Homework: Lived Experience Through Architectural Histories | Architectural History MA 2019-20

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Architectural History MA 2019-20 The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL



Architectural History MA 2019-20 The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL


This publication is a collation of final dissertation papers submitted by the 2019-20 Architectural History MA cohort, published in conjunction with a two-evening symposium, held virtually on 5 and 6 November 2020. Keynotes speakers at the symposium were: ‘Physical Histories and Material Sensibilities’ Catherine Croft (The Twentieth Century Society), Dr Janina Gosseye (Delft University of Technology) and Dr Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi (Barnard College/Columbia University). ‘Globalised Digital Capitalism’ Dr Karen Burns (University of Melbourne), Dr Eray Çaylı (London School of Economics) and Prof Reinhold Martin (Columbia University). The texts contained in this publication can also be found online at www.bartlettarchhistory.com


Symposium Organisers

Published by

Paul Steeples

The Bartlett School of Architecture

Adam Ross

UCL

Daniel Stilwell

22 Gordon Street

Ken Qiu Sun

London

Bronte Allan

WC1H 0QB

Copy Editors

Symposium Supervisor

Daniel Stilwell

Peg Rawes

Adam Ross Paul Steeples

Thanks to the following Bartlett

Nathaniel Gore

Staff

Beatriz Van Houtte Alonso

Laura Cherry

Josephine Waugh

Therese Johns Abi Luter

Designers Ken Qiu Sun Bronte Allan Dhruv Shah Aka Lodaya Falak Vora

Š of the texts: the authors; Š of the images: see p. 190-192 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.


Contents


12

Architectural History MA 2019-20 Cohort and academic staff

14-17

Working from home Introduction The editors

18-23

Fabricated environments: Entanglements of women and code Bronte Allan

24-29

Forgotten propaganda: Freedom Village in Korea’s Demilitarised Zone Uri Chae

30-35

The language of discrete architecture: Politics and aesthetics in the wake of the reappropriation of the digital means of production Francesco D’Alessio

36-41

Grids and paragraphs: Parallel transformations in the architecture of texts and the city in late 19th century Cairo Abdulrahman El-Taliawi

42-47

Making Paris contemporary: The Pinault Collection in the Bourse de Commerce Nathaniel Gore


48-53

Energy and housing: Experiments and exhibitions in Milton Keynes Paul Kesslar-Lyne

54-59

Qi qi guai guai architecture in China Yuying Li

60-65

In-between typologies: Examining Belfast’s emergent post-conflict architectures Maria McLintock

66-71

Rapcity: New York hip-hop, an oral history source within architectural scholarship Malcolm Msika

72-77

Overwriting the memory of a modern ruin: From UNCTAD III to GAM Ken Qiu Sun

78-83

Creaking seats and crowded aisles: Navigating the regulation and appropriation of The Biograph Cinema as a space of queer socio-sexual contact (1905-1985) Adam Ross

84-89

Inhabiting the margins: Apartment janitor flats in Turkey Mine Sak


90-95

Lottery houses in Budapest: Reconstructing the intersection of luck and housing in the Kรกdรกr-era Anna Alexandra Seress

96-101

Unsacred Varansi Kashi: Constructing politicized identities Dhruv Shah Aka Lodaya

102-107

Seizure and An Occupation of Loss: Artangel, the City and site-based art Paul Steeples

108-113

Comfort in British domestic architecture since 1750 Daniel Stilwell

114-119

Life beyond the wall: Gendered narratives of spatial exclusion Sadaf Tabatabaei

120-125

Creation of the Indian India: Hybridity and commodification in heritage architecture in Jaipur Sneha Tiwari

126-131

The digital pavilion: An investigation of a new building type Emily Trummer


132-137

‘A room and a bit, or a bit of a room’: Early 20th century lodging and boarding-houses in London Beatriz Van Houtte Alonso

138-143

The wild in the hospital: A history of nature as an actant in the health-related practices of Queen Square 1786-1900 Honor Vincent

144-149

Auroville: A utopia between the East and the West Falak Vora

150-155

An ontology of the everyday under lockdown: Between the architectural subject and the digital subject Josephine Waugh

156-161

‘Borderspace’, interdependency and vulnerability: Two Wuhan hospitals built in the COVID-19 pandemic Yuan Xue

162-167

Translation as a restoration of literary monuments: Turkish translations of the Venice Charter Hakan Yildiz

168-175

A non-aligned narrative in and around KSEVT: Architecture, history and post-gravity (from several points of view) Vid Žnidaršič


176-189

A selection of images from The Allotment Garden: Space/politics/economy/landscape (1830-present) Sophie Chamberlain

190-192

Copyright of images


Architectural History MA 2019-20 Cohort Bronte Allan

Anna Alexandra Seress

Uri Chae

Dhruv Shah Aka Lodaya

Sophie Chamberlain

Paul Steeples

Francesco D’Alessio

Daniel Stilwell

Abdulrahman El-Taliawi

Sadaf Tabatabaei

Nathaniel Gore

Sneha Tiwari

Thomas Kelderman

Emily Trummer

Paul Kesslar-Lyne

Beatriz Van Houtte Alonso

Ashley Leitner

Honor Vincent

Yuying Li

Falak Vora

Felipe Lizcano Rivera

Josephine Waugh

Maria McLintock

Lucy Webster

Malcolm Msika

Yuan Xue

Ken Qiu Sun

Hakan Yildiz

Adam Ross

Vid Žnidaršič

Mine Sak Architectural History MA 2019-20 Academic Staff Peg Rawes

Tania Sengupta

Iain Borden

Robin Wilson

Ben Campkin

Sabina Andron

Mario Carpo

Eva Branscome

Edward Denison

Polly Gould

Murray Fraser

David Roberts

Barbara Penner

Stelios Giamarelos

Jane Rendell

The Survey of London



Introduction

Working from home

The editors


15

‘Homework’ is often associated with study of various kinds, but perhaps mostly for the education of young children. However, as we find ourselves developing an ever-increasing dependence of our homes as a place of work, the word is more strongly associated with the lived experiences of ‘home’ and ‘work’ for a range of communities. When considering the multiple meanings of ‘work’, we can understood the word as ‘our most general word for doing something, and for something to be done’.1 Work is therefore inextricably linked to a kind of labour, paid or otherwise, domestic or not. In other words, to work is to toil, to exert, to craft, or to produce something. Understanding the role of ‘work’ in a time of pandemics, lockdowns and working from home, has seen the word take on new meanings within the rapidly changing landscapes of academic research, architectural design, and political, social, and environmental activism. Forced into our homes by various forms of lockdown, today virtually all of us are doing homework in some form or another. As a cohort and as architectural historians, our homework considers what has been afforded to us through online learning and distancing – both socially and geographically – during the global COVID-19 pandemic, but also, what Architectural History MA 2019-20


16 has been lost. Our experience as academics and students in classrooms and lecture halls has been replaced by split-screen video calls in an effort to maintain the expected experiences of university study. While physical archives have lain dormant and inaccessible, as researchers we have been made to reassess how we approach the study of architectural history – replacing libraries and museums with virtual repositories of drawings, letters, photographs, maps and documents. In some ways we have been able to zoom into images in more detail, analysing pixel after pixel, word after word. In other ways, our research has been forced to change, adapt and invent alternative kinds of ‘evidence’, given our distance from physical sites. The range of work produced by the Architectural History cohort over the summer of 2020 has been moulded by how able we are to bring the outside world into our personal spaces, and how we can reflect this in our ‘homework’. As Mary Douglas noted in The Idea of a Home: A Kind of Space (1991), ‘Home is located in a space, but it is not necessarily a fixed space’.2 The dissertations produced by this year’s cohort have been written all over the world – our homes have become our studies and our workspaces, and the home of our study moved away from the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, and London, also suggesting the validity of these lived experiences and spaces for our architectural and historical research. This collection of excerpts therefore simultaneously shows the inability to access the physical materials of buildings and of objects is not a complete loss of material architectures, and how we have continued to find and embrace architectural histories in digital textures. As

Introduction


17 practitioners of architectural history, we have reimagined and repurposed interdisciplinary approaches and methodologies. Our ‘homework’, both individually and collectively, highlights how the events of this year have changed how we understand the spaces around us and the networks within which we live. What is lost to us from our homes has been replaced by new opportunities and methodologies – and our work pays tribute to how life is shaped by how we can continue to adapt our homes, communities and skills for our future intellectual development.

Raymond Williams, Keywords: A vocabulary of culture and society. (London: Fontana Press. 1976/1983), 334. 1

Mary Douglas, “The Idea of a home: A Kind of Space”, Social Research 58, no 1. (1991): 289. 2

Architectural History MA 2019-20


Entanglements of women and code

Fabricated environments:

Bronte Allan


19 ‘I didn’t realize for a long time what the thing was that showed behind, that dim sub-pattern, but now I am quite sure it is a woman’1 – The Yellow Wallpaper. Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

Code, in the form of scripting languages and software is playing an increasingly defining role in architectural design and built environments. Often used synonymously with terms such as computation and parametric, the definition of code is fluid and continuously challenged by evolving design methods. However, the largely phallogocentric histories and current architectural discourses surrounding code remain consistent in their lack of female voices. Woman, as Agrest points out, has historically inhabited the peripheries of society, often dehumanised in their exclusion as witches, hysterics, and outsiders.2 However, Agrest also asserts that it is this externality to the traditional architectural body that allows not only for an objective critique of existing practice, but the ability to operate and produce in alternative ways, something recently described as ‘alterities’ by Doina Petrescu in Altering Practices (2007).3 The status of the outsider formed the basis for several architectural collectives including NAM, and its splinters, including Matrix: one of the first explicitly feminist design collectives. Their work exposed ways in which the built environment reproduced social inequalities, and forms the basis for this dissertation’s understanding of feminist architectural practices, as those which aim at inclusion, care, and kinship.4 Although extensively addressed by such collectives, and later

Architectural History MA 2019-20


20 in academia, the coinciding development of computational design, the women involved and their roles in feminist spatial practices, have been largely ignored. In response, this dissertation looks at the temporal and material intersections of women and code in the fabrication of feminist environments. Viewing code not just as a metaphorical, but a physical string for entanglement, the conjoined histories are traced from the 19th century practices of botany and floriography, to contemporary female designers located at various stages of the architectural profession. Through investigation of these material structures, similarities led to the re-examining of code impact on domestic, collective, and planetary environments. Initially examined are the changes which took place in the relationship of women to environment during the 19th century, including the separation of women from the botanic through the institutionalisation of nature. In implementing a material feminist methodology, the natural environment is given a physical, material importance, with agency in social power relations. Through this, issues such as social status, mobility, education and domestication are raised, providing contextual threads that extend into areas of current architectural practice such as sustainability, institutionalisation and working from home. The nature of code reintroduces themes of exclusion, and offers a new position from which to view women’s status as outsider to the institution, spatial restriction of the domestic and codification of gender roles. Largely using firsthand experiences and interviews, contemporary female architectural practitioners are relocated within the context of the institutional body.

Fabricated environments / Bronte Allan


21

This begins to define the location, scale, and structure of existing organisations, whilst understanding how the female designer operates within those environments, the physicalities of coding, and experiences of the everyday. By including subjective narratives, the question of Who are the women involved? begins to be answered and evidence is contributed to an area of feminist history yet to be thoroughly explored. However, in addition to building feminist histories, this dissertation further asks Why does it matter? by proposing how code is, and can be, used in the production of alterities and development of feminist design principles. Materiality plays a central role in this, forming the basis for an entanglement of structures and semantics. Reflected in Judith Butler’s assertion that the ‘association of femininity with materiality can be traced to a set of etymologies which link matter with mater and matrix (or the womb)’ matter is seen as a fluid and active site of both production and reproduction.5 From these links of mater and matter, the notion of code is further introduced as a matter-ing: the process of fabrication, inherent in both computational design and the material feminist becoming-with proposed by Donna Haraway.6 A conceptual thread for joining women, code and environment, becoming-with suggests relationships constituted through interaction and exchange, provoking material transformations that I propose have widespread implications for both feminist history and architectural practice.7 Represented by Haraway’s use of other-thanhuman kin, termed ‘oddkin,’8 the notion of becoming-with gains further relevance due to their proposed inhabitation of the ‘n-1 niche space,’9 a computational equation originating in Deleuze and Guattari’s defining of the rhizome.10 Adopted by Haraway as a method of exploring material agency in establishing ‘multispecies’ relationships,11 the rhizomatic

Architectural History MA 2019-20


22 formula underpins the theoretical framework in linking material feminist principles, computational thinking and ‘the wisdom of plants,’ and encouraging development of a feminist architectural practice concerned with environments of inclusion and sustainability.12 Linking back to the 19th century definitions of matter, the rhizomatic plant logic raises current global issues of environmental sustainability and limits. Furthermore, with plant structure becoming increasingly integrated into design methods, such as biomimetics, the often economic and political disjunction with existing feminist practice is raising questions of feasibility for plant-code solutions to equality and climate change, highlighting the need for a computational feminism that extends beyond the human to the inclusion of digital and environmental oddkin.

1

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper (New York: Feminist Press, 1973).

See Diane Agrest in Jane Rendell, Barbara Penner and Iain Borden, Gender Space Architecture: an Interdisciplinary Introduction (London: Routledge, 2000), 367. 2

Doina Petrescu, Altering Practices: Feminist Politics and Poetics of Space (London, New York: Routledge, 2007), xvii. 3

See Matrix, Making Space: Women and the Man-Made Environment (London: Pluto Press, 1984). 4

5

Judith Butler, Bodies that Matter (London, New York: Routledge Classics, 1993).

Fabrication or digital fabrication, defined as the physical material process of manufacturing through the transference of data from virtual 3D modelling software to CAM software. 6

7

See Petrescu, Altering Practices.

Donna Haraway, Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene (Durham: Duke University Press, 2016), 2. 8

9

Ibid., 5.

See Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus (London, New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 1987) 10

11

Haraway, Staying with the Trouble, 11.

12

Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, 10. Fabricated environments / Bronte Allan


23

Author’s own illustration, 2020.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


Freedom Village in Korea’s Demilitarsed Zone

Forgotten propaganda:

Uri Chae


25 Korea has been a divided nation since the ceasefire of the Korean War on 27th July 1953. The Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) are still separated by the Korean Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), a barrier defined by the Northern Limit Line and the Southern Limit Line, each approximately 2 kilometres offset from the Military Demarcation Line in the middle. Although this border works as an effective buffer zone to prevent armed conflicts, the DMZ is also one of the most heavily militarised zones in the world, thus almost uninhabited by anyone other than military forces. However, there are two exceptions. Between the Military Demarcation Line and the Southern Limit Line there is an old village called Daeseongdong Maeul, also known as ‘Freedom Village’. On the northern part, there is another old village called Gijeongdong Maeul, or ‘Peace Village’. Although the distance between these two settlements is only 1.9 kilometres, their inhabitants are strictly separated. Retaining these two villages within the DMZ was covered by a specific clause of the Armistice Agreement signed in July 1953. Freedom Village is located within the western section of the DMZ, only about 65 kilometres away from Seoul. As of 2018, there is a total of 193 villagers in Freedom Village.1 Most villagers are engaged in agricultural Architectural History MA 2019-20


26 productions of rice, beans and peppers. Although Freedom Village is still administered by the UN Command as stated in the Armistice Agreement, the villagers are the citizens of South Korea; however, they are exempted from paying tax and obligatory military service.2 Instead, there are some restrictions and regulations in place to maintain its population and keep villagers safe. Villagers are required, for instance, to reside in the village for at least eight months per year. There is a curfew between midnight and 5 a.m., and at 7 p.m. everyday, the ‘civilian control’ army officers take a roll-call in every house. Moreover, all visitors must go through strict background identity checks. Since its reformulation after the Korean War in the mid-1950s, Freedom Village has been the test bed for South Korea boasts of success over North Korea. The large-scale government-led redevelopment projects during the Park Chung-Hee administration from 1963 to 1979 – a time of dictatorship characterised by maximum state intervention and authoritarianism – transformed the settlement into an attractive modern rural village. 3 Government records of these projects in the 1970s clearly reveal a deliberate strategy to establish a village of propaganda. Many efforts were geared to beautify Freedom Village into an extraordinary place that could sustain itself within the DMZ. Its traditional dwellings were substituted with Western-style architecture painted in bright colours, alongside public facilities as well as the tallest national flagpole in South Korea: the largest national flag supported, paradoxically, by a steel structure painted in light blue symbolising the colour of the UN Command. Farmlands and paddy-fields were reorganised and distributed among the villagers. The main objective of such projects were displays of a free

Forgotten propaganda / Uri Chae


27 liberal state over North Korea, whose economic status was deemed better than that of South Korea until the mid-1970s. However, governmentality in Freedom Village shows several features that are not in line with the principles of a ‘free’ liberal state. Severely censored by military command and political power, its villagers could not exercise the same rights as other citizens outside the DMZ. Captivated by fear and the danger of living near the frontline, the inhabitants conduct were under constant supervision by the South Korean government. Therefore, unlike other rural villages in South Korea, Freedom Village was not encouraged to exercise mechanisms of self-regulation as promoted by the Park regime in the 1970s under the New Village Movement. As a result, the economic prospects, architectural forms and indeed the population of Freedom Village have changed little since the completion of the 1978 redevelopment plan. Various restrictions and regulations have prevented major transformations promoted by the villagers. Today, however, its overall population is rapidly ageing, and the villagers seem to be content with their current lifestyles, mainly due to the generous subsidies. In this sense, the stagnation of Freedom Village is half-involuntary and half-voluntary. However, since the 1980s, when the South Korean government stopped prioritising this kind of propaganda activity, Freedom Village was gradually forgotten. Thus, the special circumstances of Freedom Village initially legitimised by its role as a propaganda village ultimately deprived its inhabitants of opportunities to cultivate their own built environment.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


28 In terms of achieving Foucault’s idea of an equilibrium between the techniques of domination and of the self, Freedom Village exemplifies the advanced level of governmentality associated with the adoption of neoliberalism could not be exerted.4 In other words, governmentality of Freedom Village has lingered on the pre-modern notion of governmentality, whereas other villages in South Korea were encouraged to vigorously cultivate a 20th-century idea of governmentality by practicing self-regulating and self-sustaining technologies. In Freedom Village, governmentality was based on apparatuses of fear, danger, economic benefit, exemption from military service, anticommunist sentiment and patriotism. Despite the governmental support, the current status of Freedom Village raises the question of how to substitute the space for political initiatives implemented by authority. Freedom Village substantiates the observation that the exercise of strong state intervention and censorship might succeed in the initial advancement of a community, yet it also shows us that the authentic knowledge exchanged between those who are governing and those who are governed is essential in achieving the equilibrium required by modern governmentality and by extension the success of all contemporary communities. “Visiting the Only Village in the DMZ,” Policy Briefings Website, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Department of Public Communications, http://www.korea.kr/news/ policyNewsView.do?newsId=148849511. 1

United Nations Command Regulation 525-2 states that the residents of Freedom Village are South Korean citizens residing in an area under the operational and administrative control of the UNC Commander (5. Policies a-(1). 2

Hee-Yeon Cho, ‘The Structure of the South Korean Developmental Regime and Its Transformation’ Inter-Asia Cultural Studies vol. 1, no. 3 (2000), 408–26, https://doi. org/10.1080/14649370020009915. 3

Michel Foucault and Mark Blasius, ‘About the Beginning of the Hermeneutics of the Self,’ Political Theory 21, no. 2 (May 1993), 203, https://doi.org/10.1177/0090591793021002004. 4

