futures as a tabula rasa, in an attempt to sidestep their controversial legacies. Ore-bits In order to understand how modes of extraction might be visualised in the Benesse art site beyond the Mitsubishi industrial grounds, I will next look at the Benesse House Museum, Oval, and a few elements of the Teshima Art Museum which also belongs to the extended art site. Central to these buildings are the large, circular, architectural voids through which the landscape is framed, and a contemporary local aesthetics of eco-tourism is developed. If we look at these architectural forms as part of a contemporary extractive landscape, this shape of the hole is cued by geographer Gavin Bridge as ‘a space of ecological appropriation’ in which human-nature relationships are re-envisioned.7 Moreover, he marks them as ‘wormholes’ and disjunct thresholds indicative of where resources are known to 2

‘Akkorokamui,’ Yokai, 2021, <> [accessed August 15, 2021].


Amia Srinivasan, ‘The Sucker, the Sucker!’ in London Review of Books 39, n. 17 (2017) p. 1.

4 Shiho Satsuka, ‘Sensing Multispecies Entanglements: Koto as an “Ontology” of Living,’ in Social Analysis 62, no. 4 (2018) p. 79 <> [accessed August 15, 2021]. 5 Mazen Labban, ‘Deterritorializing Extraction: Bioaccumulation and the Planetary Mine,’ in Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 104, n. 3 (2014), p. 561 <> [accessed August 15, 2021]. 6

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, (London: H. Hamilton, 1963), pp. 1-30.

7 Gavin Bridge, ‘The Hole World: Scales and Spaces of Extraction,’ in New Geographies 02, Landscapes of Energy (2009), p. 45.

[e-]Treasure Island / Alia Hamadeh


+ Teshima Art Museum exterior (August 2018). Photograph. Author’s image.

[e-]Treasure Island / Alia Hamadeh


lie.8 To him, the hole is also a space of materiality; a mediating portal between cycles of natural time and modern capitalism’s accelerated time in which it harnesses and transforms the concentrated energies latent in natural materials. The concept of ‘planetary aesthetics’ is put forward by Peg Rawes, through the work of Spinoza,9 as the role of geometry as a form of ratio, or rational design system in which relational reasoning may take place.10 This planetary aesthetic has been credited in part to the first NASA satellite images of the Earth in the 1960s which greatly influenced visualisations of our planet in relation to the universe. It can further articulate the idea of circular geometries which help visualise a rationale of extractive design systems; channelling carbonic, solar, and mineral energies embodied in the natural landscape. It is also called an Oval, from the Latin word for egg, ovus, a shape symmetrical across one axis and not the other. Unlike an ellipsis, the related or more ‘perfect’ geometric form which is symmetrical at both ends. Through inferring this organic form, the building alludes to geometric forms of an organic order and is imbued with something akin to the imperfect but highly sought world of ore. Furthermore, its self-containment suggests the openings as planetary spaces which appear to operate autonomously. If we turn to look at the map of the Oval, the main circulation space reveals views are obstructed both into the void space from its surrounding rooms and to anywhere else but the sky from within it. Two staircase passages of entry into this space are also connected to an outer concentric orbit, with no openings onto the rest of the building. These qualities enhance the self-contained nature of the building, and more formally restrict the relationship to nature for inhabitants, as spectators. From its centre, the glazed walls of the rooms are oriented to the sea in a radial motion, as if directing the hole outward, a source of energy seeping through transparent materials. It appears to visualise the hole as a source of emerging energy derived from its connection to the natural landscape. Yet, the Oval is contained by the inner ring of opaque concrete, a blind spot to which the six spaces are tethered.


Ibid. p. 45.

9 Peg Rawes, ‘Planetary Aesthetics,’ In Landscape and Agency: Critical Essays, edited by Ed Wall and Tim Waterman, 1st edn (Oxford: Routledge, 2018), pp. 78-89. 10 Peg Rawes, ‘Aesthetic Geometries of Life,’ Textual Practice 33, no. 5 (2019), pp. 787–802 < /10.1080/0950236X.2019.1581685> [accessed August 15, 2021].

38 Architectural History MA 2020-21

Association and Dissociation

Relations around Monumental Architecture in Post-Independence Côte D’Ivoire: Explored through the Basilica of our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro. Leonhard von Reinersdorff When looking at Our Lady of Peace, most observers immediately think of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, because the image of St. Peter’s is so well known, and the parallels are clearly legible through the elements of the dome, colonnade, and baldachin. ‘This “legibility” […] plays a social role as well, as it embodies elements that lead to the emergence of collective memories and symbols.’1 These collective memories and symbols in turn can be evoked by referencing architectural elements or using decorative apparatus like the Greco-Roman classical orders, which constitutes a semiotic language. Something we call an architectural ‘style.’ We therefore must see ‘“styles” as tools for delineating relationships and differences in design concepts and precedents,’2 especially if they are so deliberately applied like in the Basilica’s case, which speaks a European architectural language and thereby references European civilisation’s Greco-Roman foundation, social order, and colonising imperative. Language has been a major point of discussion in the post-colonial period. Some demanded ‘to fend off all foreign domination of African culture,’3 including colonial languages, seen as neither original nor authentic to Africa. ‘But not all African writers were in agreement that literature written in European languages by Africans is necessarily illegitimate and colonial. Some writers insisted that colonialism was a reality, that to critique it is to recognise it.’4

The Basilica is also caught up in this debate. Its style allows different interpretations. On one hand, ‘it differentiates the architectural taste, cultural orientation, and social affiliation of’ president Félix Houphouët-Boigny ‘who felt that he was fully assimilated into the French culture,’ distinct ‘from those who have not been fully assimilated.’5 This viewpoint addresses the Eurocentric educational enculturation of the president and the West African elite, implying a cultural, economic, and political inferiority complex internalized through the colonial experience, which the monument is meant to compensate for. ‘It falls within the 1

Zeynep Çelik, Urban Forms and Colonial Confrontations (Berkeley: University of California, 1997), p. 2.


Nnamdi Elleh, Architecture and Power in Africa (Westport: Praeger, 2002), p. 12.

3 Okwui Enwezor, ed., The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, 1945-1994 (Munich: Prestel, 2001), p. 13. 4

Ibid., p. 14.


Nnamdi Elleh, Architecture and Power in Africa (Westport: Praeger, 2002), p. 160.

