Unsorted | Architectural History MA 2022-2023

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Architectural Histor y MA The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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This publication is a collation of final dissertation papers submitted by the 2022-2023 Architectural History MA cohort, published in conjunction with a symposium, held on 4th November 2023. The speakers at the symposium were: Prof. Mark Swenarton Co-founder of Architectural History MA at Bartlett, UCL

Dr. Jagjeet Lally Associate Professor of the History of Early Modern and Colonial India, UCL

Abiba Coulibaly Film Curator and Founder of Brixton Community Cinema

Dr. Jos Boys Design Activist, Co-Director of The Dis/Ordinary Architecture Project

Symposium Organisers

Published by

Vaishnavi Gondane

The Bartlett School of Architecture

Eliot Haworth


Sara Mahmud

22 Gordon Street

Tian Wang


Editors Vaishnavi Gondane Sara Mahmud Designers Vaishnavi Gondane Sara Mahmud

WC1H 0QB Symposium Supervisors Prof. Barbara Penner Dr. Robin Wilson Thanks to the following Bartlett Staff Matthew Bowles Srijana Gurung Abi Luter Joe McGrath Don Onyido Drew Pessoa Paul Weston Gen Williams Special Thanks Prof. Peg Rawes

Copyright of the texts: authors; Copyright of the images: see p. 109 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 Architectural History MA 2022-2023 10-11

Cohort and Academic Staff

Introduction 12-13

Introduction The Editor

Peripheral Voices 18-25

Forgotten Voyagers

Exploring Socio-Spatial Realities of 19th-Century Lascars Vaishnavi Gondane 26-31

The Ayahs’ Home at Hackney

Race, Gender, and Empire 1855 - 1941 Rehman Qadir 32-39

Deconstructing Diasporic Faith

An Exploration of London’s Muslim Identity Through Shahed Saleem’s Ramadan Pavilion Sara Mahmud 40-45

The Proposed United Kingdom Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre In Victoria Tower Gardens An Analysis of its Design, Success as a Holocaust Memorial, and Impact on Holocaust Culture in Britain Emilie Crossan

Governing Through Architecture 50-55

The Collapse of 65 rue d’Aubagne in Marseille A Case of State Violence and Housing Injustice Lisa Belabled


Her Penny Bed

A Case Study of the Salvation Army’s Women’s Shelters in London from 1884 to the Present Day Jieya Wang 62-69

Beyond the Alton Estate

What Will Determine the Success of Post-War Council Housing Regeneration Guiming He 70-75

A Fragile Fortress

Analysing the Architectural Space in the Locked Room Mystery from 1840-1940 Ruolan Si

Decentring Normative Users of Architecture 80-85

Disabling Environments

Absences in Architectural Conditions Jessie Buckle 86-91

Multisensory Experience

A Spatial Study of Indoor Climbing and Artificial Climbing Walls

Tian Wang 92-97

Towards a Technology of Trees in Architecture From ‘Epistemes’ to ‘Dispositifs’ Qiaodan Liu


Things Get In

A Study of Arthropod Life at the Couvent Sainte-Marie de la Tourette Eliot Haworth 109

Image Credits

Architectural History MA 2022-2023 Cohort (from top left corner) Emilie Crossan Sara Mahmud Isobella Valerie Poulden Lisa Belabed Jieya Wang Guiming He Vaishnavi Gondane


Qiaodan Liu Rehman Qadir Harry Fisher Yichen Wu Ruolan Si Tian Wang Eliot Haworth

Architectural History MA 2022-2023

Matthew Gibbons Martin Shepherd Jessie Buckle Tavia Swain Sarah Al-Ajeeli

Architectural History MA 2022-2023 Academic Staff Iain Borden Ben Campkin Mario Carpo Edward Denison Murray Fraser Polly Gould Stelios Giamarelos

Clare Melhuish Barbara Penner Peg Rawes Jane Rendell Robin Wilson The Survey of London