Forgotten propaganda / Uri Chae


29

A National Flagpole in Freedom Village. Photograph by Park Chaerin, 2020. Architectural History MA 2019-20


of the digital means of production

Francesco D’Alessio

Politics and aesthetics in the wake of the reappropriation

The language of discrete architecture:


31 The scent of revolution which emanates from the proposition of ‘redefining the entire production chain of architecture’1 by the young advocates of ‘Discrete architecture’ in 2019 is as charming as it is scepticism-inducing. Set out to be a new framework to produce socially conscious architecture based on automation and robotics, the Discrete does not purport to define a new architectural ‘style.’ Nonetheless, on an aesthetic level, the essence of Discrete design - consisting in a return to experimentation with ‘the fundamental building blocks’2 of architecture, implemented by the use of artificial intelligence - does consistently lead to a proclivity for rough and fragmented forms.3 It is for this reason that it runs the risk of being superficially labelled as a ‘style in opposition to Parametricism’4 (which is characterised by continuous, curvilinear, and smooth shapes) as remarked by Neil Leach. However, the Discrete phenomenon ought to be understood beyond this definition because the reasons, and desires, that motivate its existence are not only in opposition to Parametricism, but also to the production logic of the entirety of contemporary architecture. In a psychopolitical interpretation, as in Deleuze and Guattari’s AntiOedipus, ‘desire’ can be understood as the fundamental product of human psyche that, perpetually repressed by the prevailing culture of images and institutions, always ends up coinciding with objects external Architectural History MA 2019-20


32 to its reach, unattainable by definition, and is therefore condemned to be unfulfilled and subjugated to consumerism. In other words, architecture and everyday life are generally unconsciously desired and produced to perpetuate the capitalist economic system instead of being spontaneously conceived to ease the human condition. In this light, new types of architecture are always a reflection of the contradictions of the capitalistic model of society: an expensive and unsustainable production process where workers are condemned to be unhappy, underpaid, and restless, although seemingly comfortable in their oedipalized state and with altruistic intentions in theory. As bitterly remarked by Manfredo Tafuri in 1974 any project that purports to ‘anticipate the conditions of an architecture for a liberated society,’ is an ‘illusion to be done away with’ if it does not first perform ‘a revolution of architectural language, method, and structure which goes far beyond […] the simple adapting of syntax.’5 The controversial lesson of Anti-Oedipus is the suggestion of ‘learning from the Psychotic to shake off the Oedipal yoke and the effects of power, in order to initiate a radical politics of desire freed from all beliefs,’6 in other words unleashing the liberating potential of the occasional crisis of the capitalist system, by overturning its temporarily exposed production mechanisms and resuming more spontaneous modes of human production. Thus, the systemic failure of modernity to provide security and wellbeing fosters the attractiveness of a return to primitiveness, in psychology as in architecture. For, if capitalist and neoliberal values have corrupted and alienated the state of architecture, it is only in the roots of architecture and the deeply material and earthly nature of its matter that one can find the most extreme expression of its subversion. Revolution in Deleuze-Guattarian terms coincides with a charming, yet vague, return to

The language of discrete architecture / Francesco D'Alessio


33 primitive spontaneity: ‘desire does not “want” revolution,’ writes Deleuze, but ‘it is revolutionary in its own right, as though involuntarily, by wanting what it wants.’7 The Discrete proposition of revolutionising the current production process of architecture by returning to a focus on its fundamental building blocks in a strive to lead the field to a more sustainable existence within digital capitalism, is an example of such a ‘return to nature,’ insofar as it aestheticizes the intricate spontaneity of computer logic as ‘natural,’ similarly to the Deleuze-Guattarian symbolic identification of psychosis with freedom: it may be incomprehensible to the normative eye, but it is nonetheless a valuable expression of unconstrained primordial behaviour. The Discrete has essentially intercepted the recurrent contemporary society’s quest for a lost ancient humanity and ‘the logic of disinterest, […] of the nonutilitarian, which governs life in archaic societies’ which ‘represents the repressed par excellence of modern society,’8 and found in the digital the so far unleashed means to resume those values in architecture without having to imitate ancient modes of production literally, thus ‘investing the nostalgia for a pre-capitalist past in […] a radically new future,’9 embodying the spirit of the ‘revolutionary or utopian romanticist’ character defined by philosopher Michael Löwy. In Discrete theory, ‘digital nature’ – as the logic of robots, machine learning and AI – is not unlike Deleuze-Guattarian ‘schizophrenia’ because a computer does not tend to develop an ego, a totality, an identity per se, but remains an expression of its partialities and of its discreteness made of bits of data and pixels. Essentially, where conservative digital paradigms tend to perform an ‘oedipalization’ on the digital matter,

Architectural History MA 2019-20


34 by forcing the naturally restless discrete network of data and pixels of artificial intelligence to assume a unitary smooth or organic form – as in the case of Parametricism – the Discrete proposition consists in embracing to an increased extent the digital ‘as it is,’10 in its messy and dynamic non-human state. Although obviously digital matter in its purest state is unusable for human purposes, for an excess of chaos, we can affirm that the Discrete project is essentially an architectural ‘domestication’ of the schizophrenic state of digital nature, whose illegibility is scaled down according to human convenience, but whose digital natural spontaneity is never rejected.

Gilles Retsin. ‘Introduction’ in Discrete: Reappraising the Digital in Architecture. (West Sussex: Wiley, 2019), 8. 1

2

Ibid., 9.

Mario Carpo. ‘Particlised: Computational Discretism, or The Rise of the Digital Discrete’ in Discrete: Reappraising the Digital in Architecture, 88. 3

Neil Leach. ‘A Critique of the Discrete’ in Discrete: Reappraising the Digital in Architecture, 137. 4

Manfredo Tafuri. Architecture and Utopia: Design and Capitalist Development (MIT Press, 1976), 179. 5

Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari. Anti-Aedipus; Capitalism and Schizophrenia (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000), xxi. 6

7

Ibid., 118.

Michael Löwy and Robert Sayrep. Romanticism against the tide of Modernity (Durham: Duke University Press, 2001), 239. 8

9

Ibid., 72.

Mario Carpo. The Second Digital Turn: Design Beyond Intelligence (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2017), 112. 10

The language of discrete architecture / Francesco D'Alessio


35

Illustration by Dhruv Shah Aka Lodaya and Bronte Allan, 2020.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


the city in late 19th century Cairo

Abdulrahman El-Taliawi

Parallel transformations in the architecture of texts and

Grids and paragraphs:


37

Grids and Paragraphs brings together two distinct fields of research. First, city as text. How the city is written and read, but also how text is built and meaning is embodied and constructed. The interrelations between architecture and language have been discussed in ways that lack neither variety nor range,1 as Adrian Forty shows us in Words and Buildings (2000), and has existed ‘as long as we have had a modern city literature.’2 It has been the topic of critical debates in architectural discourse, increasingly from the 1960s onwards, as well as in recent scholarship, including at UCL. Yet, as a field that is rooted in the study of architecture’s relation to language, its knowledge production has been written mostly in English, as lingua franca, and centred mainly around Europe. It has rarely engaged with other cultures and geographies, especially considering their own particular relation to language and architecture. This dissertation thus attempts to situate this discourse within the city of Cairo and shift its focus towards Arabic texts, which brings us to the other field of research that this thesis engages with. Second, the Arab and Middle Eastern city in the advent of industrialisation, world market and modern nation states. As most other cities in the region, from Algiers to Beirut with varying degrees and Architectural History MA 2019-20


38 circumstances, Cairo’s route to modernity was inextricably linked to the machinations of European colonialism, circumscribed from its beginning by the French occupation (1798-1801) and towards its end by British rule (1882-1952). Consequently, much of the knowledge produced about the city has been dominated and shaped by Eurocentric epistemic models, notwithstanding Orientalist tropes, often failing to account for local agency as well as cultural and geographical idiosyncrasies. This dissertation thus attempts to explore Cairo’s route to modernity as a locally situated and continuous process of development. Through examining archival maps and texts, it traces a parallel and analogous transformation of both city and text in late 19th century Cairo. It is divided into two parts. Part I, the City, begins with the map of Cairo introduced by the French expedition in 1809. It examines the map as a form of knowledge on the city, a legible document in which the city is inscribed, as well as a literary construction through which the city is read. Building on Timothy Mitchell’s Colonizing Egypt (1988), it then moves on to discuss the founding of the army (1820-1863) as the formative event, not only in the making of the Egyptian nation state, but also in devising a modern concept of disciplinary order that would be diffused and applied to the whole surface of society, including schooling, housing and state-building. It argues that this ‘new order’ took the form of the grid, a discursive formation and spatiotemporal ordering device that converged to organise and structure both city and society according to a system of straight, parallel and intersecting lines. It then explores how the grid as order came to shape the city (1868-1882) through examining the map of Cairo, commissioned by

Grids and paragraphs / Abdulrahman El-Taliawi


39

the state in 1874, tracing the transformations that the built environment underwent in the form of modern grid-planned developments built in stark contrast to the dense urban fabric of the old city. This exploration is hinged on the moment in 1868 when Ali Mubarak came to preside over the establishment of two newly founded state institutions, the Ministry of Public Works and the Ministry of Education. The dissemination of both buildings and words would be managed from the same office in old Cairo. Part II, the Text, begins by exploring the proliferation of translation and print in 19th century Cairo as a transcultural space through which the scientific advancements of Europe were introduced into Arabic. It explores how Arabic writings struggled to digest and co-opt the modern city, and how Cairo came to accommodate a vibrant textual culture in which a burgeoning literate class engaged in conceiving and reproducing the city through the written word. These developments would culminate in later decades in the writing of Mubarak’s Khitat (1888), a voluminous text of traditional urban historiography documenting Cairo’s built form, narrating the account of its buildings, streets and monuments over time. Through examining the visual form of the Arabic text as an image, it then shows how written Arabic, traditionally composed of dense bulk text from beginning to end, underwent a modernizing transformation not unlike that of the city with the introduction of the paragraph and punctuation. Paragraphs divide the text in a similar way to the division of space to gridplanned land plots. As much as the page has a body and margin, land plots have built forms and retention spaces separating them. Paragraphs and grids can be both seen as parts of an otherwise extended wholecontinuum; the text in the case of the first and urban space in the case of the second. Punctuation, on the other hand, regulates the flow of the text,

Architectural History MA 2019-20


40 as analogous to traffic in the city space. In other words, it brings together, separates and distinguishes texts in order to better perform the meaning. It concludes that the introduction of paragraphs in dividing the space of the text echoed the transformation of the city as it came to be organized by grids. In as much as it is composed of and about texts as they relate to architecture, it looks at how texts conceive of and depict the city, as well as how texts are material products, built and populated with words and spaces, which are in turn shaped by the city.

Adrian Forty, Words and Buildings: The Vocabulary of Modern Architecture (London: Thames & Hudson, 2000), 63. 1

Andreas Huyssen, Present Pasts: Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory (Stanford & California: Stanford University Press, 2003), 50. 2

Grids and paragraphs / Abdulrahman El-Taliawi


41 Visual comparison between traditional urban mass and dense text (right) and modern urban fabric and punctuated text (left). Author’s composite image, 2020. Source of images: gallica. bnf.fr / Bibliothèque nationale de France - Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Sachsen-Anhalt - Wikisource.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


Nathaniel Gore

The Pinault Collection in the Bourse de Commerce

Making Paris contemporary:


43

The conversion of the Bourse de Commerce is about creating a museum in order to prevent Paris from becoming one. The world’s first tourist destination is in danger of losing touch with the ‘now’, of becoming the new Florence. Museumification is seen to be hanging like an axe over the fate of the French capital, long anxious about being left behind by more ‘vibrant’ global cities. Hence, Paris must be made contemporary. But the Bourse de Commerce project is also shaped by the longstanding Socialist municipal leadership’s commitment to driving their social inclusion agendas through cultural policy. It is also a vector for one of the world’s most prominent billionaire art-collector’s obsession with culture as a financial asset. How do the global-city agendas of cultural and economic attractivity intersect with more local political pressures, while also accommodating the dictates of corporate capital accumulation? It was announced on 26 June 2016 that billionaire Francois Pinault, one of the richest men in France, the founder of the 3rd biggest luxury goods conglomerate in the world and keen art collector (and coincidentally owner of Christie’s) would be leased the historic Bourse de Commerce in order to exhibit his large contemporary art collection.1 This extremely distinctive and strategic building, located in the heart of the city, not only physically but also at the centre of the transport network and on a major Architectural History MA 2019-20


44 tourist route, had been underused and in a concerning state for a number of years.2 This lease comes on condition that the Pinault Collection bears the cost of renovation which has been carried out by Tadao Ando. This conversion forms the final major project in the complex and controversial regeneration of the large open zone known as the site of Les Halles, the city’s defunct wholesale food market. An extremely historically charged site, it has been the theatre of innumerable redevelopments over the course of its thousand-year old history, systematically responding to new appropriations of the space and the need for regulatory state control. The exceptional ambiguity and density of this space makes it a striking object of study in relation to contemporary Parisian urbanism and innercity redevelopment more generally. Different layers are embedded in this quarter and they can tell us about the emergence of the identity of this site over time and the transformations in its usages. These identify the different forms of diversity that have made and continue to make this a site where extreme disparities in symbolic and material capital meet in a context of ever-increasing pressure from the exclusionary drive of the private sector. The project for a contemporary art gallery in the Bourse de Commerce starkly highlights the issues at stake today in this zone, precisely through this symbolic attempt to give it a contemporary dynamic. Here, conflicting currents in the definition of contemporary play out. One driven by the endlessly renewing cycles of the global market and the other a means of analysing a site anchored in a horizontal approach which challenges a race for the new and seeks to integrate a diversity of expressions.

Making Paris contemporary / Nathaniel Gore


45 The project for the Bourse de Commerce has failed in its objectives before it is even completed. It is obsolete in a world where the tourist economy is no longer deemed a safe investment and the cultural service it offers at a local level is wildly below the brief. However, it is an emblematic site which crystallises a number of prominent urban issues in Paris. The experience of this shapeshifting site carries a long legacy of regulation and adaptability. ‘Buildings necessarily both constrain and enable certain kinds of life and experience – they are inherently coercive in that they enforce limits to action and enable social practice to “take place”.’3 What kind of social practice could this gallery have allowed to take place had it not imposed such exclusionary symbolism on the building hosting it? A space which might have embraced its links to the periphery, both historical and current, and encouraged the freeform appropriation which Les Halles has always been known for. This would have formed an approach which states the history of the site and its manifestations but attempts to integrate what might be valuable now, expressing the shared ownership of this urban site. Instead it will be a space for the performance of capitalism, a spectacle which tightens the hold that the luxury industry exerts on Paris’ contemporary identity. The project for the Pinault Collection consecrates a drive towards distinction and an individual consumerist experience of the city. This type of project is the epitome of the derealisation of labour into sheer grey concrete, signed by a globally consecrated artist-architect to be experienced as an exclusive attraction. This signals the contemporary, but in this case not as the ‘new’ but as the overwhelming encroachment

Architectural History MA 2019-20


46 of competing but coexistent agendas and usages in a site which still embodies the successive re-appropriations of its history. However, the notion of ‘contemporary’ contained in Pinault’s contemporary art is not the only way of understanding this notion. A contemporary analysis ‘is a mode of being in historical time, one that indicates that, if “we have never been modern,” we have certainly always been contemporaries’ as Ruffel defines it, reusing Latour’s provocative phrase.4 The project for the Bourse de Commerce is not modern since it relies so heavily on a status quo of power dynamics, but it is part of a contemporary project for the city. This project as it stands, still incomplete, bears the hallmark in every respect of the fetishization of the art/architectural work. Yet it is also through this project, embedded as it is in the complexities addressed throughout the dissertation, that we can consider a new conception of the contemporary, not as the modernist gesture, but as the mixed outcomes that are constrained by the politics of the present and which make no claims to shaping a different future.

Etienne Dumont, ‘Tadao Ando Présente Son Projet Pour l’ex-Bourse de Commerce’, Bilan, 2 July 2017. 1

Commission du Vieux Paris, ‘Transformation de La Bourse Du Commerce En Musée,’ Compte-Rendu de Séance (Conseil de Paris, 22 February 2017), 6–7. 2

Kim Dovey, Becoming Places: Urbanism/Architecture/Identity/Power (London ; New York: Routledge, 2010), 59. 3

Lionel Ruffel, Brouhaha: Worlds of the Contemporary, trans. Raymond N. MacKenzie (University of Minnesota Press, 2018), 177. 4

Making Paris contemporary / Nathaniel Gore


47

Illustration by Bronte Allan, 2020.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


Paul Kesslar-Lyne

Experiments and exhibitions in Milton Keynes

Energy and housing:


49

My dissertation considers early approaches to energy and housing in Milton Keynes. I first highlight that the efficient use of resources was an objective of the 1970 Plan for Milton Keynes, which became very important following the 1973 oil crisis. Following this, I outline a series of energy experiments commenced in the 1970s by Milton Keynes Development Corporation (MKDC), the Open University (OU), and others. Expertise in energy was developed in Milton Keynes as a result of these early experiments. I then set out how, encouraged by initial private sector interest in energy and housing, and the 1981 Homeworld housing exhibition, MKDC in the 1980s decided to approach energy more strategically. In 1986 it organised the Energy World exhibition of energy efficient housing, which formed part of a wider Energy Park in Milton Keynes. This was an attempt to alter the market so that housing design included consideration of energy. A key innovation was the ‘Milton Keynes Energy Cost Index’ (MKECI), a prototype of the method of energy assessment that is used today to judge energy efficiency in housing. My understanding of the origins and development of the energy projects in Milton Keynes has benefitted from a series of conversations with Architectural History MA 2019-20


50 individuals who worked for MKDC or the OU in the 1970s and 1980s and were involved in the projects.1 Bringing together recollections of different individuals has provided fascinating primary source material enabling me to make connections between the projects, understand their contexts and assess their success, impact and lasting influence on current practice in energy. Energy World and the wider Energy Park can be seen as the culmination of the work on energy projects that had taken place in the previous years. The year 1986 had been designated Energy Efficiency Year by Peter Walker, the Secretary of State for Energy. The Energy World exhibition was used as an opening event for the Energy Park and was open to the public from 23 August to 21 September 1986. Fifty houses were exhibited, built by 32 developers from the UK and overseas. The Energy Park was intended to be large enough to change the market approach to energy,2 and also seen an opportunity to publicise the city.3 Will Cousins, masterplanner for the site, considers that there was no template for the initiative and it was an innovation based on original thought.4 Exhibitors at Energy World needed to meet particular energy efficiency standards when assessed against the MKECI. This was a flexible microcomputer program commissioned by MKDC in collaboration with the Department of Energy to measure the energy performance of dwellings at the design stage, by calculating the energy running costs for the dwelling.5 It is seen as a major achievement of energy projects in Milton Keynes and an initiative with lasting value as it can be traced to later forms of energy assessment, such as the National Home Energy Rating (NHER), the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP), and Energy

Energy and housing / Paul Kesslar-Lyne


51 Performance Certificates. Tadj Oreszczyn, then a PHD student at the OU, and now Professor of Energy and Environment at UCL’s Energy Institute, considers the MKECI to be one of the most impactful outcomes of the energy projects in Milton Keynes.6 John Doggart, who in the 1970s was MKDC’s representative in an ‘Energy Consultative Unit’ formed jointly by MKDC and the OU, and was later a Partner at the architectural practice Energy Conscious Design, believes that the 1980s exhibitions and particularly the use of the MKECI at Energy World mark the end of the ‘experimental/proving’ stage in Milton Keynes, and saw energy conservation become normalised.7 Following the public exhibition, Energy World held a ‘Business Week’ from 27 September to 1 October 1986. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, having been unable to attend the public opening of Energy World,8 opened the Business Week and was very complimentary of the exhibition.9 Commenting on the influence of the Conservative Government elected in 1979, John Walker, Director of Planning and Deputy General Manager, MKDC, and later Chief Executive of the Commission for New Towns, considers that housing exhibitions allowed MKDC to be seen as a ‘facilitator’ of development rather than a builder. This was consistent with Government attitudes as it allowed it to trump the private sector.10 The story of energy and housing design in Milton Keynes is extensive and complex. It is very likely that the projects would not have occurred in the same way if the oil crisis had not happened, or if MKDC had different powers or stuctures. However the combination of individual interests, an autonomous organisation, the close proximity of MKDC and the OU and external influences enabled energy projects to take place which are

Architectural History MA 2019-20


52 particularly relevant to today’s concerns about climate change and our environment.