Association and Dissociation / Leonhard von Reinersdorff


category of the discourse that Jean-Paul Sartre described as “anti-racist’s racism,”’6 against their own society. On the other hand, the Basilica fits into the narrative of ‘Sartre’s thesis that the language of the colonialist could be used to overthrow the colonialist.’7 Fakhoury’s comparative drawings emphasising the bigger scale of Yamoussoukro’s Basilica than three major European churches, can be seen in this framework of overcoming colonial Europe through its own architectural terms. From a technical perspective, Fakhoury’s design is modern, but by placing itself in a historical line of succession with St. Peter’s in Rome and other ‘duomos,’8 the Basilica leaves the boundaries of modernism, which it claimed to be free from history and ideology.9 Because French colonial architecture in Côte d’Ivoire was mainly modernist, it is clear that the Basilica’s language therefore targeted a relationship with Catholicism, which – in Houphouët’s eyes – was Roman. With this strong focus on Roman Catholic architectural heritage, he produced an architecture that was more European than anything the colonisers had built in Côte d’Ivoire. But it is too simple to equate the Eurocentric historicism of the Basilica with neo-colonialism, while conversely ascribing ideas of independence, selfconfidence and decoloniality to African post-independence modernism, represented by Spirito’s design. ‘In actual fact the architecture of [Late] Modernism was never neutral’ as it was practised by architects, trained in a foreign architectural canon. ‘Their builders truly believed themselves to be producing the antithesis of the colonial legacy, yet they tended to recoup all of the characteristics of the colonial projects.’10 The Yamoussoukro masterplan by Cacoub is a great example. Theorists of multiple modernities add that modernity did not arise without the colonial encounter and was not something invented in Europe and then exported. Instead, modernity is a globally shaped phenomenon, formed in the local context within the framework of European imperialism and colonialism. International relations that manifest through the Basilica, place the building, at the same time, outside and within the cultural economies of both Europe and Africa, making any binary judgement insufficient. Thinking of the building’s relationship with its own context, Elleh points out that ‘Fakhoury’s choice was not made because it was the necessary architectural design for a basilica in the Cote d’Ivoire.’11 The building could have been designed in an Ivorian style; West Africa has its own architectural vocabulary. ‘The design outcome […] would have been considerably different if it had been intended for an African audience.’12 Instead, the stained-glass windows, inspired by French gothic art, only include 6



Ibid, p. 237.


Yann Arthus-Bertran, et al, La Basilique (Brussels: Mardage, 1993), p. 12.

9 Cf. Manuel Herz, ‘The New Domain,’ in African Modernism: The Architecture of Independence: Ghana, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Zambia, (Zurich: Park Books, 2015), p. 10. 10

Nnambi Elleh, Architecture and Nationalism in Africa (Westport: Greenwood, 2002), p. 243.


Ibid., p. 109.


Ibid., pp. 109-10.

40 Architectural History MA 2020-21

+ Illustration by Fawzeyah Alsabah, 2021.

Association and Dissociation / Leonhard von Reinersdorff


one African amongst many white figures, which looks distinctly like President Houphouët himself, underrepresenting the African in the depicted Biblical narratives. This lack of representation leads to inaccessibility and lack of identification for the local. ‘This is one of the major fallacies of the Yamoussoukro monument: It identifies itself with the European Middle Ages and Renaissance, but it wants nothing to do with African history beyond its “wildlife and color.”’13 Indeed, the oppression and negligence of African culture and identity is a central problem of coloniality continued by the Basilica. Frantz Fanon’s famous characterisation Black Skin, White Masks depicts how, through European dominance, education and assimilation strategies, Africa grew culturally alienated to itself. ‘Mask and skin, when taken together, suggest a tension, a duality of being. The mask covering the skin, a deceptive play of willed versus natural identity.’14 The Basilica can be seen as such a white mask. But Partha Mitter reminds the Westerner to be careful not to apply a double-standard. From the Economist’s standpoint, Houphouët’s Basilica represents a ‘monumental symbol of his Europeanness,’15 indicating a loss of self as an African, in contrast to ‘Picasso, whose use of African sources did not compromise his integrity as a European artist.’16 In my understanding both the Basilica and Houphouët remain rooted in their historic, African context. We should not confuse the masked with the complete identity. Therefore, I argue that the intentions behind creating such a mask are much more meaningful than the image it portrays. In the case of Houphouët’s Basilica, the mask was not imposed but deliberate and intentional, as the rejection of the modernist design proves. These intentions are related firstly to the building’s reference and address, Europe, attracting tourists and representing personal and African ability, and secondly to its position, Africa, attracting pilgrims and giving a sense of dignity to Africans. I wish to highlight that Yamoussoukro and the Basilica were intended as ‘part of a network of tourist facilities that were to span across the country.’17 A map showing the flight connections available from Abidjan shows Côte d’Ivoire suddenly at the centre of an international network. The cases of Abidjan and Yamoussoukro, and many other young African cities, exemplify how ‘through [airports, churches and] luxury hotels these countries strove for normalization and de-provincialization.’18 Overall, this dissertation shows how the basilica, with its foreign style and isolated monumentality, complicates a sense of belonging or ownership for local Ivorians. It also contributes to the Our Lady of Peace’s process of decolonisation. 13

Ibid, p. 122.


Jonathan Noble, African Identity in Post-Apartheid Public Architecture, (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), p. 7.


‘Le Vieux Est Mort: Côte d’Ivoire’, The Economist 329, no. 7841 (11 December 1993), p. 45.

16 Partha Mitter, ‘Decentering Modernism: Art History and Avant-Garde Art from the Periphery,’ in The Art Bulletin, v. 90, no. 4 (1 December 2008), p. 537. 17 Manuel Herz, ‘Project of a Nation: The African Riviera and the Hôtel Ivoire’, in African Modernism: The Architecture of Independence: Ghana, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Zambia (Zurich: Park Books, 2015), p. 387. 18

Ibid., p. 387.

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Association and Dissociation / Leonhard von Reinersdorff


From Tropical Architecture to Development: The Inception and Evolution of UCL’s Development Planning Unit & its Influences within International Development Policy Irene Moisis Architectural Historian Mark Crinson viewed Tropical Architecture as an intermediate space between colonialism and globalisation. Recent developments in British politics would support this assessment, including the current focus on Global Britain as a replacement for International Development and the ever-increasing emphasis on global trade rather than development aid. If this is the case, then is it fair to say that Tropical Architecture has lost its place in the world? For all intents and purposes the objectives which were collected under the heading of Tropical Architecture are now redundant – the idea of designing for a climate has been largely accepted by the global design community so no longer needs advocates, and the function of disseminating knowledge abroad has been made significantly easier with the advent of the internet and the increasing affordability of air travel. Clearly, the problems that the DPU were set up to address no longer exist in their original form. However, novel, and related issues have materialised in the decades since. There is a much higher level of global conflict than before the Second World War, and weapons have continued to advance, which have created a need for a new method for postconflict reconstruction. Inequalities have also continued to widen alongside technological advancement develop while disaster management has continued to evolve to face the ever-growing threat of climate-related natural disasters. Poverty continues to persist, exasperated by worsening housing crises and growing populations, and many countries are suffering from outdated infrastructures and urban plans. These create numerous new architectural problems which need to be resolved however, to a broad extent, the DPU has moved on from built development and left a vacuum in its place. So where does this leave us with regards to architectural aid and built development? Aid funding for architecture and built development is practically non-existent in the UK, with a focus instead on broader urban development and/or infrastructure development. There also remains a wider concern with development policy in that the narrative continues to focus on poverty alleviation rather than development as a tool for security or stability. The history of the DPU demonstrates that Government is willing to respond to and support innovative industry initiatives. This admittedly requires the relevant structures and relationships to be in place, but architectural modernism clearly influenced technical assistance and built development policy in the 1970s and there is scope for greater