Introduction The Editor Vaishnavi Gondane ‘Unsorted’ represents the culmination of the 2022-2023 Architectural History MA dissertations, serving as a reflection on transdisciplinary methodologies and perspectives within the practice of Architectural History. We began the year by exploring critical methodologies in architectural history, laying the groundwork for our program. By introducing various canons of architecture and architectural history, we questioned the very essence of this canon. Our academic staff and cohort of students involved made this exploration possible. The theme, ‘unsorted’, is the result of this inquiry. Its concept represents the core dilemma and essence of work in architectural history and research. The cohort convened within the confines of seminar room 5.02, bringing together individuals hailing from diverse academic backgrounds, professions, experiences, and life trajectories, with a shared interest in the built environment. We found ourselves individually interpreting the built environment through the unique lenses of our experiences and accumulated knowledge. In addition to acquiring a range of research methods and work practices, we also grasped the impact of personal subjectivity on the research process. It soon became evident that architectural history cannot be neatly packaged into discrete canonical categories that remain fixed and sorted. Instead, it is a landscape filled with tensions, unknowns, and contingencies that shift across time and space. As researchers, we inhabit this unsorted


Architectural History MA 2022-2023

terrain, continuously questioning power structures, uncovering new evidence, and generating alternative perspectives. By highlighting the idea of the ‘unsorted’, this cohort calls into question the norms, criteria, and power structures that have traditionally defined what counts as part of the architectural canon. It asks us to consider: What has been left out? Whose histories have been overlooked or excluded when we sort architecture into subjects, hierarchies, periods, and canonical categories? The written excerpts contend that new possibilities arise when we refrain from sorting architectural production into familiar classifications. When we resist reinforcing established canons, we make space for multiplicity and allow marginalised perspectives to reshape disciplinary narratives. The three chapters provide a broad perspective encompassing ‘Peripheral Voices’, ‘Governing through Architecture’, and ‘Decentering Normative Users of Architecture’. While the text is structured into these chapters, it remains accessible to be read from any of these thematic lenses. The excerpts highlight the diversity of narratives that emerge when we resist the urge to neatly classify and sort architectural production. From the voices muted by traditional canons to counter-narratives hidden in plain sight, the authors highlight the messy, contested realities of architecture past and present. They model the critical disposition that keeps architectural history dynamic and unsorted. 13


Architectural History MA 2022-2023

Peripheral Voices The Peripheral Voices chapter contains fragments of dissertations which focus on marginalised voices in architectural history. The work in this section spans representations of South Asians communities in history, both in British archives and their presence in London. This research includes investigations into Muslim and Jewish diasporic identities manifested in the design of architectural memorials. These essays collectively aim to rectify historical imbalances by bringing stories and experiences of groups that have been historically overlooked within the built environment to the forefront of architectural history. Through their research and analysis, the authors endeavour to centre these narratives and foster a more inclusive understanding of the urban landscape’s multifaceted role in society.



Vaishnavi Gondane

Rehman Qadir

Vaishnavi Gondane’s fascination with architectural history stems from her undergraduate studies in India, where she became intrigued by how space is negotiated through the lenses of caste and religion. Her passion for unveiling marginalised narratives was sparked by attending numerous conferences during her MA program in the UK, where she gained exposure to diverse perspectives beyond what she had encountered in India.

Rehman was born in Multan, Pakistan, and studied architecture for five years at the National College of Arts in Lahore. He had been in London for two weeks, newly enrolled on the Architectural History MA at The Bartlett. For Qadir, who says he enjoys understanding the sociological layers behind spaces, a tube station is a wonderfully complex and contradictory thing. ‘On one level it represents freedom. This is my gateway to London. I’m discovering my sense of self within the city through it.’

As an Indian woman, Vaishnavi recognises her own situatedness in the world guides her research interests. Her background motivates her to challenge dominant narratives that have overlooked communities and subjectivities throughout history. While saddened by the silence of marginalised groups, Vaishnavi finds purpose in amplifying unheard stories. Giving voice inspires her scholarship. Vaishnavi decided to pursue an MA in Architectural History in the UK to build on her architecture background and gain a deeper knowledge of methodologies to uncover alternative histories.


‘On the other hand, there is that weird feeling that I am being surveilled and that I need to look like I belong. That I can’t let them think that I’ve just gotten here. Or that I have an accent, and therefore be suspicious. So the building and infrastructure of a tube station represents anxiety and yet also a lot of promise and fascination for me.’