Giles Charrington, Private Housing Unit, MKDC; Will Cousins, Masterplanner for Energy World and the Energy Park, MKDC; John Doggart OBE, architect at MKDC and then partner at Energy Conscious Design; Michael Edwards, Plan for MK Consultant Team, now at UCL; Peter Martin, Architect at MKDC and original tenant of Bradville Solar House; Professor Tadj Oreszczyn, PHD student and then researcher at the OU, now at UCL; Tim Skelton, Private Housing Unit and Commercial Commerce Department, MKDC, now Chair of MK Forum; John Walker, Director of Planning and Deputy General Manager, MKDC, and then Chief Executive of the Commission for New Towns. 1

2

John Walker, Interview with author, July 9, 2020.

3

Tim Skelton, Interview with author, July 14, 2020.

4

Will Cousins, Interview with author, July 10, 2020.

Peter F Chapman, “The Milton Keynes Energy Cost Index”, Energy and Buildings, 14 (1990), 83. 5

6

Tadj Oreszczyn, Interview with author, July 17, 2020.

7

John Doggart, Interview with author, July 13, 2020.

8

Giles Charrington, Interview with author, July 27, 2020.

9

John Walker, Interview with author, July 9, 2020.

10

John Walker, Interview with author, July 9, 2020. Energy and housing / Paul Kesslar-Lyne


53

The Round House. Illustration by Dhruv Shah Aka Lodaya, 2020.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


Yuying Li

Qi qi guai guai architecture in China


55 On October 15, 2014, Chinese president Xi Jinping chaired the Forum on Literature and Art in Beijing and gave a significant speech. He indicated the important role of literature and art in realising the Chinese Dream1 of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.2 The next day, the official newspaper of the Communist Party, People’s Daily, as well as reporting the content of his speech, stated that President Xi had also called for an end to qi qi guai guai (bizarre) architecture.3 It was the first time that the phrase qi qi guai guai architecture entered the public consciousness. The speech had been reported by the media both in China and abroad and received widespread attention. The subsequent fierce debate about qi qi guai guai architecture has never subsided, as national and local governments have actively responded to Xi’s call and taken action. An official policy document, ‘Several Opinions of the State Council of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Further Enhancing Administration of Urban Planning and Construction’, was published on February 6, 2016. This policy was believed to be influenced by Xi’s criticism in the 2014 Forum and proposed restrictions on three characteristics considered to be emblematic of qi qi guai guai architecture: mei yang (xenocentric), tan da (oversized) and qiu guai (odd-shaped).4 Architectural History MA 2019-20


56 Another official policy document published on April 27, 2020, reemphasized the importance of regulating mei yang, tan da, and qiu guai architecture and also outlined more detailed regulations.5 Furthermore, it declared that architecture should be built for ‘strengthening cultural confidence’ and ‘representing Chinese characteristics’. It is clear that from 2014 to 2020, the term qi qi guai guai architecture, derived from Xi’s 2014 speech, has become a focus of national policies and international attention. In foreign newspaper reports, various English words have been used in an attempt to provide a suitable translation for the original term qi qi guai guai, including ‘bizarre’, ‘weird’, ‘wacky’, ‘strange’, and ‘oddball’. Considering the different implicit meanings between languages, this dissertation uses the original Chinese terms, qi qi guai guai (bizarre), mei yang (xenocentric), tan da (oversized) and qiu guai (odd-shaped). This can also provide a cultural context for this linguistic analysis. For example, qi qi guai guai is a doubling of the Mandarin term qi guai. Both characters (qi and guai) can be broadly interpreted to mean bizarre, but a doubling of the term qi guai, has the effect of softening its mood and heightening its informality and ambiguity.6 It was therefore unusual for President Xi to use qi qi guai guai to describe the architectural phenomenon in a national forum, as it is rather an informal term commonly used in everyday speech. The use of repetition expresses affection, leaving a greater impression, while its informality has caused it to spread widely through social media and to receive much attention and discussion among not only officials, but also the public.

Qi qi guai guai architecture in China / Yuying Li


57

Although qi qi guai guai architecture has been a popular topic of discussion in various media, it has so far largely escaped academic scrutiny. Furthermore, no systematic research has yet been conducted on the topic. This dissertation therefore aims to fill this gap by placing this popular social topic into a critical academic study. Due to the novelty and incompleteness of this field, no recognised specific academic concept of qi qi guai guai architecture or related methodological approach has been developed. Consequently, this research uses the three key characteristics of mei yang, tan da, and qiu guai, taken from the official policy emanating from Xi’s statement, as an analytical framework to deconstruct and critique this nascent term in three main chapters. The dissertation adopts a methodologically diverse approach. First, although qi qi guai guai architecture is a new term originating in 2014, the conditions that gave rise to it are far from new. Indeed, similar architectural phenomena can be found throughout architectural history, offering important insight and opportunities for comparison, especially in the absence of any significant academic research on qi qi guai guai. For example, the specific historical or socio-cultural conditions in which London’s Great Pagoda in the eighteenth century or Beijing’s ‘ten great buildings’ or ‘big roof’ architecture in the twentieth century occurred are precedents from the past that help to inform the present. Additionally, relevant official policies regarding urban planning, construction, and other associated fields provide important insight into the role of qi qi guai guai architecture in China’s social constructions and transformations. Furthermore, although this architectural phenomenon stems from the president’s speech and the subsequent official policy, this study seeks insight from beyond the top-down narratives by incorporating bottom-

Architectural History MA 2019-20


58 up approaches, including alternative public opinion using different forms of social media. Chinese and western news reports containing different images and examples provide varying attitudes and opinions from different groups, such as architects, developers, and customers. The influence of the media in spreading qi qi guai guai architecture is therefore an important factor of this study. Xi’s statement on qi qi guai guai architecture and the policy documents on its characteristics are the departure point for this critical study into the question of architectural bizarreness in the Chinese context. This dissertation aims to interrogate the topic not only from a political perspective, but also from historic, aesthetic, linguistic, cultural, and other perspectives, and to find interconnections among these different aspects. It provides a means of thinking critically about qi qi guai guai architecture and the impact it has on people’s lives. Finally, it also offers fresh opportunities for introspection, new perspectives and critical selfreflection in response to architectural development in China today.

1

The term ‘Chinese Dream’ is an ideological concept proposed by Xi Jinping in 2012

Xi Jinping, ‘An Important Speech at the Forum of Art and Literature,’ Xinhua Net, October 15, 2015, http://www.xinhuanet.com//politics/2015-10/19/c_1116868910.htm. 2

Zhang He, ‘In Addition to the Speech, What Did Xi Jinping Say at the Forum of Art and Literature?’ People’s Daily, October 16, 2014, http://politics.people.com.cn/n/2014/1016/ c1001-25845787.html. 3

‘Several Opinions of the State Council of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Further Enhancing Administration of Urban Planning and Construction,’ Architectural Design Management, 33, no. 3 (2016): 31-35. 4

Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of the People’s Republic of China and the National Development and Reform Commission, ‘Guideline of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of the People’s Republic of China and the National Development and Reform Commission on Further Enhancing Administration of Cities and Architecture,’ Kejian/38. MOHURD, 2020, http://www.mohurd.gov.cn/jzjnykj/202004/t20200429_245239. html. 5

6

Qi means strange and guai means peculiar. Qi qi guai guai architecture in China / Yuying Li


59

CCTV headquarters. Photograph by Sixue Zhang.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


Maria McLintock

Examining Belfast’s emergent post-conflict architectures

In-between typologies:


61 ‘Between our lips, yours and mine, several voices, several ways of speaking resound endlessly, back and forth. One is never separable from the other. You/I: we are always several at once.’ Luce Irigaray, Speculum of the Other Women, 209

The three decade-long violent conflict in Northern Ireland (N.I.), known colloquially as the Troubles, took the lives of over 3,600 individuals and displaced somewhere between 45 and 65,000 civilian families between the years 1968 and 2001.1 Centred around ethno-nationalist friction between largely Catholic/Republican/Nationalists and Protestant/ Unionist/Loyalists, physical conflict mainly ceased on 10 April 1998, crystallised through an accord called the Good Friday Agreement (GFA). Signed between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland governments, the peace agreements stipulated how N.I. should be governed to facilitate a culture where the bifurcated groups could share both space and socio-economic resource. While N.I. has become known as a ‘laboratory of peace work,’to suggest that the region has contemporaneously reached a tangible climate of peace would present a rudimentary reading.2 For one, and relevant here, the urban landscapes of the capital city Belfast is still permeated by physical palimpsests that operate as visible emblems to distinguish one ‘side’ from the other. Flags always at full-mast mark allegiance to the United Kingdom, murals depict ‘heroes’ of the conflict, and injustices gone unresolved; contested narratives that are still unfolding. Perhaps most overtly, fortification walls, fences and barricades criss-cross between working-class neighbourhoods,

Architectural History MA 2019-20


62 left to ensure the still unresolved tensions between communities do not eclipse in further conflict. Since 1995, these fortifications have been rebranded with the official euphemism ‘peace walls’, and the groups they divide renamed as ‘interface communities.’ As physical signifiers of the conflict, they have become a focal point of funding from the international and domestic communities, as well as the target of policy implementation. The labour required to remove an interface is highly delicate, requiring experienced advocacy groups and practitioners to meet with those from both sides – many still living in fear of a resurgence in violence, with trauma of either their lived or inherited experience of the Troubles – and agree upon their removal. American political theorist Wendy Brown identifies ‘walling’ as a singular architectural phenomenon which, ‘as monuments to unsettled and unsecured sovereignty, [they] institutionalise a condition whose opposite their designers would have them performatively enact.’3 This spatially bounded and territorial modality, and at times ontology, of power is demonstrable of an in-between state: the law has prevailed, yet under the shadow of walls peace cannot fully persist. In 2013, the then First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness set out a policy framework called Together: Building a United Community (T:BUC) which, among other goals, claimed that all interface barriers in N.I. would be removed by the year 2023. This target has been criticised for its impracticality and lack of clarity over how exactly the interfaces may be eliminated. This dissertation thus aims to add to a body of research that critically engages with post-conflict urban landscapes – in particular those where forms of segregation are

In-between typologies / Maria McLintock


63

omnipotent, either subtly or overtly – to highlight the messy, complex and knotty subject interrelations that exist between and over bifurcated communities, frequently taxonimised in an overly-simplified narrative of ‘us’ versus ‘them’. I endeavour to illustrate the multiple actors involved in shaping interface subject formation – such as the state, policy researchers, and grassroots initiatives – demonstrating the varying perspectives on slippery notions of post-conflict terminologies, such as ‘peace,’ ‘reconciliation’ and ‘sharing’. The T:BUC framework is foregrounded by the notion that ‘civil society and the community and voluntary sector can only play an active role in the Peace Process to the extent they can do so, and the provision of such opportunity lies within governmental hands.’4 However, the N.I. government’s power-sharing executive collapsed in January 2017 when the two leading parties – the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and nationalist party Sinn Féin – initially split due to conflict regarding the DUP’s management of a ‘green energy’ debate.5 To push against this ‘trickle down’ approach, that stipulates change may only be enacted if managed from a state-level, I weave a more poetic reading by introducing three distinct interventions developed by grassroots initiatives at and along the interface, illustrating how they produce difference harmoniously through an avoidance of both goal-driven methodologies and a movement towards the multiple. I identify these initiatives as emergent typologies that demonstrate ‘peace as always transitional’, categorising them within the spatialized terms passage, opening and encounter. To produce such affirmative readings of relations at and along the interface, I have been hugely influenced by feminist philosophy, both

Architectural History MA 2019-20


64 from within and outside the discipline of architectural history, namely the work of Judith Butler, Luce Irigaray, bell hooks and Peg Rawes. I also lean on the work of feminist spatial practitioners, and their notion of transformative practice, largely through the work of architectural historian Jane Rendell. For the first time, I bring into contact a close reading of policy that impacts interfaces across Belfast, against poetic initiatives by the communities most affected by them, in combination with feminist approaches to space, thus diverting from a diametrical approach to the politico-sectarian landscape of N.I, articulating how relationality is existent. The dissertation therefore seeks to answer: how could one generate a positive notion of the ‘Other’ in post-conflict contexts? How are the diversity of subjects at friction along the interface managed at varying levels, from state to community? What bottom-up poetic interventions go overlooked through the master narratives that historicise post-conflict zones?

Niall Gilmartin. ‘Refugees and forced displacement in Northern Ireland’s ‘Troubles’. Institute of Irish Studies. Website. http://138.253.13.50/irish-studies/blog/2018/refugees/. (2 October 2018). [Accessed 13 September 2020]. 1

James Dingley (2005) Constructive Ambiguity and the Peace Process in Northern Ireland, Low Intensity Conflict & Law Enforcement, 13:1, 1-23, DOI: 10.1080/0966284050022353. 2

Wendy Brown. Walled States, Waning Sovereignty. (London: Zone Books, 2017). Orig. pub. 2010. 40. 3

Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister. Together Building a United Community. (2013). Report. 156. 4

Jayne McCormack. ‘Stormont: What is it and why did power-sharing collapse in Northern Ireland?’ BBC News. Website. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-irelandpolitics-50822912. (10 January 2020). [Accessed 15 August 2020] 5

In-between typologies / Maria McLintock


65 Duncairn Gardens, located in North Belfast, is a residential interface area that sits between New Lodge, a majority Catholic/Nationalist/Republican neighbourhood, and the adjacent Tiger’s Bay, home to mostly Protestant/Unionist/Loyalists. Author’s own photograph, 2020.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


architectural scholarship

Malcolm Msika

New York hip-hop, an oral history source within

Rapcity:


67

A subculture created by Black and Latino men and women in late 1970s New York, Hip-hop from the very beginning has been closely related to the urban environment.1 Space has various functions in hip-hop music, and its potential to express a group identity is central to its importance and power. Hip-hop artists have used lyrical narrative to illustrate the relationship between culture and music and the built environment. Accordingly, Hip-hop music provides one of the main sources within popular culture for a sustained analysis of the diverse experiences of living in these urban environments. The aim of this dissertation is to analyse hip-hop music as an oral performance of written word that becomes material evidence of an architectural historiography. My dissertation focuses on New York City’s built environment, artists and music from 1980 to 2000. Where I’m From (1997) by Jay–Z. Marcy Public Housing comprises twenty-seven low-rise, six-story cruciform brick buildings. Hip-hop artist Jay-Z often references his childhood experiences growing up in this part of Brooklyn during the 1980s and 1990s. Hip-hop Historian and author Murray Forman explains that ‘part of what was at stake during this period of recorded rap was not merely a Architectural History MA 2019-20


68 retelling of ghetto stories, but recuperation and recasting of the meaning of black life in ‘the hood’. Physical space takes on human form and social import.’2 To Forman’s point, Jay-Z’s social relations were clearly carved in the permanence of concrete and brick, as he explains: The shadowy bench-lined inner pathways that connected the twentyseven six-story buildings of Marcy Houses were like tunnels we kids burrowed through. Housing projects can seem like labyrinths to outsiders, as complicated and intimidating as a Moroccan bazaar. But we knew our way around.3 The ‘orientalist’ reference to the exotic impenetrable labyrinth of the ‘Moroccan bazaar’ in relation to Jay-Z’s own built environment in Brooklyn is very striking. Especially in the ‘othering’ of the spatial organisation of Marcy Houses through its comparison with an unfamiliar cultural space. Projects like Marcy Houses were built partially out of goodwill and as an affirmation of the potential for renewal of the capitalist system and order along liberal humanitarian lines. However, by the time these Le Corbusier ‘tower in the park’ inspired buildings were open for public use they were already seen as obsolete.4 In Jay-Z’s ‘Where I’m from’ he interprets living in projects like Marcy as a struggle between survival and death: “I’m from where the liquor stores and the base dwell/ And government? Fuck government! Niggas politick theyselves/Where we call the cops the A-Team/’Cause they hop out of vans and spray things/And life expectancy so low we making out wills at eighteens…”

Rapcity / Malcolm Msika


69

“I’m up the block, around the corner and down the street/From where the pimps, prostitutes and the drug lords meet/We make a million off of beats, ‘cause our stories is deep…” “…Cough up a lung, where I’m from, Marcy son, ain’t nothing nice” – Jay-Z – Where I’m From.5 ‘Where I’m from’ confirms that young black and brown New Yorkers were acutely aware of the way they and their neighbourhoods were viewed by mainstream society. Social theorist Michel Foucault observed that space does not possess an inherent capacity to dominate, but spaces may be invested with power and thus become part of an apparatus of domination.6 This is made evident when Jay-Z alludes to the same Foucauldian ideas of governmentality by saying, We’re aware of the government from the time we’re born. We live in government-funded housing and work government jobs. We have family and friends spending time in the ultimate public housing, prison...From the time we’re small children we go to crumbling public schools that tell us all we need to know about what the government thinks of us.7 To this Jay-Z further raps “And government? Fuck government! Niggas politick theyselves”, highlighting decades of abandonment from city officials assigned to make these spaces more habitable for its citizenry. Jay-Z’s lyrics also show how Brooklyn locals had given up on the government’s so-called positive intervention policies, rendering them

Architectural History MA 2019-20


70 obsolete to their own social and economic organisation. Communities of colour in projects like Marcy House resorted to trying to resolve socioeconomic problems internally by creating their own informal economies through Hip-hop culture. Jay-Z explains how ‘housing projects are a great metaphor for the government’s relationship to poor folks: these huge islands built mostly in the middle of nowhere, designed to warehouse lives.’8 Jay-Z’s ‘Where I’m from’ illustrates how the American housing project is a technology of power. It can be perceived as a disciplining enclosure, as Jay-Z alludes to its similarities to a prison. Jay-Z’s narrative shows how spatial practices which are invested with political or ideological values, are affected in the social realm through a myriad of institutional regulation systems. Hip-hop songs like Jay-Z’s ‘Where I’m from’ give Architectural History a new opportunity to research and critically interrogate the political and socio-economic interrelationships forged within these built environments.

Jeff Chang and D. J. Kool Herc, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation (New York: Picador, 2005), 67 – 68. 1

Michael P. Jeffries, ‘Hip-hop Urbanism Old and New: Debates and Developments’, Int J Urban Reg Res 38 (2014), 707. 2

3

Shawn Carter, Decoded (New York: One World, 2011), 13.

I. P. Prentice and Douglas Haskell eds., ‘PUBLIC HOUSING, anticipating new law, looks at New York’s high-density planning innovations’, The Architectural forum (June 1949), 87-9. 4

Jay-Z, ‘Where I’m from’ In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 (Def Jam Records and Roc-A-Fella Records, 1997), 5

Track 13 Michel Foucault and Colin Gordon, Power, Knowledge: Selected Interviews And Other Writings 1972-1977, (Harlow: Longman, Pearson Education, 2008) 6

7

Carter, Decoded, 89.