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influence in the future. The difficulty then is how to design sensitive architectural solutions and administer (and/or assess) them in a positive way. This could be developed by the DPU (which today is far more established) supported by a much stronger network of development institutions and organisations than have ever existed before. The one thing that becomes clear through the history of the DPU is that Government assurances that changes to the Machinery of Government, such as merging departments, won’t affect quality of development are highly questionable. The DPU has been disrupted at each point by departmental restructurings and this is likely indicative of similar issues within other organisations. In order for the DPU to be successful, it must operate within a Governmental structure which is stable and supports its work. The early strength of the DPU depended on its significant tripartite engagement with worldleading architects, government officials and, elected representatives. This put it in an ideal position to innovate internally and influence Government, which is perhaps a model that should be reconsidered now as one to aspire to. One key evolution is that the DPU now emphasise their students as one of their key exports. Although as a Unit it has moved away from consultancy to focus on research, the students are taught practical knowledge which they are encouraged to apply to real world situations after they graduate. This creates a strong network of DPU alumni who continue to ‘consult,’ despite the formal consultancy element’s absence from the institution. They also created a separate organisation, DPU Associates. It is made up of ex-DPU members who operate at an arm’s length while still being associated with the institution. Since the DPU is no longer financially independent from wider UCL, this resolves some of the issues related to funding and income of consultancy projects. Combining this with their previous approach to Government influence may constitute a way forward for the DPU. Aggregate, the Architectural History Collective, believe in “the idea of architecture governing conduct—mediating power—through networks and norms, frames of action and possibility that flow through all scales from the body to the home to the city to the globe, at the hands of not just the state but also individuals and institutions.”1 For some of our current global problems to be resolved, institutions like the DPU need to recognise their influence through architecture, both domestically and abroad, to help mediate power and continue to develop a more equal, less imperialist world.

1 Daniel Abramson, Arindam Dutta, Timothy Hyde and Jonathan Massey, ‘Architecture, Economy, and Politics in the Twentieth Century,’ in Governing by Design, ed. Aggregate Architectural History Collective (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012), p. 7.

From Tropical Architecture to Development / Irene Moisis


The Ideologies behind Architectural Flatness Digital Collage as a Contestational Device in the Early 2000’s Alejandro Carrasco Digital collage has been a popular representational technique for many years. Despite this, it was not directly addressed as a matter of interest until 2017, when Sam Jacob, co-founder of the British practice, FAT Architecture, wrote an article for the digital magazine Metropolis. In the text he explained the reasons behind the digital collage’s rise. He argued that digital collage was a reaction against ‘digital’ realistic rendering tools as, in his opinion, they informed too much of architects’ designs. Because of their excessive realism, these tools ‘position [architects] within a predetermined idea of space.’ ‘In these types of space the act of drawing is a Cartesian given.’ According to his ideas, the advance of technology was exponentially leading towards design-precision, that would reduce the speculative value of drawings. If we compare them, realistic renderings have limited artistic potential because they just replicate soon to be built architectures. However, collages do not just reproduce reality but also enormously help people to conceive space; their compositional process enable a richer interaction between architect’s hand and mind. What Jacob described was therefore a confrontation between two worlds that once seemed to be distant: realistic renderings as the image of the Digital, and digital collages as the image of the post-Digital. Realism and replication vs abstraction and creation. The intention of rehabilitating drawing as an act independent from reality helped to breathe life into creative processes of the pre-digital-world. And this rehabilitation precedes the use of digital collage. Basically, post-digital collages are a digital reinterpretation of a method that has been alive since 1911 or 1912,1 moments in which Braque and Picasso first started cutting material fragments to combine them over a plain surface. As part of their Analytical Cubism, these artists used collage to translate three-dimensional features into two-dimensionality while claiming that - like painting – it had the ability to explore an ‘art of representation and illusion.’2 Through their work, the veracity of flatness which exceeded the representation of real three-dimensionality was established as an independent field of action. In Greenberg’s words: ‘Painting had to spell out, rather than pretend to deny, the physical fact that it was flat.’3 Emerging digital collage pursued the same objective, despite its different underlying technologies. 1

Clement Greenberg, Art and culture: critical essays (Boston: Beacon Press, 1961), p. 77.


Ibid, p. 71.



48 Architectural History MA 2020-21

+ The Possibility of an Island (2018). Collage, author’s image.

The Ideologies behind Architectural Flatness / Alejandro Carrasco


The fundamental difference between the analogue and the digital lies in the nature of the elements that compose the ‘depicted flatness’ of digital collage. Analogue collages employ material chunks sourced from physical objects that possess required visual properties, whereas digital collages are made possible by accumulations of electronic fragments that were once part of other digitalised (art)works. The process by which these samples are put together is fundamentally the same in both cases, a simple operation of cutting, pasting and recombining. The difference is that hands and scissors were substituted in Photoshop by the early 2000’s. However, Digital collage’s real innovation is the almost infinite availability of electronic samples for use by the artist. The digitalisation of the operation altogether with the increase of usable materials drive us to another enabling reason for the advent of PoDi collage— technological momentum. The early noughties saw the consolidation of tools for vectorial design and photo-editing, but also the rise of digital platforms for massive image dissemination. The development of the former, whose most obvious example is Adobe’s “Photoshop,” began in the mid-1980s and became prolific in design and creative environments during the 1990s. Photoshop was first employed in architectural production in the early 2000s. It is no accident that its architectural use coincided with the arrival of massive online image repositories. The launch of Google Images in 2001 and the growing capacity of online data storage helped to root images into the furtive soil of the internet, something which is now an everyday part of our lives. Architects at that point were presented with an unprecedented opportunity: a near infinite supply of visual resources at their fingertips. Data storage and digital copy-pasting, which lie behind the dynamics of digital collage, present memory as a key factor for the emergence of digital flatness. They do so in two ways: the recovery of past materials to compose the future and the accumulation of information which enables the reactivation of those materials. The editing factor makes it possible to compare the logics behind digital collage with other digital artistic processes. To sample music is to cut a fragment of a song and reuse it in another musical piece. To use samples, they first must be extracted from their source in the form of speech, melody, or rhythm, and can be later edited in different forms by speeding up or slowing down parts, or through layering. Those samples are finally assembled with the help of hardware (samplers) or digital software. Digital collage is a process of visual sampling. For collagers, the samples are the incoming visual fragments obtained from existing images. Once they are extracted from their origin, they are put together to compose the new image when, and if, needed. They can be enlarged, reduced, coloured, or brightened through image editing software. This cut-paste-edit-assembly process has one direct consequence: samples are extracted and decontextualised from their original location and inserted into a new composition, where their meaning is dissolved and reconstructed to fit new desires. They may keep their visual attributes, but their intrinsic message changes, a fact that positions the whole operation of collage as a process of constant resignification through assembly.

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Decolonising Dulwich Picture Gallery:

revealing systemic racism in the history of England’s first purpose-built public art gallery through a ficto-critical encounter with its archive Lettie McKie This dissertation study asks new questions of a familiar building, Sir John Soane’s Dulwich Picture Gallery (1817). As one of Soane’s most famous buildings, the Gallery has been written about extensively. However, I revisit it in light of the urgent contemporary issue of systemic racism within public art institutions. Existing histories of the building have tended to focus on its technical achievements, its stylistic placement within the canon of European art, its significance in Soane’s oeuvre and its influence upon art gallery design in the 20th century. It is England’s first purpose-built public art gallery and yet, focusing almost exclusively on the building’s design, these histories lack a thorough investigation into the experience of visitors themselves, telling us little of the life of the Gallery.1 I follow Peg Rawes who ‘contribute[s] to architecture on the basis that it is located in society,’ as I share her belief that it is ‘lived as an experience that is embedded in existing structures.’2 In the immediate aftermath of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 the notion of anti-racism has emerged into mainstream discourse. As a result, many art galleries have publicly acknowledged entrenched structural inequality and have posted antiracist statements promising to confront these issues head on.3 At this moment of reckoning, institutions are rethinking their past in order to decolonise. Dulwich Picture Gallery’s origins are idiosyncratic, the curious facts of its existence often remarked on. Therefore, the Gallery has developed a particularly intense mythology of its own history. The founding story is retold continually and yet the founders’ motivations have been infrequently analysed. In considering the urgent question of how systemic racism is to be dismantled within our institutions, it is essential to unpick Eurocentric notions of the taste and legacy of the people 1 See Giles Waterfield, ‘Dulwich Picture Gallery,’ in Sir John Soane Master of Space and Light, edited by Margaret Richardson and MaryAnne Stevens (London: Royal Academy, 1999), pp.174-179, Ptolemy Dean, Sir John Soane’s London (Hampshire: Lund Humphries, 2006), pp.55-61, and John Summerson, Georgian London (London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd, 1945), pp. 144-5. 2 Lili Zarzycki, ‘Interview with Peg Rawes,’ in the Architectural Review, 11 March 2021, <https://www.> [accessed 30 August 2021] 3 See ‘Anti Racist Action,’ Whitworth Manchester, < antiracistaction/> [accessed 4 September 2021], and ‘Anti-racism Statement,’ Serpentine Galleries <https://www.> [accessed 4 September 2021]