Architectural History MA 2022-2023

Sara Mahmud

Emilie Crossan

Sara Mahmud is an architectural designer who completed her BSc in Architecture at The Bartlett, UCL. Having lived in Africa, Asia, North America and Europe, she is intrigued with migration, cultural assimilation and identity construction, exploring how individuals within diasporic communities preserve their cultural heritage within the context of Western societies. Her work aims to analyse the transmission of architectural ideas through a postcolonial and decolonial lens in global cities, such as London. She is interested in understanding how notions of architectural hybridity manifested in the urban landscape are a reflection of mixed and transcultural identities.

Emilie has always been a history enthusiast, passionate about Jewish culture and identity through architectural expressions. She graduated with a BA in Historic Preservation and Jewish Studies, with a minor in Art and Architectural History from the University of Charleston in South Carolina. During this time, she was part of the Jewish Student Union/Hillel, and the Holocaust Education Awareness and Remembrance Group. Her research combines elements of architecture, art history, cultural studies, and religious studies to provide a comprehensive understanding of Jewish heritage and the importance of Holocaust memorial structures and memorial culture.

Of all the cities she has visited, London holds a special place in Sara’s heart. She believes that London offers a unique environment where individuals from diverse backgrounds can not only coexist, but also harmoniously converge. ‘In this metropolis, London acts as the hub of multiculturalism which shapes the city’s distinctive character.’

Emilie expresses her eccentric personality and love for Disney through her everchanging glasses, adorned with an array of quirky patterns. Each day, her glasses are a whimsical reflection of her inner child, making her a constant source of joy to all who know her.


Peripheral Voices

Forgotten Voyagers Exploring Socio-Spatial Realities of 19th-Century Lascars

Vaishnavi Gondane 18

Architectural History MA 2022-2023

During a voyage in 1843-44, an East Indiaman ship 1 ‘The Thames’ arrived in London with only seventy lascars on board, having set out from the East with 100 men. What happened to the other 30 lascars during that voyage? On 11th February 1844, Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper published an article on the death of Mamarie, a lascar working on the Thames. The article detailed the investigation by the jury who viewed the body on the ship, and ‘found it to be dreadfully emaciated.’2 However, the main reason for his death seems to have been the ship’s living conditions. The cabin where Mamarie and his fellow lascars lived had ‘scarcely any air gained admittance, and found that it gave forth such an odious smell that they contented themselves with an outside view.’3 The jury declared that ‘for human beings, it was an unfit habitation!’4 In addition, a juror/expert witness discovered that ‘all the lascars on the ship were suffering from scurvy, and that he could take the teeth out of several of their heads with his finger.’5 The court concluded this was ‘the effect of diet, and not of climate!’6 While climate may have contributed to Mamarie’s death, and very likely many other lascar and maritime deaths 1   The term “East Indiaman” refers to sailing ships authorised by various European East India Trading companies during the 17th to 19th centuries. Historian Fernand Braudel noted that some of the most impressive and sizable Indiamen in the late 18th and early 19th centuries were constructed in India, utilising Indian shipbuilding methods and crewed by Indian Lascars. The use of Indian teak for their hulls made them particularly suitable for local waters. 2   Philos. ‘The Lascar Sailors’. Lloyd’s Weekly London Newspaper (London), February Sunday 11, 1844, 5. https://www. britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/BL/0000078/18440211/008/0005?browse=False. 3   Ibid. 4   Ibid. 5   Ibid. 6   Ibid.