8

Ibid. Rapcity / Malcolm Msika


71

‘Cough up a lung, where I’m from, Marcy son, ain’t nothing nice…’ – Jay-Z. Author’s own photograph, 2013.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


From UNCTAD III to GAM

Overwriting the memory of a modern ruin:

Ken Qiu Sun


73 ‘How would I like to see Chile? In democracy … I’d like to see it in democracy I just love asking the impossible.’1 Nicanor Parra (1996) The Gabriela Mistral Cultural Centre (GAM) is the latest iteration of a building that has been at the centre of Chile’s modern history. Its form, a palimpsest of architectural alterations, embodies several historical shifts that have affected the entire nation. Nicanor Parra’s mischievous poem reflects the ostensible unfeasibility for the country to assimilate democracy after 17 years of authoritarianism. Similarly, GAM’s transformations symbolise loss in Chilean collective memory and its impact on a convoluted process of democratisation. Originally, the building was erected to host the third United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD III) in 1972. However, its status as an icon of Salvador Allende’s tenure was truncated by the military coup of 11th September 1973. After the military bombed the presidential office, the UNCTAD III building was occupied by Pinochet’s junta as its headquarters and it was transformed accordingly for its new function as the dictatorship’s public stage. Years after, following a major public competition originated by a fire in 2006, the radically transformed building reopened in 2010 as Chile’s largest cultural centre. Latterly, due to the October 2019 social protest movement, the building has been repoliticised by activists who have converted it into an impromptu platform for protest art. Previous studies in architectural history have mostly overlooked how memory issues have moulded the process of renovation

Architectural History MA 2019-20


74 and the role that its architecture has in the shaping of collective memory. Therefore, this dissertation aims to expand the analysis by locating the renovation of GAM within a theoretical framework that focuses on the socio-political aspects of memory, both in the conception of the reshaped building and its subsequent popular appropriation and perception. In South America, memory studies increased within the academy in the 1990s due to a shift towards democracy after long periods of vicious dictatorships.2 In Chile, memory studies have determined that the term ‘memoria’ (‘memory’) possesses a two-fold significance. On the one hand, it is considered an individual re-enactment of the past in the present that is capable of agglomeration into emblematic memories. Presently, conflicts between groups with opposing interpretations of the authoritarian era continue to permeate political discourses and societal identity in Chile. This leads to cultural divisions that undermine the possibility of a national project that can counteract what Andreas Huyssen calls the politics of forgetting – initiatives pursued by postauthoritarian governments either through official amnesties that enable impunity or through the imposition of certain emblematic memories to justify traumatic past events.3 Yet on the other hand, ‘memoria’ is widely understood as a code-word evocative for truth and accountability.4 ‘Memoria’ emerged during the Pinochet regime as a cultural expression against the already present term, ‘olvido’ (‘oblivion’), which represented the physical and memorial erasure of the disappeared victims of the dictatorship. In an act of resilience, relatives of victims organised into communities and fought against olvido through activism and selfsupport5, thus searching for the memory that they had been deprived of. Advances have been made in Chile after the democratic transition,

Overwriting the memory of a modern ruin / Ken Qiu Sun


75

especially in the realm of human rights, although presently, memory issues have shifted towards the legacy of the regime: the implemented neo-liberal system that rules to this day and the apparent societal stability produced through silencing and overlooking. The radical renovation of GAM is thus influenced by emblematic discourses of national union that aim to close the memory box via a narrative of progress. GAM’s overwriting was supposed to create a clean slate that would turn attention away from its problematic past, through a new form that responds to the current neoliberal logic of architectural consumption. Following Stamatis Zografos’ claim that ‘[n]ew buildings only carry knowledge that has been previously proven to be useful’6, I argue that the meaning of ‘usefulness’ is related to institutional power and its quest to control the memory narrative in the case of GAM. Furthermore, the archival operations that shaped the building’s renovation conceal the power structures behind its refurbishment. Hence, this dissertation seeks to understand the archival properties of GAM’s architecture in order to revise its underlying cultural, political and social context and the impact of the renovation in collective perception. This dissertation is structured through the study of the three major ‘memory knots’ of GAM, using the definition of the concept by Steve J. Stern, who describes these knots as conflictive sites of society that force issues of memory and oblivion into the public realm.7 The first memory knot is the fire, in which politics and memory played a key part in shaping the framework of the building’s renovation; the second memory knot is the design of the renovation, showcasing the role of architecture in institutional memory discourses; finally, the third is the appropriation of

Architectural History MA 2019-20


76 the building during the October 2019 social protests, which will focus upon alternative remembrance related to an overwritten memory object – as performed by protestors who have used the building’s façade as a large canvas for political art, amid the continuing social movement that demands the change of the still-current Chilean Constitution imposed by the dictatorship.

Steve J. Stern, Reckoning with Pinochet: The Memory Question in Democratic Chile, 1989– 2006 (Durham: Duke University Press, 2010), 210. 1

Claudia Feld, ‘Trayectorias y desafíos de los estudios sobre memoria en Argentina,’ [Trajectories and challenges of memory studies in Argentina.] Cuadernos del IDES, no. 32 (May 2016): 6, https://ri.conicet.gov.ar/handle/11336/46622. 2

Andreas Huyssen, Present Pasts: Urban Palimpsets and the Politics of Memory (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), 15. 3

Steve J. Stern, ‘Memory: The Curious History of a Cultural Code Word,’ Radical History Review, no. 124 (January 2016): 119, https://doi.org/10.1215/01636545-3160006. 4

5

Ibid., 122.

Stamatis Zografos, Architecture and Fire: A Psychoanalytic Approach to Conservation (London: UCL Press, 2019), 156. 6

Steve J. Stern, Remembering Pinochet’s Chile: On the Eve of London 1998 (Durham: Duke University Press, 2004), 120-21. 7

Overwriting the memory of a modern ruin / Ken Qiu Sun


77 Students marching in front of GAM. A large banner of Nicanor Parra hangs on GAM’s facade in celebration of his 100th birthday. Photograph by CÊsar Carrasco, 2014. Architectural History MA 2019-20


contact (1905-1985)

Adam Ross

Biograph Cinema as a space of queer socio-sexual

Navigating the regulation and appropriation of The

Creaking seats and crowded aisles:


79

Cinemas, by design, are places of darkness. This darkness has a technical purpose in that it facilitates our viewing of the film, whilst also projecting the viewer into the action on the big screen. Whilst darkness is an intrinsic characteristic of a visit to the cinema, the absorbing warmth of the darkened auditorium has, since the beginnings of the cinema in the early decades of the twentieth century, provided gay men with the anonymity under which to participate in social and sexual meetings. The dualism of the ‘straight’ audience member and the gay cruiser is clearly evident in the case of The Biograph Cinema, located in Victoria, London from its opening in 1909 to its demolition in 1983. As well as managing to maintain a considerable audience at a time of the increasing urban presence of cinema chains, by the 1960s The Biograph Cinema had become one of London’s queer ‘landmarks.’ Known colloquially as ‘the Biogrope’1 amongst its queer clientele, the cinema ‘sustained a sexual culture like no other.’2 At the time of its closure and subsequent demolition, the Biograph was the only operating cinema in the Victoria area, as well as being an infamous location on London’s gay cruising circuit. The ‘queer acts’ that occurred in The Biograph – primarily the practise of cruising – stand Architectural History MA 2019-20


80

as evidence of the ‘queer lives, powers, and possibilities’ in twentieth century London.3 The gestural history and ephemeral traces of cruising at The Biograph from the 1950s to the early 1980s, reinforce the cinema as an important location in the establishment and remembrance of queer urban spaces, thus substantiating its landmark status despite its omission from queer academic literature. This dissertation considers the history of the cinema as a queer space, the influence of darkness on practises of cruising within these spaces, and the appropriation and methods of contact that manifested between gay men in London’s cinemas throughout the twentieth century. Taking into consideration The Biograph as a key example of a ‘gay cinema’, this dissertation explores the cinema as a historic example of the informal inhabitation of mainstream ‘normative’ spaces by the queer subject.4 By tracing the origins of instances of queer sociosexual contact to the ‘national subculture’ of the Victorian music hall and the growing commercialisation of queer venues, the inhabitation of heterosexual space by the queer body appears as a significant factor in the development of place-making and subcultural sexual practises such as cruising.5 Using The Biograph as a case study for the practise of urban queer place-making, a conflict presents itself. This conflict emerges between the process of establishing queer identity through the re-imagining and appropriation of ‘straight’ commercial spaces and the need to regulate the ‘deviant’ behaviour exhibited by the increasingly visible queer community in the early decades of the twentieth century.

Creaking seats and crowded aisles / Adam Ross


81

Through individual encounters in spaces such as cinemas and public toilets in the West End of London, men began to establish themselves within a larger queer community, this public queer life offered many a ‘potent sense of companionship’.6 Sexual encounters and social interactions in cinemas ‘highlight the precarious balance between danger and possibility that pervaded every encounter between boys and men’; the darkness of the cinema presented gay men with multiple opportunities for sexual and social exploration, establishing the cinema as an important queer space for the development of queer networks and changing concepts of queer urban identity. As a literal and metaphorical term, ‘enlightenment’ is aligned with the progressive function and moral desirability to colonise dark urban spaces – by establishing a normative dualism between illumination and darkness in the city, these spaces were increasingly determined by ‘authoritarian practises of control through establishing curfews and intensifying surveillance.’7 By taking advantage of darkness’s ability to mask transgressive behaviour, persecuted minorities and marginal groups were able to participate in subaltern nocturnal practises that were ‘conducive to conviviality, intimacy, experimentation, and excitement.’8 The cinema and the darkness that is intrinsic to its operation afforded members of minority groups, such as gay men, the opportunity to meet in spaces of fantasy and intimacy. Through the introduction of illumination inside the cinema with the intention of making audience members more able to monitor the behaviour of those around them, the queer subject was therefore limited in their ability to engage in sexual transgressive behaviour that did not subscribe to the heterosexual social and sexual norms. Architectural History MA 2019-20


82

The use of the cinema as a cruising space illustrates the structural hegemony of a society that privileges heterosexuality and inhibits public displays of alternative sexualities. As a cruised space, the cinema blurs private/public divides, contesting the socio-political relations that have highlighted these acts as particularistic and idiosyncratic. By identifying the significant role of leisure and entertainment spaces in gay lifestyles of the twentieth century, this dissertation explores the symbolic meanings attached to experiences and spaces by urban queer communities, which offer gay men the opportunity to ‘be themselves’, in opposition to the forced adoption of identities or roles deemed ‘appropriate by heterosexual mainstream society.’9 As a dynamic site for sexual and social emancipation, the cinema and other semi-private leisure spaces present gay men with the ability to resist, subvert, and destabilise conventional sexual and power relations – the cinema therefore emerges as a site for resisting hegemonic domination.

1

Ken Roe, ‘The Biograph: 47-48 Wilton Road, Victoria, SW1V’, cinematreasures.org, (2009)

2

‘Close Down this Cinema of Vice’, News of the World, (date unknown).

José Esteban Muñoz, “Ephemera as Evidence”, Women & Performance, Vol.8, No.2, (London, 1996), 6. 3

Sara Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2006), 3. 4

Faulk, Barry J., Music Hall and Modernity: The Late-Victorian Discovery of Popular Culture, (Athens: Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2004), 1. 5

Matt Houlbrook, Queer London: Perils and Pleasure in the Sexual Metropolis, 1918-1957, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003), 58. 6

Tim Edensor, From Light to Dark: Daylight, Illumination, and Gloom, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017), 169. 7

Craig Koslofsky, Evening’s Empire: A history of Night in Early Modern Europe, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 5. 8

Kevin Markwell, “Space and place in gay men’s leisure”, Annals of Leisure Research, Vol.1, No.1, (London, 2013), 21. 9

Creaking seats and crowded aisles / Adam Ross


83

Illustration by Bronte Allan, 2020.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


Apartment janitor flats in Turkey

Inhabiting the margins:

Mine Sak


85

An apartment janitor (kapıcı)1 is a person who takes care of common areas of an apartment building and watches the door. According to the Turkish Standards Institution, there are 40 basic and professional skills that an apartment janitor must have.2 Cleaning the apartment’s common areas, removing the refuse, keeping the garden tidy, operating the central heating and the generator, and helping tenants with their daily shopping constitute the main workload.3 They also need to watch the door during the day to prevent peddlers and beggars from entering the building and foreign vehicles from entering the parking lot. An apartment janitor’s job includes, but is not limited to, being a cleaner, security guard, gardener and repairman. This dissertation investigates the apartment janitors’ living spaces, located in the basements of the apartment blocks in Turkey. This housing type has been severely under-researched, leaving the urban histories and discussions about these spaces curiously incomplete. For this reason, this dissertation aims to locate the apartment janitors’ living spaces in the city and in the apartment building, and open them up for discussion. While doing that, I rethink the processes of urbanisation, apartmentisation and modernisation of Turkey, through ascertaining how apartment janitor flats connect to or are isolated from the urban environment. Two main Architectural History MA 2019-20


86 questions drive my curiosity for this topic: could we read the inclusion or exclusion in society through an apartment building? More specifically, what would the apartment janitor flats, which have been excluded from architectural history so far, add to the discussions of modernity, social equality and architectural discourse in Turkey and beyond? Since the apartment janitors are predominantly rural migrants, I begin by considering migrants’ positions in cities and the ways in which they were produced as ‘rural others’.4 I suggest that both on the urban and apartment scale, migrants had to build their lives on the margins. Moreover, a rural migrant worker’s existence in the habitat of an apartment in the city is perceived as border violation by the middle and upper-middle-class tenants of the apartments, and creates a state of anxiety. Because of this anxiety, the janitor family is quite literally hidden underneath the tenants, consequently leading to their further stigmatisation. The search for traces of this stigma and the boundaries set by the tenants in the movie spaces of The King of the Apartment Janitors (Kapıcılar Kralı) revealed that although janitors are physically segregated, to a certain extent, they do share spheres of knowledge with the tenants. As part of their jobs, they acquire much private information about their employers; spatial boundaries do not work in the world of knowledge. Moreover, the mapping of movie spaces showed that the physical limits differ according to gender and age amongst the members of the janitor family. While the female members of the family and the children could physically be in the tenants’ flats more often, even sometimes informally, the male members are bound to the public spaces of the apartment.

Inhabiting the margins / Mine Sak


87

The desire to make janitors invisible by means of class segregation manifests itself as an inability to ‘find a place’ both literally and symbolically. One major layer of exclusion regarding janitors is their representational invisibility. I search for the representations of apartment janitor flats in legal documents, online platforms and archives of the architectural journals Arkitekt and Mimarlık and closely analyse texts and drawings. After laying out the lack of visibility and representation, I investigate the architectural and social implications of janitor flats’ positions in the basements. The basement here, is a place where janitors can be both invisible and close to the machinery they maintain. I argue that their invisibility, the basement and their identities as workers are intertwined, and that together, these aspects largely define their perception as ‘dirty others’. Furthermore, their physical and representational invisibility is intimately linked to their location in the basements. I argue that the workers’ hierarchical position at the bottom of the system manifests itself in the general allocation of the janitor flats in the basements of the apartments. Socially subordinate groups are segregated by social establishments and class divisions. Their positions in the buildings support their roles in society, and the lack of awareness reinforces this division. Therefore, it is necessary to include subordinate groups and their living spaces into the discussions and histories of cities and architecture for overturning the periphery-centre split. In this dissertation, my aim was to contribute to the creation of an awareness towards unequal and segregated living conditions of apartment janitors in Turkey who are architecturally bound to their

Architectural History MA 2019-20


88 jobs. During this study, I took the first step by acknowledging their invisibility and steering the research towards an analysis of their (lack of) representations. I explored the extent to which these living spaces are engaged or disjointed with the urban environment and the apartment building. This dissertation then, could be understood as the first attempt to include apartment janitor flats in architectural history by investigating these overlooked spaces and their social dynamics.

The literal translation of kapıcı would be the “doorman”, but a kapıcı’s job is more exhaustive. After considering and reading about other options (doorkeeper, apartmentkeeper, concierge, caregiver etc.) I decided to go with the North American term “janitor”. For the occupational descriptions and living conditions of janitors in the US context see Ray Gold, “Janitors Versus Tenants: A Status-Income Dilemma,” American Journal of Sociology 57, no. 5 (1952): 486–93. 1

Turkish Standards Institution is a public standards organisation whose mission is to enable industrialists to produce goods and services in compliance with rules, laws, codes and standards. Doorkeeper - Residence, Standard No. TS-12896, (Turkish Standards Institution, December 2002), 1.2.1. 2

Throughout the essay, I use the term “apartment” as a building consists of several independent “flats” which share common areas such as a staircase, lift and garden. 3

I borrowed the term ‘rural other’ from: Tahire Erman, The Politics of Squatter (Gecekondu) Studies in Turkey: The Changing Representations of Rural Migrants in the Academic Discourse, Urban Studies 38, no. 7 (2001), 983–1002. 4

Inhabiting the margins / Mine Sak


89

An attempt to show what is below the surface through drawing, Istanbul. Author’s own drawing and photograph, 2020.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


the Kรกdรกr-era

Anna Alexandra Seress

Reconstructing the intersection of luck and housing in

Lottery houses in Budapest:


91

Lottery Houses, the case study of the present dissertation, are quite a straightforward typology. They are residential buildings constructed between 1957 to 1972 all around Budapest by the state, which were then allocated to citizens using the mechanisms of a lottery. One could buy a lottery ticket for the price of 3,30 HUF, roughly the same price as a loaf of bread, and either win money, or amongst other things, a flat in a Lottery House.1 This method of acquisition moves one’s imagination even today, implying fascinating stories and forever changed lives. Yet within the State socialist context of their construction they further represent a complex and paradoxical interplay of politics, ideology, society, myth and, to quote Pierre Bourdieu’s seminal text about ideology, a grand show of ‘displacement and diversion, camouflage and legitimation’ unfolding openly, in the representational space of the media and the city.2 As such, the following dissertation will attempt to serve a dual purpose. First it proposes to reconstruct part of the history of the Lottery Houses, exploring a part of Hungarian architectural history which is largely understudied and forgotten. As I propose, this is a history of mechanisms of ‘displacement and diversion, camouflage and legitimation’, placing Lottery Houses within the specific context of not just Socialist Hungary in the 1950s, but a wider architectural context of the development of the Architectural History MA 2019-20


92 Hungarian profession. This will be important, since while Lottery Houses had an obvious connection with the political sphere, being a vehicle for the ideological considerations of the socialist State’s power, they further were (and are) parts of the built environment. Their ideological role was intrinsically connected to their performance as architectural objects, offering an opportunity to understand the mechanisms of architectural profession in my observed period. Yet simultaneously, through the analysis of the Lottery Houses’ role in the architectural, social and political history of the State socialist period, this study further hopes to demonstrate and complicate the often-prevailing considerations of State socialism as an ideologically and politically largely consistent operation. Rather, this dissertation hopes to operate in an academic space embracing the inconsistencies and paradoxes of not just the private, but also the public spaces of the State’s socialist period, having long-lasting psychological, social, political and aesthetic impact on the current postCommunist Hungary. For the purpose of my argument, I propose that planning is inherently a political act, since with planning, one already chooses between alternatives. This choice, opposed to the myth of scientific objectivity of the profession, especially propagated during socialist times, can only be value-based, and as such, becomes a political act.3 While this definition can be useful for highlighting the inherent political nature of architecture as a discipline, it further helps to problematise and underscore the role of architecture in State socialism. During the rule of the communist regime, this value-based choice of planning was not a necessary, theoretical compromise for a profession, but a conscious, incorporated and compulsory aspect of architectural practice. As such, the conscious

Lottery houses in Budapest / Anna Alexandra Seress


93 incorporation of chance in my case study of Lottery Houses, proposes an apparently paradoxical solution in a system whose highly centralised and dictatorial nature was designed for exercising full and unquestionable control, not just psychologically, but in bureaucracy as well. As such, in the first part of the study I will briefly outline the mechanisms and historical development of Hungary’s housing situation and bureaucratic context between the 1940s until the 1960s. Then, I will review some of the architectural debates of the period, highlighting the complex and often contradictory attempts of the architectural profession’s gestures at theoretical self-definition, torn between an existing theoretical heritage, a desire for autonomy and an enforced or willing faithfulness to the State ideology of socialism. Later, I will review the importance and historical development of lottery as an institution, analysing the implications of the game’s political, economic, historical and ideological implications, not just for housing, but for the State socialist regime as well. Proposing, as Iván Szelényi, the prominent sociologist of the era has theorised, that the mechanisms of the market in state socialism could be understood as attempting to correct and aid the inequalities produced by the administrative redistributions.4 The distribution of houses through the State-owned lottery complicated this understanding with the incorporation of luck, as a disguised and supposed correcting element of market led mechanisms themselves. Whilst both housing and lottery were monopolised by the state, the former was redistributed on a state level utilising the supposed moral and ideological frameworks of equality of state administration, while the latter channelled

Architectural History MA 2019-20


94 a market driven development into the redistributive system through the use of luck as the ultimate allocating mechanism. Taking these assumptions as starting points, Lottery Houses become an active confusion of the power dynamics of the socialist ideology’s urban society. With the displacement of certain people from their ideologically proposed ideal space into houses associated with higher classes and different lifestyles, based on winning the lottery rather than their work, the government disturbed and confused the proposed and idealised structures of society, even if only momentarily and without any significant disruption of the system as a whole. As such, the present dissertation attempts to serve as an introduction and initial reflection on the complex and vastly understudied area of lottery and Lottery Houses in the State socialist period of Hungary, hoping to demonstrate their significance in sociological, historical, political and architectural discourses of the 1950s and 1960s.