Decolonising Dulwich Picture Gallery / Lettie McKie


who founded them. I therefore believe the time is right to revise the history of Dulwich Picture Gallery’s founding and subsequent public life. I trace this history through research at the Gallery and Dulwich College archives, my sources chosen to reveal visitors’ experiences of the space as a destination for arts appreciation and education. In this way, I use Dulwich Picture Gallery as a case study for exploring how art institutions can re-evaluate their own histories in the service of anti-racism. I use a site-writing methodology of figuration, after postmodernist feminist philosopher Rosi Braidotti. This methodology allows me to present a history of the Gallery that is purposefully inflected by my own situated lived experience. Drawing on practices of fictocriticism within architectural history I blend two distinct writing styles. One is formal, solidly academic— a conventional style for writing essays with. The second is creative non-fiction prose and it has a contemplative, poetic quality. Renderings of walks I have taken as part of my research are integral to the text. These are presented as a cartography by laying out descriptive text, photographs and historic maps on the page. Through this I locate the Gallery as an historic object within the city, retracing journeys taken to and through it by the public over 200 years. Drawing on the historicisation of the Gallery space as a British heritage asset, the actions of historic characters invoked from the archive are delineated by a ‘Soane Red’ colour, derived from that of the Gallery walls. This reanimation of source material has the potential to subvert it. In this I am inspired by the work of Saidiya Hartman who, as Jane Rendell explains, uses a methodology of ‘critical fabulation as a way of doing decolonial history.’4 Braidotti promotes figuration as a methodology which can be used to ‘critique Eurocentrism from within’5 and the efficacy of such an approach to the problem of ‘dominant visions of the subject, identity and knowledge’6 will be central to my consideration of the antiracist responsibilities of an ‘Old Master’ art gallery within 21st century London. This methodology is therefore conceived in order to destabilise the Gallery’s history, to question its founding mythology, revealing and challenging the ways in which it has been presented to the world. Railton Road Each step in the city is a choice, a potential composition to be caught on camera. Leaving the Gallery, I walk home along Railton Road. I pass neat rows of terraced houses, all bricks and bay windows. I notice youth centres, pubs, play schemes, a front garden filled with flowers. All made by people, all loved, all precarious. This is a road with a unique history, one that is rooted in black community activism and LGBTQ+ liberation. I pass number 167, a blue plaque commemorating it as the home of writer and activist C.L.R. James. The road 4 Jane Rendell, ‘Marginal Modes: Positions of Architecture Writing,’ in the Architectural Review, 3 August 2020 <https ://> [accessed 7 August 2021] 5 Rosi Braidotti, Nomadic Subjects: Embodied and sexual difference in contemporary feminist theory (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011), p. 7. 6

Ibid., p. 8.

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+ Railton Road (2021). Photograph, author’s image.

is gentrified, tinged with loss. It has been called ‘the frontline,’ the place where Brixton’s ‘social uprisings of 1981 and 1985 began.’7 This is a name that embodies residents’ perseverance and solidarity in the face of racism and police brutality, a history that cannot be contained by bricks and mortar. Instead, it exists in the memories of those who lived it, such as poet Linton Kwesi Johnson and activist Melba Wilson.8 I think about lives in a community, intermingling like the scent of flowers on a hot day, fleeting but essential. Railton Road’s history is remembered in the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton. Items held there reveal many years of grassroots politics, protests and education projects. The archive holds a plethora of art, books, magazines, newspapers, pamphlets and other ephemera connected with this road and Brixton itself, revealing the story of a place on the periphery of the Gallery, that is its own centre.

7 Sireita Mullings Lawrence, ‘Voices from the Front Line: Young People Interrogating Railton Road’s Heritage,’ in Photography and Culture 12:3 (2019), pp. 337-350, (p. 338). 8

Ibid., (p. 339).

Decolonising Dulwich Picture Gallery / Lettie McKie


Quay to the Docks:

An Archival Exploration of Surrey Quays and Rotherlithe. Charles Dixon Excerpt from ‘Hauntology’ This new image archive reveals a desolation; a decay of a future that never arrived. The architectures, and extensive methods of planning: the delineation of public and private space, the inclusion of specific historical artefacts, the pseudo-folly architectures, and the forced townscape contribute to overall phenomena. One may suggest that this intangible effect of such urban design can be closely tied to the idea of the ‘Hauntology.’ First introduced by Jacques Derrida in Spectres of Marx,1 the concept has been developed by many contemporary theorists and applied within specific fields. As Merlin Coverley writes, ‘the “failure of the future,” as a cultural time decelerated and went into reverse, overwhelmed by a nostalgia for the opportunity cultural artefacts of our recent past.’2 There is a clear sense, moving through these spaces, of inexplicable melancholy, borne out of the disjuncture between the utopian optimism of architects and planners, and the reality of the space’s conception and use. These are architectures that appear to strive for a future that remains unrealised. Within this context, the more formal, or ‘artistic’ image illuminates the specific nuances of emotion. The conceived presence of the photographer in the framing and capture of the image, brings experience to the fore. The affect of each image is enhanced by photographic decisions; particularly the absence of other figures within each frame. Birkin discusses the notion of the ‘narrative pause,’ writing ‘The documentary status of the image intensifies the notion of the narrative pause: there is a story to tell here, but we do no know from the content of the image exactly what the story is.’3 The haunting affect of these new images, it may be suggested, is partly due to this narrative absence. The viewer, subject to the strange topologies of the area, is left to imbue the scene with their own historical relation. This is particularly true of the uncanny architectural features, such as a pagoda that interrupts the flow of the Thames Path in the image below (Fig. 1), or a monument without inscription (Fig. 2 (1) ). It is the intention of my own pictures to allow the viewer’s own ideas, 1 Jacques Derrida, ‘Spectres De Marx: L'état De La Dette, Le Travail Du Deuil Et La Nouvelle Internationale / Jacques Derrida,’ in the Collection La Philosophie En Effet (Paris: Editions Galilée, 1993). 2

Merlin Coverley, Hauntology: The Ghosts of Futures Past (Harpenden: Oldcastle Books, 2020).

3 Jane Birkin, Archive, Photography and the Language of Administration (Recursions) (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2021).

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+ Fig.1. Pagoda (2021). Photograph, author’s image.