Forgotten Voyagers / Vaishnavi Gondane


between the 17th and 19th centuries, the reporter concluded that this particular death was ‘owing to shameful neglect on the part of those who were in command’.7 This wasn’t the first time a lascar was ill-treated on board a British ship. Numerous British newspapers would indicate that this ill-treatment of lascars was an unfortunate aspect of their ‘shipboard’8 life. Let me begin by defining lascars. According to Hobson-Jobson9, it is a term derived from the Persian word for ‘army or campy follower.’10 The term was often linked with South Asian sailors, but it was a broad term that encompassed sailors from the entire Indian Ocean region up until the 19th century.11 They assisted British crews during their homeward passage as substitutes for white sailors who fell ill or were deserted. The Danish were likely the pioneers among European nations in recruiting sailors from the Indian Ocean, but the Portuguese and French quickly adopted this practice.12 However, it was the British who eventually dominated this largest share of 19th-century global shipping practice.13 The Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper provided a colonial definition of a lascar; ‘a man almost below the middle stature, and like most of the inhabitants of a tropical climate, has peculiar religious opinions.’14 The subject of my dissertation will be the Indian lascars employed during the Colonial period. My research method and archival material led to this dissertation’s focus on the 19th century. 7   Philos. ‘The Lascar Sailors’. Lloyd’s Weekly London Newspaper (London), February Sunday 11, 1844, 5. https://www. britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/BL/0000078/18440211/008/0005?browse=False. 8   I first came across ‘shipboard’ in Lascars and Indian OceanSeafaring, 1780-1860 by Aaron Jaffer. It refers to the daily activities, routines, and experiences of individuals who live and work on a ship. It encompasses various aspects of life at sea, including living conditions, work responsibilities, social interactions, and leisure activities. 9   G. Balachandran, “Workers in the World: Indian Seafarers, c. 1870s-1940s.” Global Histories of Work, edited by Andreas Eckert, 125-145. 1st ed. De Gruyter, 2016 http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctvbkjv3d.7. 131. 10   Aaron Jaffer, “INTRODUCTION.” Lascars and Indian Ocean Seafaring, 1780-1860: Shipboard Life, Unrest and Mutiny, NED-New edition. (Boydell & Brewer, 2015), http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt17mvjwr.6. 1. 11   Ibid. 12   Ibid, 2. 13   Aaron Jaffer, “INTRODUCTION.” Lascars and Indian Ocean Seafaring, 1780-1860: Shipboard Life, Unrest and Mutiny, NED-New edition. (Boydell & Brewer, 2015), http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt17mvjwr.6. 1. 14   Philos. ‘The Lascar Sailors’. Lloyd’s Weekly London Newspaper (London), February Sunday 11, 1844, 5. https://www. britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/BL/0000078/18440211/008/0005?browse=False.


Architectural History MA 2022-2023

During the early half of this historical period, lascars were mostly visible in the archive in the context of their unfortunate ill-treatment on ships and along the littoral regions. The East India Company (EIC) and consequently Peninsular & Oriental (P&O) Company played a central role in facilitating movement between India and England, benefiting both the British and Indian populations. Lascars were among those who traversed this route as crew members. However, their employment and prominence underwent a dramatic shift after the opening of the Suez Canal. This event during the time of heightened colonialism in 1869 had a profound impact on maritime trade. The Suez Canal brought about a crucial advantage to International trading companies by considerably shortening the distance between the West and the East. Before its construction, sailing ships had to undertake an 11,560 NM15 journey around the Cape of Good Hope to travel from Liverpool to Bombay.16 With the introduction of the canal route, a steamship could save 5777 NM, which is almost half of the original distance.17 This transformative change was made possible solely due to the construction of the Canal and the advent of the Steamship: ‘Almost without exception, the Suez Canal was an all-steamer route…the sailing ship was beset with difficulties in attempting to navigate the Red Sea.’18 The opening of the Suez Canal holds immense relevance to the subject of this dissertation, because it not only changed the nature of employment of lascars,19 but also impacted the archival material available from 1869 onward. This archival material shows the lascars as British subjects, highlighting their identity, exploitation, wages, and shipboard employment. In addition, this shift in employment is pivotal in shaping the lascar narrative in this dissertation. 15   NM means nautical miles, used by the International Civil Aviation Organization. 16   Max E. Fletcher, “The Suez Canal and World Shipping, 1869-1914.” The Journal of Economic History 18, no. 4 December. 1958 https://www.jstor.org/stable/2114548 , 559. 17 Max E. Fletcher, “The Suez Canal and World Shipping, 1869-1914.” The Journal of Economic History 18, no. 4 December. 1958 https://www.jstor.org/stable/2114548 , 558. 18   Ibid. 19   Susheila Nasta, and Florian Stadtler. Asian Britain: A Photographic History. (London: Westbourne Press In partnership with British Library and in association with gettyimages, 2013), https://archive.org/details/asianbritainphot0000nast/ page/n5/mode/2up, 12.