1

László Pálffy, ’A számhúzás történetéből’, Élet és Tudomány, 4 no.1, (1991), 804-805.

Pierre Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice, trans. Richard Nice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977), 188. 2

Iván Szelényi, Városi Társadalmi egyenlőtlenségek (Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 1990), 2225. 3

4

Iván Szelényi, Városi Társadalmi egyenlőtlenségek (Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 1990), 30. Lottery houses in Budapest / Anna Alexandra Seress


95

View of the lottery house’s inner court. Author’s own photograph, 2020.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


Dhruv Shah Aka Lodaya

Constructing politicized identities

Unsacred Varansi Kashi:


97 On the 30th of May, 2019, Sri Narendra Modi was sworn in for the second consecutive term as the prime minister of India, reflecting his masspopularity for decisive policies supporting anti-corruption and neoliberalism under the umbrella of ‘vikaas.’1 Feeding this populism, while hiding under these narratives, are the not so hidden neo-nationalist canons which have been mobilized, evidencing right-wing leanings. From the reclamation of Hindu identities through the return to the archaic names from the Mughal renamed cities (Allahabad to Prayaagraj), the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act, to having priests and religious heads of Hinduism in positions of power, the BJP has been strengthening its propaganda around a Hindu Nation state. Modi’s exponential rise to popularity can be accredited to a multi-faceted form of politics, with the activation of place, identity and media at its nexus. In 2014 and 2019, Narendra Modi stood for the Lok Sabha elections from the sacred city of Varanasi, and won both times with a handsome majority. The election of Modi has lent renewed patronage to the sacred Hindu narratives in the context of Varanasi and to the revival of the myth of an uncontaminated culture. Since his arrival, Varanasi has received an infrastructure boost worth over three billion pounds, with the projected intention of transforming the archaic city into a globally accessible Architectural History MA 2019-20


98 and developed ‘smart city.’2 But this development is not a neutral entity, it is drenched in the polarized colours of politics, mobilized for the stabilization of culture, which fixes meanings through the inertia of the invested economic capital. Centering this development, is an emergent sacred project, the Kashi-Corridor Temple precinct complex. This research diverges away from the sacred narratives which have rendered Varanasi as an ahistorical spiritual construct, and delves into the operative realm of embodied identity politics. With the aim of broadening scholarship which frames the intersectionality of political-power, ideological representation and the built environment, this investigation focuses on the politicized appropriation of Kashi by the in-power right-wing government. Through the articulation of this politicization, this dissertation reveals the masked ideological agendas of the bodies in power which simulate an image of Hindutva. Employing the events revolving around the Kashi Vishwanath-corridor Temple precinct complex as the nexus of analysis, this research contextualizes the bodies in power, in activated sacred space. The research unravels the underlying socio-political and economic structures which lay dormant, but feed the projected timeless narratives of Varanasi. Through the lens of the Kashicorridor project, the analysis also sheds light on the re-activation of the hegemonic structures of caste and religion which appendage postdemocratic and post-secularist narratives, subverting the voices of bodies positioned in alterity. With the temple-precinct complex still under construction, this research analyzes the events leading up to its construction, to decolonize Varanasi from its sacred narratives, and transcends it into the realm of the real. The

Unsacred Varansi Kashi / Dhruv Shah Aka Lodaya


99

research is structured to shed light on how events revolving around the Kashi-corridor project are activated as portal objects in larger narratives of politicized representations in place and time. To produce the final image of the jigsaw puzzle, one starts at the edges. In a similar way, the research explores four sections where each section caters to one event each: 1. the selection of the site, 2. the process of land acquisition and demolition, 3. the publication of the design, and 4. the foundation laying ceremony. By deconstructing the iconography and iconopraxis revolving around the Kashi-corridor precinct, the research explores larger existential conditions at global, national, local and bodily scales through the activation of Identity-politics, Body-politics, Theo-politics, and Noopolitics, along with the representation of power through the projected built. The atmosphere in India since the rise of the radical right-wing conservative politics has carved a potent space for the exploration of the intersectionality of place, projection, power and politics. The research localizes various forms of power which are constructed from the ‘contingencies of site and society,’ activated through the multivalent forms of politics, and elucidates the processes revolving around the built environment in the production of place, in an old-new space.3 The seemingly divergent theoretical discourses of these different knowledges, soundly based within their own paradigms, may be useful to a multiplicitous understanding of built form. With democracies all over the world observing a shift towards the ideologies of right-wing populism, the critical examination of social structures as products of power relations between hegemonic and subordinate cultures and its reflections in spatial

Architectural History MA 2019-20


100 constructions, positions the research within the domain of this leitmotiv of contemporary post-colonial political scholarship. This study of the polyvalent forms of power aids in the construction of total assemblages of several processes operating in various registers converging at this very moment in time. The built environment provides physical evidence to how the governmental power is translated into embodied experience, where competing identities assert themselves in the visual order of a global neo-liberal consensus. These image cultures speak to a politics of recognition, exclusion and assertion, in an avowedly plural and religiously inflected post-colonial polity. The semblance of such pluralistic epistemologies and pervasive heterogeneity of power construct a more holistic image of the polarity of these theologically charged architectures. This plurality transgresses intelligible and embodied boundaries of self through mental, symbolic, physical and notional systems of image practices. Inimical to the ideas of nationalism, these forces appendage identitarian ideas of people that are mapped onto territories at various scales. Peeling the layers of religion, caste, place and representation, one can surface the existential hybridity that is masked under the unilateral narratives of the site as Hindu sacrilege which supplements the ideological aspirations of the bodies in power towards the construction of selective identities.

Vikaas: growth. The notion of ‘growth’ is a very contentious in its very grounding in the Indian context. The recurrent use of the term in Modi’s orations is critical in the stabilization of his intentions. 1

Recurrent use of smart city on the billboards within Varanasi position Modi as a harbinger of growth, hiding the politics of difference. 2

Kim Dovey, Becoming Places: Urbanism/Architecture/Identity/Power (London: Routledge, 2009) 11. 3

Unsacred Varansi Kashi / Dhruv Shah Aka Lodaya


101

Painting the town orange. Author’s own drawing, 2020.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


Artangel, the City and site-based art

Paul Steeples

Seizure and An Occupation of Loss:


103

Artangel is a London-based art production organisation, formed in 1985 and led since 1991 by Michael Morris and James Lingwood. The organisation specialises in the delivery of art projects which are not situated in galleries and are often temporary in nature – they first came to prominence with projects such as House by Rachel Whiteread (1993-4) and The Battle of Orgreave by Jeremy Deller (2001). This dissertation focuses on two subsequent projects – Seizure (2008) by Roger Hiorns and An Occupation of Loss (2018) by Taryn Simon. Both were presented in London, although each had a complicating factor which made them interesting subjects for study. In the case of Seizure - which involved flooding a flat in a disused public housing complex in South London with copper sulphate solution and allowing it to crystallise - the work was subsequently relocated to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. An Occupation of Loss - which involved simultaneous performances by professional mourners from all over the world - had previously been presented at the Park Avenue Armory in New York, and the lack of a similar venue in London posed challenges for Artangel’s production expertise. I situated Artangel’s practice within theoretical frameworks for non-gallery art based primarily on the role of the site1, the role of the audience as Architectural History MA 2019-20


104 a participant2 with these two aspects working together3. I then used interviews with key people involved in the projects (the co-directors of Artangel, the artist of Seizure, the Artangel project managers and key staff, an independent commissioner of public art) to trace their development, delivery and influence. These accounts were triangulated with critical reaction to the works, both in academic literature and the media. In both projects, Artangel’s practice served to realise the artists’ aims through their experience in combining an artist’s idea and an appropriate site. Seizure brought together an unearthly crystalline room with a stereotypically run-down urban location in South London to raise questions about how life could be lived in such surroundings. An Occupation of Loss combined a moving performance in an appropriate and striking space with an exposure to the audience of the bureaucratic processes involved in bringing the performers to London. In neither case was the project realised in the way it was originally envisaged – each was reshaped by the requirements of successful and safe delivery and by the characteristics of the site which was ultimately selected. Throughout, there was continuous interchange between the Artangel project team and the artist, with no suggestion either that Artangel mechanically facilitated the artist’s intentions or that the project was taken out of the artist’s hands and realised independently by the production team. Artangel had a high level of control over documentation and strong influence over media coverage. Seizure, in particular, attracted a wide public audience and both critical and academic attention. The impact of An Occupation of Loss was more limited due to its short run

Seizure and An Occupation of Loss / Paul Steeples


105 and the capacity of the venue, but nevertheless the 4,000 tickets sold out quickly and it received considerable press coverage. Although these were seen as successful projects, both raise questions about Artangel’s future practice. First, the relocation of Seizure to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park raises issues concerning Artangel’s practice of developing work which is primarily temporary, preserved through various forms of documentation and lying outside the traditional world of gallery and art market. The way the status of such objects changes through their relocation also has implications for the way in which audiences and critics engage with them – a decontextualized blue room in a rural sculpture park is not the same thing as a blue room in condemned public housing in South London, even if the title remains the same. An Occupation of Loss sold out its limited run very quickly, and this raises a second question, relating to Artangel’s ability to broaden and diversify the audience for the projects it presents. Although the project was international in nature and situated in one of the most cosmopolitan boroughs in London, Marina Doritis from Artangel’s production team conceded that: ‘Because Artangel is nomadic and because we don’t have a site…I think that is to our detriment in terms of really connecting to the local audiences and being able to connect with communities’.4

Architectural History MA 2019-20


106 This problem is compounded by a third issue – Artangel’s opportunistic use of temporary sites in the city, which are often available because of redevelopment and for limited periods. The use to which a site is put is not a politically or socially neutral act. This is particularly the case in a city such as London, where redevelopment is a powerful economic stimulant and its consequences for existing populations highly contested. Artangel doesn’t undertake work which has been directly commissioned by developers, local authorities or central government, but they still find it difficult to avoid being connected with these agendas where projects are sited in places such bodies are transforming. The ways of working which have served Artangel so well in the past – opportunism regarding the site; short runs in temporary locations; flexible and independent finance provided by supporters in return for privileged access – could also be the factors which will prevent them from developing their approach in the future. Continuing to pursue this approach in London, particularly in the period following the COVID-19 pandemic, will be increasingly influenced by wider economic and social developments. This will present challenges for the organisation and will be worthy of continued academic attention.

1

Malcolm Miles, Art, Space and the City: Public Art and Urban Futures (London, 1997). Nick Kaye. Site-Specific Art: Performance, Place and Documentation (London, 2000).

Fiona Wilkie, Mapping the Terrain: A Survey of Site-Specific Performance in Britain (Cambridge, New Theatre Quarterly, Vol.18, No.2). 2

Nicholas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics (Dijon, 2002).

Claire Bishop, Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship (London, 2012). Claire Bishop, Installation Art: A Critical History (London, 2005). 3

Jane Rendell, Art and Architecture: A Place Between (London, 2006).

4

Telephone interview with Marina Doritis, 31/07/2020. Seizure and An Occupation of Loss / Paul Steeples


107

Illustration by Bronte Allan, 2020.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


Comfort in British domestic architecture since 1750

Daniel Stilwell


109

As a word, comfort has been in use in Britain since the 13th century, originating from the medieval French ‘conforter/confort’ – meaning physical or emotional support – or more specifically solace. Comfort’s definitions range from the medicinal, spiritual and nutritional to the physical, material, thermal and most recently again the emotional. This dissertation looks to situate comfort within a history of language that goes back to the mid-18th century with the rise of gothic revivalism in Britain and the idea of ‘gloomth’ (gloom and warmth). From there, ideas developed around notions of health and sunlight during the 19th century in the arts and crafts movement and taken further still in the 20th century through mythologies of cleanliness and hygiene under the gaze of modernism. Tomas Maldonado in The Idea of Comfort (1991) speaks of the continuous rituals of comfort in domestic space that can be seen as the (re)ordering of objects and desires that themselves are codified expressions of the emotional self.1 The obvious question, then, is why had this psychological and physical condition been codified through the term ‘comfort’?

Architectural History MA 2019-20


110 This study of the keyword ‘comfort’ consciously looks to the work of cultural theorist Raymond Williams in Keywords: A vocabulary on culture and society, published in 1976, and of architectural historian Adrian Forty in Words and Buildings: A Vocabulary of Modern Architecture, published in 2004. This dissertation will explore a series of ‘conditions of experience’ or words of ‘otherness’ that are linked through history and language. The first, a key project by Alison and Peter Smithson that showcased modernism’s myth-ridden relationship to ‘cleanliness’ and ‘hygiene’, namely their 1956 ‘House of the Future’. The second being the idea of ‘gloomth’, as depicted in ‘Strawberry Hill’, the gothic revival villa of Horace Walpole. The sensitive control of Strawberry Hill’s interior by Walpole was created with sombre paint and wallpapered walls along with gothic detailing and an abundance of painted and stained glass. The last of these addresses the ideas of ‘sunlight’ and ‘health’ as shown in the Parker and Unwin Partnership’s ‘Northwood’, a large domestic project built in Stoke-on-Trent between 1901-1903. For Barry Parker, sunlight was not a luxury but a necessity. His straightforward use of recesses and for Northwood specifically, the courtyard, flooded the house with fresh air and sunlight. Language is clearly a critical factor in architecture. As Witold Rybczynski remarks in Home: A Short History of an Idea:

Comfort in British domestic architecture since 1750 / Daniel Stilwell


111

‘Words are important. Language is not just a medium, like a water pipe, it is a reflection of how we think. We use words not only to describe objects but also to express ideas, and the introduction of works into the language marks the simultaneous introduction of ideas into the consciousness.’2 This dissertation then, not only looks at the historical and linguistic developments of the keyword ‘comfort’ in relation to domesticity, but also deliberately does so through what we call historical semantics.3 This means simply that we must look at the historical origins and present meanings of words, simultaneously, in order to grasp the entirety of the situation. In terms of domesticity, as the anthropologist Mary Douglas writes in The Idea of Home: A Kind of Space (1991), a dwelling is: ‘Highly efficient for maintaining itself in being, it is easily subverted and survives only so long as it attends to the needs of its members.’4 Ultimately, our homes and the materiality of our domestic culture and tastes have to be seen as being in constant flux. We decorate and (re) decorate for myriad reasons, as Alison J Clarke points out in Home Possessions - through the death of a family member, changes in financial circumstances or the act of moving into or out of a house all equally demand that households ‘invert, reinvent or perpetuate their material worlds’.5 We try to quantify ideas around these domestic acts through personal experiences and by translating our emotions, indicating to others how these feelings relate to broader norms in society and culture,

Architectural History MA 2019-20


112 whereby, to a degree, certain aspirations lead to feeling comfortable. Jane Rendell writes in Doing it, (un)doing it, (over)doing it yourself about the differences and similarities we all face when it comes to our understandings of the home, with ever-changing relationships constantly ordering and (re)ordering it: ‘The imagination creates these fluid relationships, rejecting the constraints imposed by rules of domestic order where ‘everything has its place’. The dividing line between messiness and tidiness is blurred. Inside is outside. The seams are the décor.’6 By highlighting comfort’s historical and linguistic relationship to British domestic architecture, we can, as Forty notes in Words and Buildings, ‘recover the past meanings of words’7: ‘Our problem, then, is to recover the past meanings of words so that we can interpret what those who uttered them intended to say. But this is no simple matter, for the history of language is not one of the straightforward replacement of one meaning by another, like a car manufacturer’s model changes, but rather a process of accumulation as new meanings and inflections are added to existing words without necessarily displacing the old ones.’8 By doing so, we give the meaning of the word(s) and the word(s) themselves a reality.9 Tomas Maldonado and John Cullars, “The Idea of Comfort,” Design Issue, Vol 8. No1 (Autumn 1991): 36. 1

Witold Rybczynski, Home: A Short History of an Idea. (New York: Penguin Books. 1986/1987), 21. 2

3

For a definition of Historical Semantics see Raymond Williams, Keywords: A vocabulary of Comfort in British domestic architecture since 1750 / Daniel Stilwell


113

culture and society. (London: Fontana Press. 1976/1983), 23. 4

Mary Douglas, “The idea of a home: A kind of space,” Social Research 58, no 1. (1991): 307.

Alison J Clarke, “The Aesthetics of Social Aspiration” in Home Possessions; Material Culture Behind Closed Doors, ed.Daniel Miller. (Oxford: Berg, 2001), 26. 5

Jane Rendell, “Doing it, (Un)Doing it, (Over) Doing it Yourself: Rhetorics of Architectural Abuse,” in Occupying Architecture, ed. Jonathan Hill. (London: Routledge,1998), 229-246. 6

Adrian Forty, Words and Buildings: A Vocabulary of Modern Architecture. (London: Thames and Hudson. 2004), 15 7

8

Ibid.