+ Fig. 2. Dedication (2021). Photograph, author’s image.

Quay to the Docks / Charles Dixon


+ Fig. 3. Plaque (2021). Photograph, author’s image.

own imagination, to project upon the image, producing a feeling of narrative displacement. There are no significant points of reference that may tie these isolated scenes to any given time or place. The image instead, is haunted by various fictions. Sekula notes this form of the generation of ideas within photography, writing, ‘A photograph communicates by means of its association with some hidden, or implicit text […] that carries the photograph into the domain of readability.’4 As there are few points of contextual grounding present in these new archival images, the semiotic basis for their interpretation remains very broad. The frame abstracts the topology of the city, enhancing one’s emotional response to it. As Liz Wells writes, ‘Photographic meaning is partly determined at the moment of production, through choice of subject-matter, technical and photographic codings and so on. But it is also extensively influenced by particular situations of reception.’5 To position these images as an antithesis of the formal archive, therefore, is to prepare them to be read in a specific context, that of opposition. It may be important to consider the role of the monument more closely. Mark Alice Durant discusses the nature of monuments and their presence within the photographic frame, noting, ‘Monuments often serve as focal points for aspirational civic attributes such as honour, duty, sacrifice, while simultaneously reaffirming foundational values of the nation4 Allan Sekula, ‘On The Invention of Photographic Meaning,’ in Thinking Photography, edited by Victor Burgin (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 1982). 5

Liz Wells, The Photography Reader, 1st edn (London: Routledge, 2003).

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state.’6 There is something in the faceless monument, as a token of this nondescript history. The obelisk without inscription, the ground without the tree (Fig. 2), the plaque without inscription (Fig. 3). These sites invite this memorialising force, prompting a directionless sense of collective memory. The faceless monument emulates the codes of a deeply entrenched history; it is suggestive of the social foundation that Durant describes, but is without any true historical depth. It appears as an attempt to call up a collective sense of memory, that interacts with the present moment. This false history epitomises many of the key qualities of the surroundings. These monumental objects haunt the picture with their scale, and their material, but leave the viewer to derive their own meaning. […] Excerpt from ‘Decay’ As alluded to, one of the dominating aesthetic values of the area is that of decay. The architectural forms captured in this new archive belong to another time, they are already

subject to the same modes of wear and desolation that we are yet to associate fully with the post-modern moment. Ian Wiblin writes, ‘At the mercy of time, the physical world preserved in the photograph may be subject to decay or be destined to disappear.’7 This tension, between preservation and organic evolution, itself containing decay, imbues each image with a sense of melancholy. The film stock, too, is subject to these same modes of decay over time. Unlike the digital image, there is a necessary materiality to the medium, which draws it like the architecture, into history. The previously described absences; the hauntology, the anti-social spaces, overwhelm each frame with a sense of ultimate mortality. As Wiblin notes, ‘The photograph is a physical residue retaining, within its material image, the vestige of an enactment.’8

6 Mark Alice Durant, ‘Notes on Photography and Monumentality,’ in Aperture, n. 196 Fall (New York: Aperture Foundation, 2009) pp. 36-41. 7 Ian Wiblin, ‘Photography, Performance, Ruin: Performing Photography in Site of Architecture,’ in Performance Research 20, n. 3 (2015) pp. 126-34. 8


Quay to the Docks / Charles Dixon


Mind, Body and Soul:

An investigation into the architectural and ideological functions of the Great Western Railway’s Swindon Railway Village Harry Lewis First established in 1841, the Swindon Railway Village (SRV) was a residential and social hub for Swindon and its Great Western Railway (GWR) locomotive and carriage works. It was an iterative project that was extended and redesigned to serve the GWR’s changing needs. At the height of its building, in 1891, it comprised of: around 287 houses, a large mechanics’ institute, a market with capacity for ‘thirty-two shops and standings for thirty stalls,’ a cottage hospital, an expansive company park, an Anglican church, a Methodist chapel, swimming baths and a medical dispensary. Due to its visibility, as Swindon’s New Town, SRV cemented the GWR’s material and symbolic place at the heart of Swindon. The village also reflected the company’s ideology, and its mix of functional architectures produced a lasting societal impact. Aneurin Bevan praised its Medical Fund for inspiring the National Health Service’s creation. He said of the village: “There it was, a complete health service […] all we had to do was to expand it to embrace the whole country!” On the 30th of July 1833, a meeting of leading Bristol businessmen decided to form a company that would establish ‘railway communication between Bristol and London.’ Their act of incorporation received royal assent on the 31st of August, 1835. In 1851 the GWR operated 272 miles of track. However, by 1891 the network had reached 2,405 miles of track, having grown to cover the entire south-west, parts of the west midlands, and much of south Wales. Being home to the company’s Locomotive and Carriage works, Swindon blossomed with the company. In 1831 Swindon’s population was 1,742, but by 1891 it had ballooned to 33,001. The company was Swindon’s revolutionary catalyst. My report explores the SRV’s architectural and ideological significance. After disambiguating the company’s ideology for analytic purposes, I approach the buildings through the divisions of housing, body, and mind. This enabled me to isolate and dissect a range of the settlement’s most important built forms, helping to answer my central research question: what were the architectural and ideological functions of the SRV?

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Mind, Body and Soul / Harry Lewis

Harry Lewis

+ Swindon Railway Village (2021). Photograph, author’s image.


Ideology Ideology is a body of ideas characteristic of a particular social group that help to legitimate a dominant political power. Viewing the GWR’s Swindon workforce as the social group in question and the GWR leadership as the dominant political power, this chapter will answer the question: what ideas and convictions formed GWR ideology, in the second half of the nineteenth century? The company’s economic success created a novel class of privileged railway workers who earned between ‘50 to 100 percent’ more than the average unskilled labourer in the earlyVictorian era. With this affluence came a system of shared ideas and experiences held by Swindon’s railway workers. This blended ideology was embedded into the buildings which this dissertation study invetsigates. And, in turn, these embedded ideals would inform the beliefs of the railwaymen who lived in and used the SRV. It is therefore essential to explore this further. The ideals of a late-nineteenth-century Swindon railway worker stretched beyond a desire to work hard for the company. Their complex ideology mixed worker radicalism, self- help, religiosity, conservativism, and localism. Housing After establishing the Railway works in 1840, Brunel and Gooch set about creating workers housing on the main railway line’s opposite side. In around fifteen years, sporadic building had transformed the area. Before construction, Richard Jefferies called the area: ‘the poorest in the neighbourhood, low-lying, shallow soil on top of an endless depth of stiff clay, worthless for arable purposes, of small value for pasture, covered with furze, rushes and rowen [sic].’ Nevertheless, in just a few years, the company had created a new village with 287 houses. Its influence is hard to understate. The people of Old Swindon— located a mile away atop the Swindon hill— termed the railway village New Swindon. In many ways, the SRV was new; its regimented streets, centralised facilities and migrant population would have been genuinely novel. This chapter investigates SRV’s housing provision. I answer the questions: Why did the GWR build housing in SRV? How was it built? How was it used, and how did this use build into the company’s ideology? Mind In 1854 GWR employees watched as their grand Mechanics’ Institution rose in the middle of SRV. The New Swindon Improvement Company had planned the Institution the previous year. Once completed, it would become the SRV’s educational and social hub for almost 150 years. The Institution’s leisure, educational and social programmes enriched the local citizenry as it became one of the country’s most successful mechanics’ institutes. At the beginning of this report’s focus, in 1841, SRV residents had few options for entertainment,