Forgotten Voyagers / Vaishnavi Gondane


Through tracing their presence on the voyage route, including the Suez Canal, England to India, I create a unique spatial narrative of lascars, filling a current gap in understanding. I focus on two prominent companies: EIC, which evolved into P&O, and Thames Vessels. While the Thames had harsher conditions for lascars, EIC was a significant carrier of these seafarers to London. The transition from EIC’s monopoly to P&O’s control marked a shift. I explore how lascars shaped spatial and architectural elements during this historical voyage. My research focuses on the complex interactions between lascars, ships, sea, and land. Utilising archival materials like newspapers, articles, court minutes, illustrations, diaries, and journals, I aim to construct a comprehensive narrative of lascars’ lives and their littoral experiences. However, it is important to acknowledge that these primary archival materials were predominantly written by British, or by individuals who were considered British subjects, and therefore often influenced by racial prejudices. Consequently, my dissertation aims to address these biases and attempts to write subaltern spatial histories of the lascars. By employing these decolonial approaches, I aspire to present a more nuanced portrayal of the lascars’ experiences during the voyage and their lives in littoral spaces. I attempt to enhance the visibility of lascars in historical narratives. I do this by drawing from Saidiya Hartman’s critical race scholarship20 on Black history and literary imagination. She combines rigorous research with a creative and imaginative engagement with the lives and experiences of Black individuals in the past. Her books, such as Venus in Two Acts and Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments, exemplify this approach by reimagining and reinterpreting historical events and figures. By adopting a similar approach in my dissertation of engaging with the emotional, cultural, and social aspects of the past and delving into the inner lives and experiences of historical figures which want to shed light on those who have been marginalised or overlooked in traditional colonial historical narratives. My dissertation comprises four chapters, each addressing aspects of lascars’ life during

20   Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals and Venus in Two Acts are a perfect example where Saidiya Hartman employs historical fiction as a tool to bring out invisible narratives.


Architectural History MA 2022-2023

a voyage. The first chapter explores the hierarchical lascar community, investigating how economic disparities, religion, attire, and culture shaped spatial interaction. The second chapter reconstructs ‘shipboard life’, examining living conditions, food, daily routines, and their impact on lascars’ behaviour. The third chapter traces the voyage route from England to India through the Suez Canal, revealing exploitation and ideological divides. The fourth chapter examines the contested lascar identity against Grotius’ ‘Free sea’ concept, revealing mobility complexities and maritime experiences. Through a subaltern lens, the study concludes with narratives of the lascars’ struggles, resilience, and resistance against the backdrop of colonial exploitation. This exploration culminates in a thought-provoking reflection on the multifaceted experiences of the lascars, providing valuable insights into their place in maritime history and the broader dynamics of power, identity, and mobility during the relevant historical period. ‘...the colonial state did everything possible to render their everyday presence invisible. It regulated nearly every detail of the engagement of Indian seafarers on oceanic shipping to minimise the danger of political and cultural contact, and channel potential conflicts through routine bureaucratic agency.’21

21   Balachandran, “Workers in the World: Indian Seafarers, c. 1870s-1940s.”, 129

Forgotten Voyagers / Vaishnavi Gondane


Left This image comprise of a fictional narrative written from the perspective of Lascars, imagined as if their voices were present in the colonial archives instead of only the perspectives of colonizers. The story is inspired by accounts in British newspapers, but retold from the standpoint of the Lascars. It aims to humanize the experiences of these forgotten seamen who were the linchpin of the maritime trade networks across the Indian Ocean region up until the 20th century. It further imagines how these narratives may have been disseminated if newspapers at the time had published accounts of Lascars’ lives and voyages. The newspapers juxtapose these overlooked stories amidst the daily English and colonial news and events of the era (19th century). Forgotten Voyagers / Vaishnavi Gondane