9

Ibid., 13

Photograph of the Internal Courtyard and Interior of Parker and Unwin’s Northwood – with an abundance of wild flowers growing over the window sills. Stoke-on-Trent, 1901-1903. Source: Garden City Collection. Architectural History MA 2019-20


Sadaf Tabatabaei

Gendered narratives of spatial exclusion

Life beyond the wall:


115

It was known as The Ward (Qal’ah) since the impassable tall brick wall was erected and circumscribed the area in 1953, restricting its access. The coarse rusty metal door was only open to men who were seeking illicit pleasure. The Ward, also known as Shahrinaw, was the red-light district of Tehran for over a century.1 The district was officially constructed on the outskirts of Tehran between 1918-1922.2 For more than a century, this wrecked space and its inhabitants were ignored but remained an undividable part of modern Tehran. ‘Smoke, dust, shouting and commotion; A large crowd is watching… Women with bare head and feet running out of burning houses screaming and coughing…as soon as they get out, they find themselves in a circle of angry men hitting them with belts, sticks and brass knuckles. A vigorous man comes forward and cuts a woman’s long hair… [another woman shouts:] How come yesterday’s clients became religious all of a sudden?’3 The 29th of January 1979 was the beginning of the bitter end to Shahrinaw. The revolutionaries were getting ready to receive Ayatollah Khomeini back in Iran after fourteen years of exile. It was never revealed why on that cold day in the middle of winter the revolutionary crowd Architectural History MA 2019-20


116 embarked on a witch-hunt and marched towards the south of Tehran to vent their rage on the walled area of Shahrinaw. The revolution was finally reaching its spring – what better way to celebrate this event than with the ancient tradition of lighting a fire; a fire symbolising purification and promising the end of the darkness. This fire was transformed into a weapon and used to remove the ill-favoured stain from the face of their city. Around midday, a crowd gathered and set Shams brewery on fire. On their way to Shahrinaw, they burned down all the bars, cafes and cabarets. By 5 pm the Shahrinaw was surrounded and soon the angry mob – some might even have been regular visitors to the district – broke the main gate and poured into the neighbourhood.4 The next day, the headline of the Ittilā‘āt newspaper read: ‘The South and the West of Tehran was Burning in Blaze.’ The article reported on violent physical contacts between the revolutionary mob and women of Shahrinaw that resulted in numerous injuries and a few unconfirmed deaths.5 Shahrinaw continued to function on the threshold of legality and uncertainty for a year after the Islamic Revolution. In July 1979, the Central Committee of the Islamic Revolution prosecuted the three main female leaders of the brothels in Shahrinaw.6 The Committee ordered the evacuation of the district and the doors of Shahrinaw closed forever on March 1980.7 The public memory of Shahrinaw faded out after the district was physically erased and its inhabitants dispersed. The physical removal of Shahrinaw created a spatial void in the middle of Tehran for almost two decades. In 1997, Tehran Municipality inaugurated the Rāzī park and cultural complex, built on top of the remnants of Shahrinaw. The complex includes a variety of

Life beyond the wall / Sadaf Tabatabaei


117

public services such as a library, movie theatre, an artificial lake and a mini amusement park. This dissertation started out with finding a series of photos ‘Untitled, the prostitute Series 1975-77’ by Kaveh Golestan at the Tate Britain Prints and Drawing Rooms collection. The photo collection depicts the faces and pure desolation in these women’s eyes in an extremely powerful way. This research reflects on my personal desire to know the past as an architect and a woman; to re-imagine and materialize the space, which was home, prison, hospital, school and workspace of many women for more than a century. The history of Shahrinaw as explained above, beside its iconic restraining wall and iron gate, portrays the neighbourhood as a containing space which materializes power and gender relations as new products of modernity in Iran. Shahrinaw can be considered as a heterotopic space on the edge of Tehran, isolating and alienating its inhabitants.8 To better understand the condition of Shahrinaw and the reasons behind its inception and abrupt end, one must investigate the social, cultural and political circumstances that collectively led to the creation and materialization of this space. This dissertation explores how Shahrinaw was planned, built, controlled and finally demolished within a patriarchal society. It investigates the reasons behind the creation of Shahrinaw, considering discourses on hygiene, cleanliness, venereal diseases and the growing concern with the decline of the Islamic image of Tehran. This research underlines the concept of ‘public woman’ or the ‘woman out of place’ and

Architectural History MA 2019-20


118 explores her relationship with the traditional Islamic city on the verge of modernization.9 The social status of ‘public woman’ within society is directly linked to the novel socio-cultural relations shaped by the process of modernization and transformation of the city. Moreover, this dissertation investigates Shahrinaw as a spatial solution which was materialized to conceal the newly emerged and unwanted conditions of street solicitation and prostitution.

1

Shahrinaw translates to the New City.

2

Jafar Shahri, The Old Tehran (Tehran, Iran: Moeen (in Farsi), 1993).,Vol III, 396-397.

3

Bahram Beyzaei, Facing Mirrors (Tehran, Iran: Pegah (In Farsi), 1983).7.

4

“Ittila’at 15722,” January 30, 1979, 8; “Kayhan 10626,” January 31, 1979, 3.

5

“Ittila’at 15722.”

6

“Kayhan 10755,” July 12, 1979,1.

7

“Javānān-Emrouz 683,” March 1980.

8

Michel Foucault and Jay Miskowiec, “Of Other Spaces,” Diacritics 16, no. 1 (1986), 22–27.

Judith R Walkowitz, City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Late-Victorian London (University of Chicago Press, 2013). 9

Life beyond the wall / Sadaf Tabatabaei


119

Author’s own illustration, 2020.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


heritage architecture of Jaipur

Hybridity and commodification in

Creation of the Indian India:

Sneha Tiwari


121

Modernity is a process of ‘continual constitution and reconstitution of a multiplicity of cultural programs’.1 Modernity, therefore, doesn’t have a defined linear path but instead follows a cyclic process of defining and redefining the modern.2 The temporal journey of the often transgeographically ‘modern’ forms an integral part of the process, and its arrival more often than not marks the epoch of a new cycle. These cycles occur simultaneously, each at their own pace generating a complex mechanism of cultural, ideological, political, social and architectural, transformation and modernity. The process of definition and redefinition more often than not results in shifting architectural identities, oscillating between novel, foreign, traditional, and exotic. On one hand, modernity has been expressed through the generation of new architectural styles, such as Art Deco in Mumbai, India; and on the other hand, we have seen appropriation of older architectural sites and objects, such as the Rambagh Palace, Jaipur, India. This appropriation of architectural and cultural heritage has led to a process of packaging and filtering to create a final product in alignment with the redefined ideologies of social and political modernity. Generic ideas of Indian-ness become parameters for the retrofitting of modernity within these objects, further deciding what gets highlighted and what gets hidden. The generation of antagonistic identities of modern and traditional and the subsequent placement of Architectural History MA 2019-20


122 heritage buildings in the later have led to a temporal disconnection between these buildings and societal modernity. As a result, these buildings remain frozen in time, generating a theatrical fantasy to allow their consumption. One such example would be the creation of heritage tourism, by repurposing palaces and forts, as hotels and buildings of hospitality. These structures are often appropriated and juxtaposed with social and cultural modernities while continuing to be frames of culture and history. Spaces transform from the public to private, open to defined, owned to shared. Through the process of imaginability and global outreach marketing, these often become platforms for the global portrayal of an Indian-India and its history.3 The ontological connection of these structures with hospitality continues while the nature of this relationship has transformed. The appropriation of these buildings has led to the dispersion of heritage as a commodity from the experience and lifestyle of the elite to a product for consumption by everyone. Hence the architectural object has become a site of conflict and balance between modernity and heritage, consumption and conservation, production, and privatisation. The process of modernity has been slow and transformative beginning from the Rajput princes and their hospitality to the British and Europeans to the now heritage tourism industry in India.4 The transformation of cities has led to an ontological disconnection of these experiences of heritage from the context itself rendering the architectural object as a means of economic and often racial disconnection creating museums of orchestrated cultural histories.

Creation of the Indian India / Sneha Tiwari


123

Jaipur in Rajasthan, India, has found itself at the heart of the heritage tourism industry – the city alone is home to 8 hotels registered with the Heritage Hotels Association of India. This hybridity can be associated with the framework offered by the British during colonial rule as well as the rulers of the state itself. Since the Princes of Jaipur were under an indirect rule of the British Empire the influence the empire had was diluted and highly controlled by the rulers. This political situation also led to the identification of the Rajputana as the ‘other’ to colonial India. Making the Rajput princes a representation of the Indian culture and Rajasthan an easily accessible home for the same. Jaipur became one of the first presidencies to have two development authorities namely the Imarat led by the Indian court architect and the public works department led by Sir Swinton Jacobs. With the fall of the monarchy and the shift from a feudal system to a democratic one, the palaces became hard to maintain with deteriorating wealth.5 With a long history of hospitality, these palaces were transformed into hotels. By 2006, Rajasthan alone had 16 heritage hotels, which included some of the older converted palaces and forts and the newly built imitative ones. Societal modernity crept into these frozen heritage hotels and various steps were taken to maintain an authentic image while providing modern amenities which generated contrasts. With Jaipur as the site of study, the essay consists of two parts. The first focuses on the ideological journey of these architectural objects and the transformative impacts of the shifting societal and political frameworks which have led to the eventual commodification of these structures. The generation of an hybridity in various forms and scales, importantly, between the processes of commodification and the subsequent selforientalisation become the pillars of the analysis.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


124 The second part of the essay focuses on the reflection of this journey today and its impact on the building as a means of historical discourse. The theatrical creation of heritage and culture within these buildings in the current times becomes the key point of analysis. This dissertation aims to understand the impacts of modernity on buildings that are regarded as heritage structures and their evolution through modernisation. Through the production of a past as a fantasy existing in the present, these buildings are often imitative of the past in not just their physicality but also programmatically. By examining the appropriation and commodification of cultural heritage within these structures, this dissertation aims to question whether we are compromising on the diversity of our national cultural and natural heritage to present a unified product for sale to the global world.

Eisenstadt, and Eisenstadt, S. N. in Multiple Modernities, ed. by Shmuel N. Eisenstadt, (New Brunswick, N.J ; 1 London: Transaction Publishers, 2002.) 1

2

Ibid.

Carol Appadurai, Breckenridge, Consuming Modernity : Public Culture in a South Asian World, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995) 3

4

Ibid.

Vikramaditya Prakash, ‘Between Objectivity and Illusion: Architectural Photography in the Colonial Frame’, Journal for Architectural Education, Vol.55. No.1, (Abingdon-on-Thames: Taylor & Francis Ltd., 2013) 5

Creation of the Indian India / Sneha Tiwari


125

Illustration by Dhruv Shah Aka Lodaya, 2020.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


An investigation of a new building

The digital pavilion:

Emily Trummer


127

The digital pavilion is a tool for contemporary architectural design that explores the digital domain and its relationship to the architectural product. Analogue as well as discrete fabrication techniques and the idea of automated design and construction processes are directly linked to the building type of the digital pavilion. However, on closer inspection, all of the design strategies of the digital pavilion described in my dissertation reveal that the approach to digitalization is still very much dependent on manual work, which, in many respects, determines contemporary attitudes towards technology. Since the beginning of the modern age, the pavilion has dealt intensively with labour and the tools available to humans in making resources as processable as possible. The digital pavilion represents a primary idea, a first method, or even a universal concept of an architectural product. Through developments over the last two centuries, industrialization has had a strong impact on the concept of industrial pavilions and furthermore, through digitalization, new possibilities have come to dominate the architectural discourse. The digital pavilion as a building type therefore represents a significant contribution to the definition of the digital in architecture. In order to explore how contemporary challenges are addressed in my dissertation five digital design strategies are described followed by a closer

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128 description of a digital pavilion concerned with the strategy of analogue assembly. The digital pavilion will be used as a platform to showcase novel methods in architectural discourse and thus point out the sophisticated automation processes of our production industry. A product-by-making for sale, so to speak, in a still highly experimental field of an evolving industry in which human craftsmanship seems to take second place. If you take a closer look at the processes involved, you will notice that human craftsmanship is a central figure in the creation process of the digital pavilion and is therefore closely and constantly related to automation. Design strategies of the digital pavilion examine how industry, materials and the builders’ and architects’ roles are approached. This results in new perspectives regarding the role of the builder. In his project ‘Augmented Bricklaying’ Gramazio Kohler for example creates a controlled bricklayer who follows the instructions and calculations of the machine, thus functioning as an apparatus of his own human body.1 The robot acts as instructor and the human as executer. This contrasts with Achim Menges’ projects of robotic fabrication at the University of Stuttgart, where the industrial robot is taught to react in unpredictable circumstances and to act adaptively. Adaptive processes are taken one step further using materials that cannot be predicted mathematically. Jenny Sabin demonstrates this in her pavilions, where forces of different nature collide, using materials such as adaptive fabric structures. Here the interaction between materials, the structure and the human touch remain part of the construction through to the end of the process. This is addressed quite differently by Kengo Kuma, who prescribes each of the particlized

The digital pavilion / Emily Trummer


129 building elements fabricated by local artisans.2 He manages to apply his method to larger building scales, that go beyond the scale of the digital pavilion and further applies these techniques and methods to bridges, museums and residential buildings. Different from the design strategy of manual discrete assembly, the digital discrete does not attempt to employ manual skills, but rather hopes for complete integration into the industrial landscape and the establishment of a truly digital process in architecture. Here, a vision for digital processes is presented, that proposes an improved adaptation to larger building projects, even if, in the case of the digital discrete, this has not yet been achieved. Therefore, the digital pavilion is seen as a platform that offers the right scale for both man and machine, creating a seamless collaborative workflow by experimenting with novel design strategies. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that the goal is to achieve a completely automated process in which the designer takes on a differentiated role, perhaps as a kind of supervisor. Another equally daring comparative term could be used to describe the architect: ‘primus inter pares’ – as ‘the first among equals’ – i.e. in terms of their position, the designers are equal to the others, their achievements are not of higher or lower significance or effectiveness – their ‘special position (function)’ in this comparison is a ‘representative’ position, i.e. a typical characteristic and/or representative position (to the outside world), sometimes being the person who makes the final decision. This allows greater freedom to explore the boundaries between industrial products and architectural design, creating a design product by planning the digital pavilion (that tries to represent both the physical and psychosocial components of specific architectural issues of our time). Thus, the digital pavilion shows

Architectural History MA 2019-20


130 how technological and human-based creations correlate with each other, while at the same time exploring their limitations – an attempt to create an interdisciplinary as well as a universal mode of product-finding. With that in mind, the digital pavilion is still a test-product, an experimental platform, on which digital and analogue processes interact to find a solution for a future-oriented architecture.

The Programmed Wall, ETH Zurich, 2006, Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich, 2006, https://gramaziokohler.arch.ethz.ch/web/e/lehre/81.html. 1

2

Kengo Kuma, Relativity of Materials, The Japan Architect 38 (Summer 2000), 86. The digital pavilion / Emily Trummer


131

Illustration by Dhruv Shah Aka Lodaya, 2020.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


London

Beatriz Van Houtte Alonso

Early 20th century lodging- and boarding-houses in

‘A room and a bit, or a bit of a room’:


133 In March 1900 the magazine Nineteenth Century published the results of a survey among working women living in London. The report, titled Women Workers: How they live, how they wish to live, included tables collecting the data of around 600 participants and cites extracts from their answers. The survey investigated current living conditions of the interviewees, as well as how they wished them to be – all of it framed by the lively voice of author Emily Hobhouse. The third table showed ‘the percentage of rent on income.’ Hobhouse summed up the findings as follows: ‘In fact, women are paying between the fourth and fifth part of their slender means for a room and a bit, or a bit of a room. Neither is very satisfactory.’1 Hobhouse’s ‘room and a bit, or bit of a room’ refers to types of 19th and 20th century urban rented accommodation for single working adults, which come with a confusing array of names and architectural forms. There were common lodging-houses (which provided cheap beds for the working class), lodgings, boarding-houses (where the ‘board’ or table was shared with the landlady or landlord), bedsits (rooms combining bedand sitting-room) or studios, flats and finally purpose-built hostels and

Architectural History MA 2019-20


134 hotels. In terms of generally restrictive and expensive boarding-houses Hobhouse’s conclusion is clear: ‘the community, in the sense of the boarding-house, can be set on one side. Only one voice speaks for it; it is practically a dead issue.’2 In 2016, the Brussels-based architecture office DOGMA published a design proposal titled Like a rolling stone: revisiting the architecture of the boarding house. The idea behind DOGMA’s scheme is to provide accommodation for the single young worker in ‘an act, perhaps, of realism, against the ideology of the domestic which our generation neither can afford, nor desires.’3 Their work around boarding-houses fits within a broader Anglo-European interest in forms of collective living today. This renewed attention can be understood as a reaction to both urban housing crises and the social and ecological burdens of suburban sprawl in the West. As DOGMA points out, the prevalent single-family typology fails to satisfy the needs of population groups such as the elderly and the single, and arguably contemporary two-income families. The current way of inhabiting the sprawled built environment, from Belgium to North America, has been related to the isolation of households, air pollution, loss of biodiversity and low ground water levels. Clearly, there is a discrepancy between Hobhouse’s and DOGMA’s respective burial and resurrection of the boarding-house. Unlike a contemporary architect’s point of view, the 19th and 20th century practice of taking in lodgers or boarders came out of a socio-economic need, both of the landlady and boarders, rather than from an affirmative concept of

'A room and a bit, or a bit of a room' / Beatriz Van Houtte Alonso


135 ‘living together’. Both parties, as well as wider society, tended to consider these living arrangements as necessary evils. By taking in lodgers a landlady could supplement the household budget, while accommodating single urban workers, widows and widowers, students, divorcées. The gap between the common experience and visionary projection of boarding- and lodging-houses is not new. Already in the early 20th century their conceptualization was paradoxical: they were simultaneously considered as the symptom of a housing crisis by society at large, and as its modern remedy by a small architectural avant-garde. According to the historian Paul Groth ‘old-fashioned boardinghouses’ were the precedents of residential hotels and serviced apartments – as imagined by 19th century feminist and former boarding-house keeper Charlotte Perkins Gilman among others. These typologies would in turn inspire modernist architects such as Walter Gropius.4 Today, the boarding-house leads of sort of historiographical double life. A passage from the recent publication A History of Collective Living (2019) exemplifies this. The authors discuss how the term boarding house was ‘suggestive of the modern and progressive lifestyles of the inter-war period,’ while adding the following footnote: ‘Originally, however, boarding house was used for the pensions of large American cities, run by single or widowed women to earn a living.’5 Instead of considering these multiple perspectives as simply regressive versus progressive conceptions of domesticity, I would argue they point to the essential ambivalence of boarding- and lodging-houses as domestic

Architectural History MA 2019-20


136 ideals. Today this ambivalence is easy to grasp. There are many parallels between early 20th century London and current urban housing crises: shortage and speculation resulting in poor conditions and high rents. To many the minimum dwelling represents the only economically viable solution. As DOGMA well realise, their proposal comes dangerously close to the way housing companies today are re-branding overpriced rooms as desirable.6 A female respondent to Hobhouse’s survey made a comment that could just as easily be made today: ‘The supply of ladies’ flats not being equal to the demand, companies ask their own price and insist on all rules they wish for.’7 Like DOGMA however, Hobhouse firmly believed in the need for and the potential of an adapted form of the accommodation she herself was criticising. Hobhouse’s vision of a ‘co-operative’ and ‘elastic’ form of living, with ‘varying sets of rooms and a sliding scale of prices’ aligns with the conclusions of historian Paul Groth and economist Kathleen Scanlon today: management is the key to the emancipatory potential of these forms of shared housing. In other words, not the sharing itself, but the way it is shared.8

Emily Hobhouse, “Women Workers: How they live, How they wish to live,” Nineteenth century: a monthly review, 47 (Mar 1900), British Periodicals: 474. 1

2

Hobhouse, “Women Workers,” 475-476.

Jack Self and Emma Caps. Like a Rolling Stone: Revisiting the Architecture of the Boarding House (Milano: Black square, 2016), 4. 3

Paul Groth, Living Downtown: The History of Residential Hotels in the United States (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1994), 80, 92. 4

5

Eberle, Hugentobler and Schmid, A History of Collective Living, 57.