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but by 1891, Swindonians had enviable opportunities. Through the Mechanics’ Institution, they could learn technical drawing skills, attend lectures, join the gardening club, and watch an opera. Additionally, the railwaymen democratically ran the Institution for thirteen years before the second Representation of the People Act gave them the national vote. Within this period, the Mechanics’ Institution came to redefine the SRV. This chapter considers the opportunities provided by the SRV’s Mechanics’ Institution. To explore this, I answer the following questions. Why did the GWR support the building of the Mechanics’ Institution? How was it built? And how was it used, and how did this build into the company’s ideology? Body In 1892, the Great Western Railway’s Medical Fund Society (MFS) opened its architecturally notable “Swimming Baths and Medical Dispensary.” In 1847, with the GWR’s support, the MFS opened to mitigate the widespread injuries sustained in the dangerous railway works. In 1948 the NHS took over the MFS’s responsibilities. Today, the building is called the ‘Health Hydro’ and is Britain’s longest continuously open Turkish Baths. The building’s civic and GWR pride can still be felt today because many of its period features remain despite several extensions. This chapter investigates the healthcare provided by the MFS’s Swimming Baths and Medical Dispensary. To explore this, I answer the following questions. Why did the GWR support the swimming baths and dispensary’s establishment? How was it built? Moreover, how was it used, and how did this use build into company ideology? Provisional Conclusions This report establishes SRV as a rich and complex Victorian productive community that deserves renewed study. Its long-term economic success, its diversified power, and its reliance on a specialised industry have created a one-of-a-kind historic area, despite the fact it has been left underfunded and underexposed. This study offers the provisional conclusion that the SRV was a complex and multifunctional Social and Residential hub during the GWR’s prime that supported the railway workforce and acted as a catalysing genesis for a regional market-town. Although I only look at three architectural forms, I place SRV in its broader academic landscape and tarmac a road for its further study. With the ideological foundations I lay out, it would be easy to hone and extend this study to the SRV’s other buildings, including its barracks, its public houses, and its trailblazing hospital, which warrants a separate study.

Mind, Body and Soul / Harry Lewis



Architectures of Transit in Novel, Film and Place (1936-45 and 2001-2021) Toby Blackman In 1933, after arrest by the Gestapo having written about the dangers of Nazism, Anna Seghers fled her home in Germany for Paris, and later, following the 1940 Nazi invasion of northern France, to Marseille. Aided by Varian Fry in 1941, she and her family fled Marseille for Mexico aboard the Paul Lemerle together with her husband and two children. Notable fellow passengers included Victor Serge and his son, the surrealist André Breton, and the eminent anthropologist, Claude Lévi-Strauss.1 They were joined by a further 215 people.2 Transit is a semi-autobiographical novel, a modernist bildungsroman3 written by Seghers exploring global events of the 1930s, published in 1942, and later adapted for the screen in 2018 by Christian Petzold.4 Seidler hatte der Mann geheißen, dessen schlechterer Schein für mich der bessere war, er war bei der Abstimmung aus der Saar nach dem Elsass eingewandert.5 Netty Reiling had evaded Gestapo agents – searching for Anna Seghers – before executing a second identity manoeuvre, mirroring her protagonist who concludes that, ‘Seidler was the name of the man whose second-best [refugee] certificate ended up being a better one

1 Claude Lévi-Strauss wrote Tristes Tropiques in 1955, chronicling a detailed account of the crossing aboard the Paul Lemerle, and its refugee passengers, drawing what Eric Jennings describes as ‘remarkable portraits of Breton and Serge in particular.’ See Eric Jennings, ‘Last Exit from Vichy France: The Martinique Escape Route and the Ambiguities of Emigration,’ The Journal of Modern History, v.74, n.2 (June, 2002), pp. 289-324, (p. 309). 2 As Eric Jennings explains, citing the American consul in Martinique, Marcel Malige, refugees in 1941 were being sent to camps outside Fort-de-France, ‘in order to prevent overcrowding of the city.’ This citation informs the picture of vast refugee numbers fleeing Marseille on the Martinique route at this time. See Eric Jennings, ‘Last Exit from Vichy France: The Martinique Escape Route and the Ambiguities of Emigration,’ The Journal of Modern History, v.74, n.2 (June, 2002), pp. 289-324, (p. 300). 3

Bildungsroman is a modernist genre exploring narratives of moral growth and education.

4 Netty Reiling (1900–1983) was born in Mainz, Germany into an upper-middle-class Jewish family, completing a doctorate in Art History at the University of Heidelberg in 1924 before marrying Laszo Radvanzi the following year, and joining the Communist Party in 1928 and adopting the writer’s pseudonym, Anna Seghers. Anna Seghers returned to Germany after World War II, moving to the Soviet Sector of East Berlin in 1947 where she died in 1983. See Anna Seghers, Transit, English edn, translated from the German by Margot Bettauer Dembo, (New York: The New York Review of Books, 2013), p. i. 5

Anna Seghers, Transit: Roman, German edn (Berlin: Aufbau Taschenbuch Verlag, 2020), p. 55.

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for me.’6 Seghers boarded the Paul Lemerle and fled Europe using her husband’s surname, Radvanzi.7 The fate of lives seemed to hinge on word of mouth, a few thousand francs, and propitious timing.8 Refugees were required to pay the French government a deposit of between 10,000 and 25,000 francs to leave Marseille for Martinique, whilst further levies were due on arrival in the French Caribbean itself, plus the cost of entry visas for the Americas.9 As Eric Jennings explains, ‘life in Marseille in 1940–41 revolved around endless queues at consulates, months of anguish over visa procedures, and constant rumours about boat departures and exit lines.’10 In late May 1941, the Peyrouton Plan – ‘at once a deportation and a rescue’ – collapsed.11 This city is a time tunnel, through which the wind has always been blowing, with

clouds of dust and crowds of people swirling before it. The same gossip has been exchanged around the harbour–which opens onto a sea which was once considered to be the uterine center of the earth–since the time of the Romans, Greeks, or Phoenicians, while the same food has been encountered for all those centuries.12 As Minayo Nasiali explains, the migratory flow which has formed, and reformed Marseille has shifted over the years, but Marseille’s development has centred the Vieux Port. The 6 Anna Seghers, Transit, English edn, translated from the German by Margot Bettauer Dembo, introduction by Peter Conrad, afterword by Heinrich Böll, (New York: The New York Review of Books, 2013), p. 33. 7 As Simon Kitson explains, ‘The Police forces of each town in France were the responsibility of local mayors. Cities, such as Marseille used a Police d’Etat rather than a municipal force.’ Anna Seghers was able to evade the police in Marseille in this second identity manoeuvre thanks to the slippage between national and regional law enforcement, institution and individual agency. Kitson notes, citing Albert J Reiss, ‘post-war innovations such as the walkie-talkie which encourage Police officers to seek clarification from a central office reduce the autonomy of the officer on the beat making him or her more controllable by the institution.’ See Christian Zehl Romero, Anna Seghers (Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1993), p.26.; Simon Kitson, ‘A Note on the Organisation of the Police,’ in Police and Politics in Marseille, 1936-1945 (Leiden: Brill, 2014), p. XVII; p. XVIII; Albert J Reiss, Police and Public, New Haven, 1971, p 125. 8 Eric Jennings, ‘Last Exit from Vichy France: The Martinique Escape Route and the Ambiguities of Emigration,’ The Journal of Modern History, v.74, n.2 (June, 2002), pp. 289-324, (p. 319). 9 Ibid., (p. 308), and citation of Centrede Documentation Juive Contemporaine, Paris, CCX VII-15, “Rapport d’activite ́ de la HICEM-France pour 1941,” p. 24. 10 Eric Jennings, ‘Last Exit from Vichy France: The Martinique Escape Route and the Ambiguities of Emigration,’ The Journal of Modern History, v.74, n.2 (June, 2002), pp. 289-324, (p. 306). 11 For Jennings, the Plan, ‘and its time-limited window of opportunity,’ highlighted the question of ‘continuity or rupture’ between the Third Republic and Vichy France. ‘American resistance to immigration, colonial Pétainists’ opposition to refugee arrivals, and Anglo-American concerns over Vichy’s purported neutrality’ are oft-cited as the prime factors. Ibid., (pp. 301-308). 12 Peter Conrad, in the introduction to Anna Seghers’ Transit, English edn, translated from the German by Margot Bettauer Dembo, afterword by Heinrich Böll, (New York: The New York Review of Books, 2013), p. ix.