Peripheral Voices

The Ayahs’ Home at Hackney Race, Gender and Empire 1855-1941

Rehman Qadir 26

Architectural History MA 2022-2023

In a 1922 article for the periodical the Quiver, journalist A. C. Marshall expressed his surprise at an advertisement in a London-based newspaper that was seeking applications for an ‘‘Indian ayah to travel with three young children to Colombo.’1 He reassured his readers that ‘[he] knew, of course, that an ayah is a native nurse or lady’s maid and an essential feature of a white mistress’s household in India,’ since ‘one hears of them from the lips of everyone who has trod the mythical coral strand; one reads of them in books, in the magazines,’ but he was confused why someone would expect to find one ‘right here In the Capital of Empire, an ayah as ready to hand for her service as would be a governess or garden boy?’2 His inquiry into the matter led him to the Ayahs’ Home in Hackney, an institution associated with the London City Mission, which, he discovered, had provided lodging to Ayahs who had travelled to Britain with their employers for approximately a hundred years. Reading Marshall’s discovery of the Ayahs’ Home reveals a few key points. Firstly, the fact that Ayahs were hired to accompany British families on international voyages and were readily available in London.3 Secondly, there existed a formal institution that housed Ayahs in London. Finally, that metropolitan Britons were familiar with colonial discourses, as Marshall points out

1   Marshall, A. C. ‘Nurses of Our Ocean Highways’ Quiver, August 1922, 923. 2   Nurses of Our Ocean Highways, the Quiver, August 1922, 923. 3   Many primary sources from the 19th century use the term ‘English’ to describe the empire and its citizens, and have been quoted as such. However, taking my cue from Alison Blunt, I use the terms ‘British,’ ‘Britain,’ and ‘Britons,’ to refer to them as it recognises that the imperial project was as much English, as it was Irish, Scottish, and Welsh.

The Ayahs’ Home at Hackney / Rehman Qadir


how he is well acquainted with Ayahs and their role in the Anglo-Indian household.4 Founded as early as 1855, the Ayahs’ Home provided lodging for Indian (and later, Chinese) Ayahs who had accompanied their employers on ships. These travelling Ayahs were hired only for the journey itself, their contract terminating upon reaching their destination. While many Ayahs had prearranged contracts to join families headed out of Britain to India, there were often delays between their arrival and departure, and in some cases, Ayahs were abandoned by their employers in Britain. The British Government’s gendered non-intervention in the plight of Ayahs in Britain resulted in many Ayahs finding shelter in lodging houses around London’s East End, termed by historian Michael H. Fisher as ‘London’s ‘Oriental Quarter’’.5 A Mr and Mrs Rogers opened a lodging house in Aldgate that catered to a South Asian clientele and by 1881 exclusively to Ayahs, advertising itself as ‘ The Ayahs’ Home’. After running into financial difficulties, the Home was taken over by the London City Mission (LCM) in 1897. From the reasons for its inceptions to the way it functioned and was represented, the history of the Home is inextricably linked to British imperialism. Fundamental to maintaining the imperial project, as anthropologist Ann Laura Stoler argues, are the intertwined discourses of race and gender, which became particularly prominent in the late 19th century with the arrival of European women in the colonies. Discourses of imperial power were reproduced in the colonial domestic sphere in household manuals written by Anglo-Indian women providing advice on managing Indian domestic affairs. Geographer Alison Blunt argues that the discourses of race, gender, and imperial power were mobile beyond the colony, embedded in the relationship between Anglo-Indian employers and their Indian employees even as they travelled to-and-fro 4   Like art historian Suzanne Conway, I use ‘Anglo-Indian’ to refer to British colonisers and their families in India, a term which was used to describe them until 1911 after which it was used to officially refer to ‘Eurasians’. 5   Historian Satyasikha Chakraborty, in her paper ‘Nurses of Our Ocean Highways’: The Precarious Metropolitan Lives of Colonial South Asian Ayahs highlights how treatment of South Asians in Britain differed on the basis of race, gender, and class. She notes how in the case of South Asian Lascars, Seamen on British Ships, the government were seen as threats to the public based on their gender and were actively regulated as such. Ayahs on the other hand were not perceived as a threat and the government therefore refused to regulate their employment and mobility. Charkaborty thus characterises this refusal to regulate as ‘gendered non-interference’.