See Ella Harris’ blog “Crisis Cultures. Exploring Rebrandings of Urban Precarity.” https:// www.crisiscultures.co.uk 6

'A room and a bit, or a bit of a room' / Beatriz Van Houtte Alonso


137

7

Hobhouse, “Women Workers,” 477.

Ibid, 481. Eberle, Hugentobler and Schmid. A History of Collective Living, 34-40. Groth, Living Downtown, 169. 8

Illustration by Bronte Allan, 2020.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


practices of Queen Square 1786-1900

Honor Vincent

A history of nature as an actant in the health-related

The wild in the hospital:


139 Dayes’ watercolour is stored within the Paul Mellon Collection in the Yale Center for British Art and accessible by request in the study room. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic from which I write in the summer of 2020, the collection is impossible to visit. I access the painting through an online interface. The conditions of the current pandemic and of this summer’s various shades of lockdown have shaped how I engage with the digital beyond recognition. Over the past few months I have experienced everything here. Individual museums, galleries and archives collapse into my thirteen-inch display, appearing, stretching and dissolving at my will within moments. In a way these changes to my research practice constitute a taming: the movements of my eye flatten, the periphery is dulled, my embodied experience of my surroundings is not activated. However at the same time there is something about this way of engaging that excites me: it draws my attention to the necessary activation of the imagination, of memory, of what is not physically there. The interface has a reframe and zoom feature. I pull the painting close and move slowly around its surface, assembling my impressions. Navigating in this way creates smaller images, cutting through and revealing Dayes’ manipulations of the scene. The foreground is sharp, but the ground of the farthest end smudges as I pinch it larger on my screen. Dayes’ brush Architectural History MA 2019-20


140 strokes become more prominent, his outlines looser, figures blur into impression, trees fade into bluish landscape. The progression into this smeared blue is carried out in stages. It begins with the watery lawn at the far end of the square. I pace its left hand railing with my eye, which has concertinaed with Dayes’ fierce perspective. With every movement of my eye the lampposts that rise up from the railing grow fainter. The final lamppost can’t be distinguished from the hill behind, the pale ground somehow metamorphosing into the blue pool of a watercolour hill. Beside it, the manicured lawn too has progressed into something less formal, a cluster of pale trees. As I pull in closer, the dappled paint slips into the haze of speckled hills in the distance. Thoreau writes that ‘[e]very tree sends its fibers forth in search of the Wild’, and so it feels in this far end of Dayes’ painting.1 I feel magnetised to this far landscape, and it is as if the paint has arranged itself towards its force. I zoom myself back out. Again, my eye is drawn to this hazy scene at the far end of the square. Indeed it is towards this view that Dayes’ strictly perspectival architectural border directs my eye. It is also for this view that his image has propagated, evidencing over and over the ‘beautiful prospect’ of the ‘unobstructed view’ of square’s open north.2 That infamous view, the ‘delightful [pr]ospect of Hamstead & Hygate’,3 ‘the hills, ever verdant and smiling, of Hampstead and Highgate’,4 ‘the hills of Hampstead and Highgate’,5 proliferated in contemporary descriptions of the square into a sing-song catchphrase of ‘Hampstead and Highgate’. There is a sense of elusiveness: there is an implication of an intrinsic value to this landscape, yet it is never precisely explained. As Jane Bennett writes, the wild, the vibrancy of matter, ‘though real and powerful, is intrinsically resistant to representation.’6

The wild in the hospital / Honor Vincent


141

It is clear however that the vibrant chime of that ‘Hampstead and Highgate’ was understood to be therapeutic to the square. Simon Shorvon and Alastair Compston write that the eighteenth-century square developed a ‘reputation for promoting good health’. For Shovon and Compston, this was due to an ‘uninterrupted draught of the north wind across what was then open countryside up to the rising land of the hamlets of Hampstead and Highgate.’7 Certainly there is a sense of airiness in the pale washes of Dayes’ watercolour. Despite the sharpness of the outlined figures in the foreground, the imprecise wild of the background landscape spills over the scene. ‘Not yet subdued to man, its presence refreshes him.’8 The atmosphere of that prospect rises out in a pale mist that envelops the square, blue-white sideways strokes drawing this open countryside air from the hills to the square. Painted in 1786, this blue-white wind has a very particular hue. The eighteenth and nineteenth century veneration for the therapeutic power of countryside wind is felt within the context of miasma. In miasma theory, bad air was seen as the root of disease, and therefore ventilation and the dispelling of that noxious air was paramount. In practice, this meant that open and hilly landscapes were seen to have health sustaining properties. As Linda Nash has suggested, miasma, for all its misapprehensions, tied health to its environmental factors. Its veneration of fresh air has found new resonance within the context of coronavirus. According to Nash, the germ theory that superseded miasma obscured this notion of an environmental health because it ‘insisted that disease-causing pathogens were situated in human bodies, not environments… exonerating the landscape from any independent role in disease.’9

Architectural History MA 2019-20


142 Henry David Thoreau, ‘Walking’, The Atlantic, 9:56 (1862) <https://www.theatlantic.com/ magazine/archive/1862/06/walking/304674/> [accessed 06 August 2020]. 1

Fanny Burney, Memoirs of Doctor Burney: Arranged from His Own Manuscripts, from Family Papers, and from Personal Recollections by His Daughter, Madame D’Arblay, vol. 3 (London: Edward Moxon, 1832), 290. 2

Frances Burney, “Journal Entry 1770 Nov 16,” in The Early Journals and Letters of Fanny Burney, ed. Lars E. Troide, vol. 1, 141. 3

4

Burney, Memoirs of Doctor Burney, 290.

John Noorthouck, ‘The out-parishes of Westminster’, in A New History of London Including Westminster and Southwark (London: R Baldwin, 1773), pp. 739-747 <http://www.britishhistory.ac.uk/no-series/new-history-london/pp739-747> [accessed 14 July 2020]. 5

Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: a political ecology of things (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010), xvi. 6

Simon Shorvon and Alistair Compston, Queen Square: A History of the National Hospital and its Institute of Neurology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), 52. 7

8

Thoreau, ‘Walking’.

Linda Lorraine Nash, Inescapable Ecologies: A History of Environment, Disease, and Knowledge (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006), 6. 9

The wild in the hospital / Honor Vincent


143 Edward Dayes’ ‘Queen Square, London’, appearing, stretching and dissolving on my 13-inch display in a darkened room. Author’s own photograph, 2020.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


A utopia between the East and the West

Auroville:

Falak Vora


145

‘Utopian town in India, built on a dream,’ read a headline in the New York Times in the 1970s, spreading the word about Auroville, a settlement in southeast India in Tamil Nadu.1 Auroville was founded as a utopian experiment in 1965 by Mirra Alfassa to further the religious and social principles of Sri Aurobindo, the settlement’s social motto is ‘to be the cradle of a better humanity, united by a common effort towards perfection.’2 An air of internationalism pervaded the already previously colonised territory of Pondicherry - with its history painted by past domination from both the British and the French - when people from 124 nations gathered to inaugurate the town. The new utopia was thus an amalgamation of influences from around the world, both past and the then-present through to today. Early utopianism, originating predominantly from British and French threads - helped create a fictional notion of the ‘ideal’ East, seen as a spiritual and mystical land. By the 1960s, this Eastern identity was attracting a lot of dissatisfied Westerners, who brought over their lifestyle experiences and cultural values. The establishment of Auroville in 1968 was one such endeavour, a pluralistic attempt to bring together these Architectural History MA 2019-20


146 two parts of the globe, the ‘East’ and the ‘West’, establishing a new world through collective living. Auroville, in its essence, acted as a bridge linking the West to the East, where attempts were made to bridge spirituality from the latter with science from the former. The Charter of Auroville declares that: ‘Auroville belongs to nobody in particular. Auroville belongs to Humanity as a whole’3. This illustrates how Auroville is a result of multi-fold influences from the East and the West, of global encounters that have all flowed into this local place. Such encounters have also left a lasting imprint upon the settlement’s built environment and architectural imagery. Sites of utopia happen to be a critique of the social practices in the society. Yet, Louis Marin states that the utopian discourse itself hides the critical truth of the ideology it represents.4 He further emphasises the irrelevance of a comparison between the imaginary and realistic constructs of the social and political programs. Instead, they are embedded into the structures of its modes of representations, which need not be harmonious and resolved but rather driven with contradictions in tension yet at play. This dissertation further attempts to establish relationships between India and the West in regard to the architectural symbolism of Auroville, through an examination of two of its architectural icons – the Matrimandir and the Visitors’ Centre. While the former is a temple that is called the ‘Soul of Auroville’, the latter is a functional representation of Auroville’s ideologies

Auroville / Falak Vora


147 and practices. Both are representations of utopian settlement’s ideologies and practices. Tracing the architectural vocabulary and narrative of both buildings to study the tension between the ‘spectacular’ Matrimandir and the ‘mundane’ Visitors’ centre opens up how their architecture is differently visualized, created, and built. Through each of these structures’ roles within Auroville’s utopian vision, the ideological disputes of their makers are apparent – whether in regard to the agency, finance, labour or influences. The built environment thus acts as a visual reference to Auroville’s hybrid yet combined idealized vision. These architectural symbols and technological innovations have become the settlement’s representational identity today, thereby masking the notion of utopia that was initially envisioned. However, the depictions created by Auroville’s iconic architecture, as visual utopic symbols, could be best read as a collage of contradictions. These contradictory characteristics ‘neutralize’ Auroville’s utopia, where they play against one another and this is how, according to Louis Marin’s theory of neutralisation5, allow fundamental contradictions to operate in tension against each other. Yet in Auroville, architecture does not and cannot exist in isolation. Its built environment is a result of social and political influences that act as a catalyst, in turn leading to the formation of more complex social and political formations and power relations at local, national and global scales.6 In other words, architecture results in the production of social architectures. Thus, this dissertation further explores the impact of Matrimandir and the Visitors’ Centre in the ontological formation of

Architectural History MA 2019-20


148 Auroville in relation to the neighbouring villages, of wider India and the world. Looking at the social hierarchy of power, the authoritarian position of the founders, and tension between what is preached and what is practiced in Auroville as well as the division of labour are some of the ontological issues that are examined. The issues of politics and monetary dependency of the government as well as international organisations, on both national and global scales, the social relations with the neighbouring villages for labour and employment are all critically studied in relation to Auroville’s charter. Through studying influencing agents, architectural symbolism and the consequent ontological practices, this dissertation, with Louis Marin’s theory of contradiction and neutralisation in utopia as a starting point, aims to locate Auroville’s ‘utopian’ intentions as an Eastern/Western dialectic, and as a part of its reflective social practices. Paradoxically, the argument here is that the individualistic and dialectic translations of the founding ideologies in its built form and social environment are bringing Auroville closer to a ‘normal’ existence in Indian society and further away from the envisioned utopia that was initially intended. Kasturi Rangan, Utopian Town in India Built on a Dream. New York Times, October 16, 1971, 8. 1

Information on Auroville, 1966–74, Note of Information, 1969, Auroville Archives, Auroville, India. 2

Auroville, “The Auroville Charter: a new vision of power and promise for people choosing another way of life.” https://www.auroville.org/contents/1 (retrieved October 17, 2020). 3

Louis Marin, Utopics : The Semiological Play of Textual Spaces / Louis Marin ; Translated by Robert A. Vollrath., Contemporary Studies in Philosophy and the Human Sciences (New York: Humanity Books, 1990). 4

Eugene D Hill, The Place of the Future: Louis Marin and His Utopiques, Science-Fiction Studies vol.9, no. 2 (1982), 167. 5

6

Kim Dovey, Framing Places: Mediating Power in Built Form, (London: Routledge, 1999). Auroville / Falak Vora


149

Matrimandir: The ‘soul’ and the architectural icon of Auroville. Photograph by Dharmik Thakkar, 2018.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


Josephine Waugh

Between the architectural subject and the digital subject

An ontology of the everyday under lockdown:


151

This dissertation looks at the spatial and psychosocial consequences of lockdown during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. I approach lockdown as both a spatial and psychosocial phenomena, examining the ways in which individuals have replicated routine and ritualistic practices of everyday life within the home. My research critically examines how lockdown has impacted our use of digital communication technologies, particularly the ways in which we have replicated our routine spatial and social practices on the screen. Building upon critical studies of the everyday and urban ritual, I argue that our virtual environment has become an extension of our lived space. I engage ideas of phenomenology and existentialism to produce an ontology of the everyday between the virtual and the physical self. Oral histories, in the form of interviews with members of the 2019-2020 MA Architectural History cohort at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, and personal autoethnography, provides the qualitative data of this critical study. This dissertation is divided into four chapters; the first chapter introduces my research methodology and narrative style, making the case for personal memoir and autoethnography as both a process and product of historical investigation. I propose a new historiography of experience and time based on qualitative oral research. This takes a Architectural History MA 2019-20


152 deconstructive approach towards traditional historiography, challenging the material conditions and subject positions that underline intellectual production, and reevaluating what constitutes both material and immaterial ‘evidence’. The autoethnographic narrative - a process and product borrowed from the social sciences - helps to identify the site of study, i.e. the participants’ home, which is theoretically consistent but physically distinct. Furthermore, this chapter establishes the academic and theoretical contexts of this research methodology. Referring to the literature of academics such as Ann Cvetkovich, specifically her definition of memoir as the place ‘where feeling and lived experience collide with academic training and critique’, this methodology accommodates the uncertainty of social and individual behaviours, relationships and actions.1 Consequently, the ideas, emotions and opinions discussed in my interviews determine the theoretical framework of the paper; the following chapters situate these narratives within their academic and critical contexts. The second chapter defines Covid-19 as an architectural and spatial event, looking specifically at the relationship between the individual and the lived space, making the case for daily routine as a spatiotemporal anchor. Looking closely at the effects of Covid-19 isolation policies on individuals’ relationship to and experience of their home when confined within it, this chapter calls upon the Lefebvrian notion of the ‘sacred everyday’ and the signification of ritualistic behaviours.2 I consider ritual as a kinetic process that mediates how individuals conceive of and relate to their immediate surroundings, specifically the home. This chapter also considers the affects of digital dependency on spatial configurations. Participants recount constructing make-shift desks and reconfiguring

An ontology of the everyday under lockdown / Josephine Waugh


153

rooms to centre their screen, rearranging the layout of the home in accordance with wifi signal. Participants emphasise the importance of ritual and physical routine when daily activity is centred around the screen, to compensate for the absence of temporal queues within cyberspace. The third chapter considers Covid-19 as a catalyst for an increased dependancy on digital modes of communication, exploring and critiquing the idea that virtual space can be inhabited, towards an application of critical theories of spatial phenomenology to the virtual, i.e. cyberspace. I will consider in depth how participants have constructed distinct digital spaces for different activities, such as different logins and internet browsers, even separate screens, in an attempt to compartmentalise different virtual responsibilities and obligations. What could be considered a ritualistic separation of home and work space is replicated digitally, different platforms are designated as spaces of social or professional interaction. Furthermore, I look at geographer David Harvey’s concept of time–space compression, and the impact of digital technologies on spatiotemporal ontologies and social connections, considering the influence of Walter Benjamin and his theory of ‘expanding space’ through mechanical reproduction.3 The final chapter considers how digital identities are formed and operate within cyberspace. Notions of identity, ritual, the everyday and digital subjectification are considered within a theoretical and academic framework, towards the production of an ontology of the everyday under lockdown, at the brink of the post-human epoch. Here I look at how digital space is produced by user experience, critically examining

Architectural History MA 2019-20


154 the concept of agency within cyberspace. I engage with theories from the social sciences, specifically the Thomas Theorem, which argues for the objective consequences of individual subjectivity. Examining how communities form on digital platforms, I call on Sherry Turkle’s definition of technology as ‘the architect of our intimacies’ to explore in depth how social ties and practices are replicated digitally. I consider feelings of subjectification and abjection within a digital performativity; the term abjection here relates to the alienation ensured by digital subjectification, considering how the relationship between the (subjective) I and the (objective) self is complicated within cyberspace. I also examine the concept of the data double, applying a Lefebvrian and Marxist critique to what Shoshana Zuboff calls ‘surveillance capitalism’.4 In this final chapter I demonstrate how the psychosocial alienation perpetuated by digital software contradicts the notion of the virtual as a democratic platform of resistance. This dissertation aims to contribute to the critical and academic study of how individual and collective ritualistic and routine behaviours are appropriated and adapted within virtual space. Furthermore, I engage philosophies of architectural phenomenology and existentialism, with Lefebvrian ideas of the city and of ritual, towards an understanding of virtual space as an extension of our physical, lived space. Ann Cvetkovich, Depression: A Public Feeling (Durham, NC; London: Duke University Press, 2012), 80. 1

Henri Lefebvre and Christine Levich, ‘The Everyday and Everydayness’, Yale French Studies Vol. 73 (1987), 9. 2

Walter Benjamin, ‘The work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’, Selected Writings. Vol. 3, 1935-1938. (ed.) Michael William Jennings and Howard Eiland, (Cambridge: Mass., London: Belknap, 2006), 117. 3

Shoshana Zuboff, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism the Fight for the Future at the New Frontier of Power, (London Profile Books, 2019), 225. 4

An ontology of the everyday under lockdown / Josephine Waugh


155

My desk, my bed. Author’s own photograph, 2020.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


Yuan Xue

Two Wuhan hospitals built in the COVID-19 pandemic

‘Borderspace’, interdependency and vulnerability:


157

Lunar New Year is the grandest festival in China with exuberant celebrations across the whole country. However, during the Chinese New Year of 2020, China was seriously stricken by the COVID-19 pandemic. The megacity Wuhan, where COVID-19 first emerged, introduced a lockdown from the 23rd of January of the same year.1 To alleviate the shortage of hospital beds, existing structures were converted to sixteen field hospitals to treat patients with mild symptoms. More importantly, two hospitals were built in the suburban area of Wuhan to treat critically ill patients. The first one, Huoshenshan Hospital was built in just ten days and was put into service on the 2nd of February. The other, Leishenshan Hospital was open on the 6th of February to receive patients after twelve days of construction. Both the two hospitals were closed in mid-April but they are yet to be demolished. The two Wuhan hospitals attracted both domestic and international interest and significantly contributed to containing the coronavirus. However, information about their construction and use is still being published, and in China this is limited by the language. Most primary sources of the hospitals can only be found on Chinese websites and social media applications, and English sources are insufficient. Consequently, this dissertation aims to examine primary Chinese sources in order to Architectural History MA 2019-20


158 show the short history of the hospitals and it draws from two key elements, air and space, based on the architectural and medical requirements for containing the virus. According to World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 is mainly transmitted between people via droplets and contact routes, and some microbes within droplet nuclei can remain in the air and cause airborne transmission.2 As a result, many countries announced the implementation of social distancing, and in medical facilities the arrangement of space and air flow became essential. This dissertation first considers the scientific and spatial rationale behind the hospitals’ design: how the space and air were organized architecturally and how medical treatment was carried out with the two elements. Second, I bring to light the issue of vulnerability which was found during my investigation of online media, including social media posts, Weibo feeds, personal videos and documentaries.3 Audio-visual media has played an important role in updating the situation of the ongoing pandemic especially when many cities were in lockdown and people were self-isolated. In addition, this dissertation mainly relies on online media due to the difficulty of site visits. Nevertheless, huge gaps in the personnel’s working and living conditions were sometimes found between official news reports and personal dissemination: for example, content which is intended as political propaganda may ignore what was really happening to individuals and how the hospital functioned. Threads of exploitation of workers can be found in some videos, and it is widely circulated that medical professionals were working under immense pressure and construction workers worked overtime without being paid on time. Not only patients were experiencing vulnerability, but other professionals also needed to be safeguarded.