Marseille / Toby Blackman


+ The Longchamp Palace, 22 Boulevard Longchamp (2021), author’s image.

Marseille / Toby Blackman


area north and east of the Vieux Port – including Le Panier and Belsunce – developed organically, the architecture working with the topography and forming narrow streets, level changes, steps, staircases and dense, medium-rise building blocks.13 Marseille undertook a programme of physical reconstruction and enjoyed a revival of economic activities through the Glorious Thirty (1945-1975), drawing on workers were recruited from Algeria and other colonized North African countries through a guest-worker scheme which ran until 1973.14 No housing was provided for the workers and their families. Informal, Algerian bidonvilles emerged to the north of the city, reinforcing the colonial developments of the nineteenth century, proximate to industrial employment and connected with transport network.15 In Seghers’ novel we learn this geographic division predates the war’s conclusion and the guest-worker programme in the city.16 Seghers explains simply, ‘The rich had all gone south.’ Contemporary Marseille sees the ethnic French living on one side of La Canebière, and the North African community on the other side. The street maintains the colonial divide.17 Matthew Carr suggests borderlands lie on, ‘the periphery and margins of nations, cultures and civilizations,’ observing ‘linguistic, religious and ethnic categories merge.’18 In the film, Petzold reveals exchange and merger in social space.19 Georg speaks French with a young 13 Minayo Nasiali, Native to the Republic: Empire, Social Citizenship, and Everyday Life in Marseille since 1945 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2016), p. 12. 14 See Danièle Voldman, La reconstruction des villes françaises de 1940 à 1954: Histoire d’une politique (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1997); James A. Huston, Across the Face of France: Liberation and Recovery, 1944–63 (Lafayette, Ind.: Pur- due University, 1984); Andrew Shennan, Rethinking France: Plans for Renewal, 1940–1946 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989). 15 Marc Angélil, Charlotte Malterre-Barthes, Julian Schubert, Elena Schütz, and Leonard Streich, eds., Migrant Marseille: Architectures of Social Segregation and Urban Inclusivity (Berlin: Ruby Press, 2020), p. 35. 16 The Paris-Lyon-Marseille railway, constructed in stages between 1847 and 1856, created the infrastructure, and national governance came to establish the city as the primary port for colonial trade and industry. Marseille’s economy expanded rapidly with the railway, industries forming around sugar, soap and tile trade, and the businesses drew workers from colonized Algeria. At the outbreak of World War I, French authorities began recruiting workers from the colonies. Many of the Italian population were returning home to serve. Ethnic diversification in the migratory flows in the inter-war years (1928-1941): Russians fleeing the October Revolution, Armenians escaping genocide, Spaniards leaving Franco's dictatorship, all in search of safety and employment. To cope with the humanitarian emergency, the municipality set up transit camps and barracks that could house hundreds. Meanwhile, traders built lavish and expansive homes in the southern district, on the other side of La Canebière, for the bourgeoisie, separated from the industrial north. See Marc Angélil, Charlotte Malterre-Barthes, Julian Schubert, Elena Schütz, and Leonard Streich, eds., Migrant Marseille: Architectures of Social Segregation and Urban Inclusivity (Berlin: Ruby Press, 2020), pp. 31-34. 17

The Rough Guide to Provence & the Côte d’Azur (London: Penguin Books, 2007), p. 61.

18 Matthew Carr, Fortress Europe: Dispatches from a Gated Continent, First edn (London: Hurst and Company, 2012), p. 225. 19 For Henri Lefebvre, there are three intersecting types of space: spatial practice (la practique spatiale); representations of space (les répresentations de l’espace); spaces of representation (les espaces de représentation). As Iain Borden observes, the production of space sees the perceived, conceived, and lived interact in the everyday and the urban, the codified, and the liberatory, suggesting ‘the body produces space outward from itself’ through embodiment. See Iain Borden, ‘Beyond Space: the Ideas of Henri Lefebvre in Relation to Architecture and Cities,’ in Journal of Chinese Urban Science, v.3 n.1 (2012), pp. 156-193, (pp. 168).

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boy, Driss, who understands Georg’s muttersprache (mother tongue). The pair slip between German and French languages in song and spoken word, and play football together in the communal space of Driss’ apartment building in the north of Marseille. For Margarete Landwehr, the pizzeria oven of the Mont Vertoux in Seghers’ novel, ‘serves as a symbol of hearth, stability, and community where people tell their stories, satisfying her protagonist’s search for a secure place.’20 The Mont Vertoux of the film functions somewhat differently, forming a transitional space, within which the temporality of transit plays out. Die Pizza ist doch ein sonderbares Gebäck. Rund und bunt wie eine Torte.21 The novel’s protagonist remarks upon the surprise of the savoury food, describing pizza’s presentation as ‘Rund und bunt wie eine Torte’ (round and colourful as a cake).22 An Italian translation of Greek pitta, pizza represents an exchange across time and space, a dialectic image formed between the homelands of Marseille’s Greek and Italian immigrant in Marseille’s spaces of transit. The Mont Vertoux of the film lies a moment’s walk off La

Canebière, at 22 Boulevard Longchamp (Fig. 1), interior shot and reverse-shot serving to spatialise the pizzeria and establish the spatial, narrative agency of Georg (Franz Rogowski) and Marie (Paula Beer) through their exchange of glances, subtle re-positioning of hands atop the table, and softening body language over time. (Social) space is a (social) product.23 The Mont Vertoux is a porous space, a space within which cultural exchange plays out over the surface of the pizza. Seghers’ novel explores spatial transit – national, urban, interior – whilst Petzold’s film explores temporal transit, the director remarking upon the spaces of transit within which, ‘Like the boarding gate at an airport: you hand over your luggage, but you haven’t even gone anywhere yet […] a transit zone between the past and present.’24 Transit is a narrative reconstruction of the refugees’ lived experience amid the debris of history. Socio-cultural-linguistic exchange plays out across these porous spaces in novel film, and place though the embodiment of the protagonists’ – and site-writers’ – space over time. In novel and film, migration plays out in space, architecture, and territory, through spatio-temporal registers. 20 Margarete J. Landwehr, ‘Empathy and Community in the Age of Refugees: Petzold’s Radical Translation of Seghers’ Transit,’ in Arts 9, n.4: 118 (November, 2020), p.10. 21

Anna Seghers, Transit: Roman, German edn (Berlin: Aufbau Taschenbuch Verlag, 2020), p. 6.