'Borderspace', interdependency and vulnerability / Yuan Xue


159

Following the main concerns above, this dissertation is guided by two research questions. First, what are the relations between virus, air and space in terms of both the corporeal and architectural spheres? Second, how to define the new vulnerability of personnel on-site in that viral space? By answering these questions, I construct an architectural history involving architecture, nature and humans during this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. My theoretical support consists of three texts: Katie Lloyd Thomas’s chapter ‘Between the womb and the world: Building matrixial relations in the NICU’ (2013)4, Judith Butler’s chapter ‘Rethinking Vulnerability and Resistance’ (2016)5 and her journal article, ‘Precarious Life, Vulnerability and Ethics of Cohabitation’ (2012)6. In my first chapter, I focus on the architectural design of Huoshenshan Hospital and explain how space was organized and how air was controlled to treat patients and to avoid spread of the virus. The notion of ‘borderspace’ from Bracha Ettinger, used by Lloyd Thomas to describe the prenatal relationship in the NICU, is applied to a larger architectural scale in order to explain the rationale of separation and intervention at the same time. In the second chapter, I explore how the virus and air affected medical treatment and the relations between different actors and medical support. Butler’s term ‘infrastructure’ helps to lay the foundation of relationality. Her notion of ‘boundaries’ and Simondon’s terms, ‘process’ and ‘system’ (from Lloyd Thomas’s text) are also applied to analyze the complicated relations between patients, medical professionals and medical infrastructure. The last chapter covers the issue of vulnerability and ethics of responsibility during the construction and service stages. In order to reveal the gap between official dissemination and personal experience, a comparison

Architectural History MA 2019-20


160 is drawn between Chinese official documentaries and individual disseminations, including social media content posted by a patient and a designer of Huoshenshan Hospital and one independently made documentary by a Japanese director. A conversation with a Chinese dentist is also used for understanding ethical responsibility in Chinese medical context. As for theoretical support, Butler’s critical discussion on ‘recepetivity’, ‘responsiveness’ and ‘media’s ethical solicitation’ is applied in the Chinese context. In addition to the online materials, my analysis is also based on my own experience as a Chinese national and offered a way to explore how to bring together the Chinese events and Western methodologies to gain a new perspective to understand the Wuhan hospitals. This dissertation brings the establishment of a new record in building makeshift hospitals into question, offering its diverse audience more dimensions to consider the pandemic and humans’ relationship with nature through architecture.

China News Service, ‘China’s Fight With COVID-19’, published 2 April 2020, video, 5:44, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMm27Mj12x8. [Accessed 8 July 2020] 1

World Health Organization, ‘Modes of Transmission of Virus Causing COVID-19: Implications for IPC Precaution Recommendations’, [accessed 13 June 2020], https://www. who.int/news-room/commentaries/detail/modes-of-transmission-of-virus-causing-covid-19implicat ions-for-ipc-precaution-recommendations. 2

3

Weibo is one of the most popular social media sites in China

Katie Lloyd Thomas, “Between the Womb and the World: Building Matrixial Relations in the NICU”, in Relational Architectural Ecologies, ed. Peg Rawes (London: Routledge, 2013). 4

Judith Butler, “Rethinking Vulnerability and Resistance”, in Vulnerability In Resistance, ed. Butler Judith, Zeynep Gambetti, and Leticia Sabsay (Durham: Duke University Press, 2016), 12–27, https://doi.org/10.1215/9780822373490. 5

Judith Butler, ‘Precarious Life, Vulnerability, and the Ethics of Cohabitation’, The Journal of Speculative Philosophy 26, no. 2 (2012). 134–51, https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5325/ jspecphil.26.2.0134. 6

'Borderspace', interdependency and vulnerability / Yuan Xue


161

Vulnerable Wuhan. Author’s own illustration, 2020.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


Turkish translations of the Venice Charter

Hakan Yildiz

Translation as a restoration of literary monuments:


163 ‘The Venice Charter should be preserved as an historic monument.’1

Contemporary conservation theory follows guiding principles set out in the so-called Venice Charter,2 the final declaration of the Second International Congress of Architects and Technicians of Historic Monuments held between the 25th and 31st of May 1964 in Venice. The influence of the Venice Charter, translated into at least 28 different languages, can be traced in great numbers to national and international institutions’ regulations, guidelines and charters.3 It is widely accepted that the Venice Charter has played a significant role in establishing an international consensus on conservation principles and their dissemination throughout the world, essential to the protection of a large number of monuments. The fact that the Charter was originally written in 4 languages; English, French, Italian and Russian, points to its ambition to serve as a universal declaration. However, although the Charter was the product of an international congress, it is generally considered to be Eurocentric due to the nationality of its committee members, 17 of the 20 of whom were European. In addition, there have been considerable difficulties in its application to other geographies and cultures, each with their own climatic conditions, materialities and living habits. In addition to these substantial problems,

Architectural History MA 2019-20


164 the translation of the Charter into other languages has led to semantic differences in interpretation, meaning deviation and deficiencies overall. This has even been the case between its original languages such as between French and Russian.4 Though there have been many attempts to reconceptualise international conservation principles through the production and dissemination of additional charters, such as the Nara Charter (1994) and the Burra Charter (1999), none have attempted to revise or edit the Venice Charter’s actual text. Meanwhile, there have been several unsuccessful attempts over the years to revise the Venice Charter’s content through rectification, editing or renovating. Despite the many criticisms of the Charter – such as the contradictions among its articles and its failure to meet contemporary requirements in the field of conservation, the Charter remains a major subject for researchers.5 One particular aspect of interest is the dissemination of the Charter to other countries who might have been considered peripheral in relation to the founding countries. Turkey, where the original translation of the Charter was undertaken by Prof. Cevat Erder, offers a good example of this. In his essay, Venice Charter Under Review, Erder comments on the Charter article by article in an attempt to clarify and express its essential concepts, as well as to present the Charter’s Turkish translation.6 Additionally, the essay, published in English in 1994 within the context of the 30th anniversary event by ICOMOS, includes his provocative proposal to “preserve” the Venice Charter ‘as an historic monument.’7

Translation as a restoration of literary monuments / Hakan Yildiz


165

Concerning this quite visionary statement, two fundamental questions arise: can a text be considered as a monument? and if so, how can it be preserved? By virtue of its innate international mission, the Venice Charter was intentionally generated as a multilingual text. In other words, the Charter cannot be considered separate from its translations. In addition to this original intertwinement, inasmuch as restoration is the fundamental instrument for the preservation of historic monuments, this study suggests that the examination of the relationship between translation and restoration is essential to the preservation of the Charter itself. In the same critical vein, considering preservation does not necessarily infer that objects must be ‘frozen’ in time. A discussion of translation might offer fertile ground on which to explore the conundrum of the preservation of literary texts: the act of translating inevitably leads to derivative reproductions rather than identical copies. Additionally, by contemplating the preservation of the Charter as a monument, one is confronted with the question of what defines a monument? For this purpose, monument(atily) is researched within a historical context so as to understand its conceptual and thematic limits. Furthermore, this dissertation explores the relationship between translation and restoration, in search of potentially enlightening intersections. The first part of this dissertation examines the afterlife of the monument whereby notions of translation can offer an alternative understanding of the creative agency held in its constant transformation. The second part of this dissertation analyses the Turkish journey of the Venice Charter in particular. Here, Prof. Erder’s respective translations are

Architectural History MA 2019-20


166 compared in a number of aspects in order to reveal significant differences over time. Apart from exemplifying how translation(s) of the Charter have been reproduced time and again, the anonymous alterations of the translations by non-authorial agents, such as Prof. Ahunbay and ICOMOS, are highlighted. After this, the historic evolution of the translations are discussed in detail in relation to the theoretical frame set up in the first part of the dissertation.

Cevat Erder, “Venedik Tüzüğü Bir Anıt Gibi Korunmalıdır” METU Journal of the Faculty of Architecture 3, no. 2 (1977), 167. 1

Frank Matero, “Foreword: The Venice Charter at Fifty” Change Over Time 4, no. 2 (2014), 195. 2

Jukka Jokilehto, “The context of the Venice Charter (1964)”Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites 2, no. 4 (1998), 230 3

Cevat Erder, “The Venice Charter under review” ICOMOS Scientific Journal, The Venice Charter - La Charte de Venise 1964-1994 4. (1994), 25 4

ICOMOS’ publications frequently give a place to the Venice Charter focused studies such as Hungarian National office of Cultural heritage The Venice Charter 1964-2004-2044? (Budapest, ETK, 2004). Among recent studies see Matthew Hardy, ‘The Venice Charter Revisited: Modernism, Conservatism and Tradition in the 21st Century’. (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2011). 5

6

Cevat Erder, ‘Venedik Tüzüğü Bir Anıt Gibi Korunmalıdır’ 167-90.

7

Cevat Erder, “The Venice Charter under review” 24-31. Translation as a restoration of literary monuments / Hakan Yildiz


167

An illustrative antique booklet of the Venice Charter. Author’s own photograph, 2020.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


(from several points of view)

Architecture, history and post-gravity

A non-aligned narrative in and around KSEVT:

Vid Žnidaršič


169 Ljubljana, 26th of June 2020

I first met Dragan in 2014 in Vitanje when KSEVT1 had been opened for almost two years.2 When we spoke on the phone, six years later, he invited me to see his theatre play. He told me that he is motivated to help me out and talk to me. In the middle of my conversation (I was pacing up and down the apartment) my partner walked through the door. CS: Was that him? She could not have known who I was speaking with, but apparently, I transformed into something she could recognize. I once read that this phenomenon is a remnant of pre-historic evolutionary adaptation – that one starts to mimic the other member of the same species he or she wants to impress or befriend.

■ DŽ: We’ve been talking for 42 minutes now – that leaves us with four minutes for each!

Architectural History MA 2019-20


170 At this point, he grabbed Mladen Dolar’s book and opened it.3 Although it would be impossible to describe everything that followed, especially if one has not experienced Dragan’s enthusiasm in person, I will try to present what he said during the four lectures as closely as possible to how he did it for me. The following four lectures showcase what Dragan calls optimal projection and its relation to KSEVT.

■ 1. Image 34 On the right-hand-side, you can see a painting from 1925 by Ilya Chashnik, entitled Red Circle on Black Surface. We see a red circle, which is in essence – a star. Below, we see a planit in some kind of relation to this circle. This represents something that we call abstraction, but other words can describe this as well, such as supremacy. On the left-hand side, there is a photograph from 2006. This is a photograph of the sun. This is mimesis, not an abstraction! This is a sun that reminisces the circle and this is supremus – The International Space Station. And what is the small black thing? This is Space Shuttle Atlantis, performing a docking mechanism. THIS IS A PHOTOGRAPH! THIS IS A PROJECTION! THIS IS A REALIZATION!

A non-aligned narrative in and around KSEVT / Vid Žnidaršič


171 Art sometimes precedes science. When Chasnik painted this he created an optimal projection for the art on the orbit. I am not interested in finding solutions for architectural problems but to produce a way of thinking between gravitational – which you can also call terraformative – architecture and orbital architecture, independently of which planet we are talking about. From all of that, you can understand the relationship between mimesis and anti-mimesis. Anti-mimesis is sometimes also an optimal projection of mimesis or heterotopy – halfway towards utopia.

■ 2. Image 25 On your left-hand side, you can see Supremus 56 by Kazimir Malevich. This is Mona Lisa of the 20th century. This is not a painting! This is a blueprint of the optimal projection! These are planits. Malevich, besides supremacy, also works with arkhitektons – structures without doors or windows, without a function of entering or exiting. And to a certain degree, arkhitektons are transported into architecture as well, such as in the case of Malevich’s Pilot’s House. What is planit? It consists of a planet and a satellite, together forming planit. Malevich had a projection that in between Moon and Earth he

Architectural History MA 2019-20


172 would install planits, so if there would be an outer-space intelligence flying by they could say ‘Oh, someone is culturalizing something here!’. This is a projection. Next to it, Constructivist Ambience of Trieste created a black and white square and in between they installed – what? Levitation Structures! They exhibited this in 1927 and joined supremacy with constructivism. White represents a cosmic space, black represents the economy of planet Earth. With Levitation Structures we gain the historical support in Constructivist Ambience of Trieste! WHAT IS POST-GRAVITATIONAL ART? POST-GRAVITATIONAL ART IS NOT A STYLE! It is any kind of form of art that for its synthesis uses the mindset of gravitation zero. Supremus 56 is the most important painting of the 20th century, however, it is not Post-gravitational painting, since we know exactly where it hangs, where the nail supporting it and its gravity is installed. This painting is an optimal projection!

A non-aligned narrative in and around KSEVT / Vid Žnidaršič


173

3. Image 46 Remember the axiom? These four architectural offices are all magnificent. But before we started building we needed a projection – an architectural one! Do you see this painting? This painting is THE ONLY suprematist painting that is not painted on either black or white background. This is THE ONLY ONE that is painted with the horizon! THE ONLY ONE that was painted as an architecture! If you look at Zaha Hadid, she only brings organic into the constructivism – something that Rozhdestvensky did already in 1935! Constructivists or de-constructivists, El Lissitzky and Alexander Archipenko influenced Zaha Hadid, but she COULD NOT HAVE KNOWN ROZHDESTVENSKY!’ The most important thing is the title of the painting: COSMIC DEVICE. We knew this painting but haven’t told anyone! Architects did not know! NO ONE KNEW! The optimal projection existed before KSEVT was erected. And what is more – utopic projection existed. The only motive they got was the Space Wheel. One could only be amazed by their virtuosity.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


174 And the result is here: the horizon, grass, supremacy… This has nothing to do with a flying saucer, this has everything to do with the cosmic device. Cosmic Apparatus. ■ 4. Image 57 The last sketch is about the first turn of the Tatlin’s project for the Monument to the Third International. You know about Tatlin’s tower right? Look. This is the first turn in the projection that is going upwards. In the culturalization of space and cosmification of art.

KSEVT stands for The Cultural Centre of European Space Technologies, or Kulturno središče evropskih vesoljskih tehnologij in Slovene, hence the abbreviation. The institution, the building itself and the consequences of their existence for the people connected to it are put in the focus of the dissertation that this extract is taken from. 1

In 2014, at the time of my first visit to Vitanje as a part of the Visiting School, everything seemed possible. At the final day of our projects’ presentations, Dragan held a talk where he spoke about his work, about KSEVT’s mission, about future plans and everyone in attendance was impressed – both by the prospects of what this project might become as well as by his personality. 2

3

Mladen Dolar, Uprizarjanje Konceptov: Spisi O Umetnosti (Ljubljana: Maska, 2019).

4

Mladen Dolar, Uprizarjanje Konceptov, 207.

5

Mladen Dolar, Uprizarjanje Konceptov, 206.

6

Mladen Dolar, Uprizarjanje Konceptov, 208.

7

Mladen Dolar, Uprizarjanje Konceptov, 209. A non-aligned narrative in and around KSEVT / Vid Žnidaršič


175

A collection of postcards sent to friends. The watercolour on the reverse is entitled ‘View of Space Centre Noordung’ by Jože Svetina in 2019, Vitanje. Author’s own photograph, 2020.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


Sophie Chamberlain

Space/politics/economy/landscape (1830-present)

A selection of images from The Allotment Garden:


177

The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the much-reported sense of dislocation felt in many urban communities. Likewise the newly imposed spatial conditions drew attention to a community which found themselves exempt due to their existing partitions, and whom, may find it difficult to survive in the city otherwise - the occupiers and users of the allotment garden.1 A place for private conversation, time and space away from family and the impulse to slow down, to repair and recuperate rather than intensify productivity – it was these kinds of conduct and the possibility that occupants, users and the sites spatial quality might lead to a more insightful debate necessary for defying any unidirectional flow that our current food system provides, that an engagement with the allotment became most preoccupied. The overall objective of this dissertation was to identify, understand and document a location in the urban landscape by creating images and dialogue with those who currently engage in urban gardening practices. Pinhole cameras were made by upcycling cardboard waste from various major supermarkets with pieces of negative film cut and loaded into the camera the evening prior to visiting the site. These pieces of film intersect throughout the work with discussions held by those currently occupying the site and are inserted into the text, when the occupiers Architectural History MA 2019-20


178 voice is referenced. At each partition, the camera remained in place, exposing while the occupant worked the plot, allowing each point on site to be concentrated into a durational framework. The colour cast let loose across the film follows a seasonal trajectory from the months April to August, we don’t see the images here in seasonal order nor do we see them as linearly organised, more so as aids for disrupting the conventional terms of landscape and to forge alternatives to those passive forms of representation that often fail to document the spatial and material complexities of urban locations. Each piece of negative film cumulatively builds a spatial assemblage of the site from which we can weave together to form an index of land use and thus conceive of a wider picture of the landscape.

For many at Garratt Park allotment site, the ability to visit and continue nurturing their gardens was a lifeline, as one gardener said, “Um, and I think it’s saved a lot of loneliness, actually.” 1

A selection of images from The Allotment Garden / Sophie Chamberlain


179

03-07-20 Tesco, north central region next to the river, 3 hours.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


180 13-06-20 Lidl, central north region up from the river, 1 hour.

A selection of images from The Allotment Garden / Sophie Chamberlain


181

Architectural History MA 2019-20


182

04-08-20 Sainsbury, south west corner, 10 minutes.

A selection of images from The Allotment Garden / Sophie Chamberlain


183

08-07-20 Lidl, far east corner, 20 minutes.

04-08-20 Sainsbury’s, north central region up from the river, 15 minutes.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


184

17-05-20 Sainsbury’s, south east region, 2 minutes. A selection of images from The Allotment Garden / Sophie Chamberlain


185

10-05-20 Sainsbury’s, far east corner, 2 hours. Architectural History MA 2019-20


186

A selection of images from The Allotment Garden / Sophie Chamberlain


187

04-08-20 Sainsbury’s, central west region, 20 minutes.

Architectural History MA 2019-20


188

06-08-20 Asda, far east corner, 20 minutes. A selection of images from The Allotment Garden / Sophie Chamberlain


189

29-08-20 Tesco local, south east corner, 2 minutes. Architectural History MA 2019-20


Copyright of images


Front Cover

Designed by Ken Qiu Sun Illustration by Bronte Allan

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Designed by Ken Qiu Sun and Bronte Allan Illustration by Bronte Allan

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© Bronte Allan

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© Park Chaerin, reproduced with owner’s permission

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© Dhruv Shah Aka Lodaya and Bronte Allan

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© Public domain, reproduced courtesy of gallica.bnf.fr / Bibliothèque nationale de France © Public domain, reproduced courtesy of Universitätsund Landesbibliothek Sachsen-Anhalt © Public domain, reproduced courtesy of Wikisource

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© Bronte Allan

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© Dhruv Shah Aka Lodaya

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© Sixue Zhang, reproduced with owner’s permission

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© Maria McLintock

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© Malcolm Msika

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© César Carrasco, reproduced with owner’s permission

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© Bronte Allan

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© Mine Sak

p. 95

© Anna Alexandra Seress

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© Dhruv Shah Aka Lodaya

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© Bronte Allan

p. 113

© Image courtesy of Garden City Collection

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© Sadaf Tabatabaei

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© Dhruv Shah Aka Lodaya

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© Dhruv Shah Aka Lodaya

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© Bronte Allan


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© Honor Vincent

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© Dharmik Thakkar, reproduced with owner’s permission

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© Josephine Waugh

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© Yuan Xue

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© Hakan Yildiz

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© Vid Žnidaršič

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© Sophie Chamberlain




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