22 Anna Seghers, Transit, English edn, translated from the German by Margot Bettauer Dembo, introduction by Peter Conrad, afterword by Heinrich Böll, (New York: The New York Review of Books, 2013), pp. 3-4. 23 Henri Lefebvre acknowledges the tautology in this statement; see Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space, trans. by Donald Nicholson-Smith (Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell, 2001), p. 26. 24 Music Box Films, ‘Interview with Christian Petzold,’ Transit: Press Notes (2018) <https://www.> [accessed 1 June 2021], p. 3.

Marseille / Toby Blackman


Icebreakers and the Switchboard: Telephone lines as counterpublics in 1970s London Filippos Toskas ‘Icebreakers: A collective of homosexual women and men who run a nightly telephone service for other gay people of any age;’ ‘Britain’s First Gay Switchboard […] your hot-line to the gay community.’1 These short descriptions served as advertising material for two seminal queer telephone lines, which were established in 1970s London—Icebreakers and the Switchboard. Both of the groups were part of a series of communication channels that were formed with the support of radical gay organisations—including subsidiaries of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF)—as an organised attempt to initiate a queer discourse in the UK.2 Interaction with the predominant public, even in the form of friction, was necessary to attain social visibility. During the 1970s the telephone lines, as various other groups, labelled themselves as ‘gay’ and/or ‘lesbian.’ Nonetheless, this historic analysis is often employing queer to describe their activity—a term that started becoming popularised in academic thought and activist vernacular during the 1990s, to encapsulate the fluidity of the sexuality and gender spectra.3 The reason behind this retrospective characterisation is that both groups, despite the terminology they were using, conjured—through various media—more open-ended sexual identities, which escaped the ‘hetero/homo binary.’4 For the Switchboard, which continues to operate until today, I also intend to point at its historical transformation and eventual inclusion of other identities. The role and scale of the groups differed significantly: while the Switchboard was aspiring to become an information platform, which would offer guidance in London’s chaotic queer scene, Icebreakers was an outlet for sharing one’s experience as a person of queer sexuality or gender.5 The Switchboard, aiming to develop into the first reference point for 1 ‘Gay Icebreakers,’ 1970s-1980s, HCA/EPHEMERA/508, Hall Carpenter Archives; Gay News, issue 46, February 1974, Gay News Issues Collection, Bishopsgate Institute Special Collections and Archives. 2 For the Switchboard see: ‘Press Releases,’ 1975-2007, SB/12/7, Switchboard- The LGBT+ Helpline Collection, Special Collections and Archives | Bishopsgate Institute. ; for the Icebreakers: Tony Walton, ed., Out of the Shadows: How London Gay Life Changed for the Better After the Act, 2010. 3 Michael Warner, Fear Of A Queer Planet: Queer Politics and Social Theory: 6, 1st edn (Minneapolis: University Of Minnesota Press, 1993). 4 Robert Mills, ‘Queer Is Here? Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Histories and Public Culture,’ in History Workshop Journal 62, n.1, (October 1, 2006), p. 258 <> 5

Pamphlet, ‘Gay Icebreakers,’ 1970s-1980s, HCA/EPHEMERA/508, Hall Carpenter Archives.

70 Architectural History MA 2020-21

any need that may arise, sought constant expansion. Conversely, Icebreakers maintained a small, intimate scale. Through telephone conversations and in-person meetings, Icebreakers tried to encourage its callers to embrace their queer orientation.6 Many classified Icebreakers as a counselling service—despite its resistance to this labelling.7 For all their differences, Icebreakers and the Switchboard shared many attributes. Their predilection for the telephone as a medium was not accidental. The need for direct communication laid at the heart of both organisations. For the Switchboard, that was mainly on account of its objective to share information as rapidly and efficiently as possible.8 Icebreakers, on the other hand, was pursuing the creation of a trusting environment, which would encourage disclosing private thoughts.9 Notwithstanding their original agendas, an intimacy, which was afforded by oral interaction, became the defining characteristic of both groups. Since the volunteers on the other side of the line also identified as gay or lesbian, ringing the telephone lines was a means to talk to someone that faced an analogous predicament.10 Furthermore, sustaining them required an excessive number of resources—including physical space—which were very difficult to acquire.11 To secure these resources, Icebreakers and the Switchboard had to advertise themselves through other media, including various ephemera. In that respect, they can be perceived as vulnerable media infrastructures—the term infrastructure here is employed to describe the nexus of mechanisms and human assets that comprised them, as well as their symbolic function in the Gay and Lesbian movements of the time.12 Finally, contrary to other telephone lines, such as ‘Friend’—a counselling service established at roughly around the same time, which strictly adhered to telephone consultation— Icebreakers and the Switchboard were interwoven with urban life, particularly the city’s queer scene. The Switchboard was essentially a roadmap for centres, discos, pubs, communes, or any spaces that may have been relevant to the caller. Icebreakers organised live sessions and events, all across London.



7 ‘Gay News’ issue 46, February 1974, Gay News Issues Collection, Bishopsgate Institute Special Collections and Archives. 8 For the objectives of the Switchboard, see: ‘Gay News’ issue 31, September 1973, Gay News Issues Collection, Bishopsgate Institute Special Collections and Archives. 9

Pamphlet, ‘Gay Icebreakers.’



11 See, for instance: ‘Administration Group-Minutes,’ 1991 1976, SB/1/9/1, Switchboard- The LGBT+ Helpline Collection, Special Collections and Archives | Bishopsgate Institute. 12 For symbolic queer infrastructures, see: Ben Campkin, ‘Queer Infrastructures LGBTQ+ Networks and Urban Governance in Global London,’ in Queer Sites in Global Contexts: Technologies, Spaces, and Otherness, edited by Regner Ramos and Sharif Mowlabocus, 1st edn (London; New York: Routledge, 2020), pp. 82–97.

Icebreakers and the Switchboard / Filippos Toskas


This dissertation study focuses on three key questions: first, in what ways did the telephone lines participate in the radical project of challenging heteronormative structures and pushing for queer visibility? To investigate this enquiry, I will examine in detail the history of how the groups were developed, as well as their implicit and explicit goals. Second, how was the establishment of Icebreakers and the Switchboard enabled by the acquisition of resources, including physical space? I am interested in the organisational structure of the telephone lines and the strategies they developed to cover their needs. In short, I will attempt to understand how they were set up as media infrastructures, which were precarious, constantly facing the risk of extinction. Third, how did the telephone lines, manage to have an impact on the local geographies they were located in, but also transcend them and operate at a city-wide level? This entails a consideration of how the telephone lines started interconnecting queer spaces in London, creating dynamic networks, and becoming points of reference for the queer life in the city.

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Icebreakers and the Switchboard / Filippos Toskas



Image Credits

Common Threads. Intersectional Methodologies of Architectural History Front Cover Illustration by Alejandro Carrasco Design by Alejandro Carrasco p.19 © Fawzeyah Alsabah p.25 © Fawzeyah Alsabah p.36-37

© Alia Hamadeh

p.41 © Fawzeyah Alsabah p.49 © Alejandro Carrasco p.53 © Lettie McKie p.55 © Charles Dixon p.56 © Charles Dixon p.61 © Harry Lewis p.66-67

© Toby Blackman

Copyright 75

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