Architectural History MA 2022-2023

between Britain and colonised India. I explore how these discourses expressed themselves in metropolitan London, colouring the experience of the Ayahs in the Ayahs’ Home, through historical periodicals, particularly the LCM’s publication the London City Mission Magazine (LCMM). Through close readings of these texts and their accompanying images, contextualising them with discourses found in official policies and household manuals, I argue that the Ayahs’ Home functioned as a quasi-official domestic branch of the India Office, a site for the racialisation and gendering of Ayahs, and as a site for Christian missionary proselytization. The LCMM is a rich visual and textual archive of the Ayahs’ Home, providing evidence of imperial discourses of race and gender embedded in the daily activities of the Home such as the strategy of infantilizing the Ayahs, as well as in its representations as a site of Christian missionary and ‘civilising’ activity. The LCM missionary in charge of the home conducted daily ‘optional’ and ‘informal’ Christian service that took place every morning, which consisted of prayers, readings from scripture, and the singing of hymns.6 Although voluntary, the magazine reports that most residents would attend regularly and that they enjoyed listening to Biblical stories and singing Hymns. The image overleaf is an example of the representations of the Ayahs’ Home that I analyse in my dissertation. The photograph appeared in Living London, of the Ayahs’ Home’s Dining Hall and evidences how proselytization may have taken place in the Home outside of the morning service. It depicts 15 women around a large dining table, comprised mostly of Ayahs, a Chinese Amah, and five white women. Two of the women in the photograph sit around the table sewing, while the rest are occupied with reading. Most of the Ayahs are reading on their own, although, in the far-left corner, one white British woman appears to be assisting an Ayah in reading. It is difficult to ascertain what the Ayahs are reading, it could be religious pamphlets, but it could also be secular illustrated books which the Reverend in charge of the Home asked readers

6   Marshall, ‘Human Birds of Passage’; William Fletcher, ‘Daughters of China’, London City Mission Magazine, 1927, London City Mission Archive, 78.

The Ayahs’ Home at Hackney / Rehman Qadir


of the Magazine to donate.7 The depiction of these activities, sewing and reading, are both examples of how Christian missionary activity was tied to a ‘civilising’ mission that aimed to develop a distinctly British middle-class image of respectable femininity.8 Using the LCMM and other Historical publications, I argue that the Ayahs’ Home was a complicated space that, like the colonial home, reproduced, and maintained imperial power. Imperial power was expressed through both the functioning of the Ayahs’ Home as an institution that, in the absence of state intervention, took on its role in providing shelter and employment to the Ayahs who travelled to Britain, and through its publications also reproduced discourses of race and gender, integral to imperial power.

7   William Fletcher, ‘Daughters of China’, London City Mission Magazine, 1927, 78. 8   Christian Missionary activity in India, Indrani Sen argues, ‘wove together ‘femininity’ and ‘Christianity’,’ by teaching literacy, needlework, and music, to develop in them respectable middle-class ideas of femininity while answering queries about Christianity, reading out from the bible, or teaching them hymns.


Architectural History MA 2022-2023

Photograph showing Ayahs and Amahs in Ayahs’ Home dining-room, Source: George Robert Sims, Living London; Its Work and Its Play, Its Humour and and Its Pathos, Its Sights and Its Scenes; (London, Paris : New York & Melbourne, Cassell and company, limited, 1902), http://archive.org/details/ livinglondonitsw03sims. Access: Public Domain

The Ayahs’ Home at Hackney / Rehman Qadir


Peripheral Voices

Deconstructing Diasporic Faith An Exploration of London’s Muslim Identity through Shahed Saleem’s Ramadan Pavilion

Sara Mahmud 32

Architectural History MA 2022-2023

This dissertation explores how Muslim-British diasporic identity is expressed through the Ramadan Pavilion, designed by Shahed Saleem. As the first purpose-built architectural structure celebrating the lived experiences of UK Muslims, it was displayed in the Victoria & Albert Exhibition Road Courtyard from 3rd March to 1st May 2023. The temporary installation was a collaboration between the Ramadan Tent Project and the V&A – conceived as the inaugural pavilion in an annual series commissioned by the Ramadan Tent Project1 to celebrate Muslim heritage by showcasing art, design and architecture. The Pavilion is interpreted as Saleem’s response to the idea of cultural transmission through design, demonstrating how Islamic identity can be absorbed into London’s urban landscape through Muslim architectural symbols. The first of the four chapters of the dissertation contextualises London as a diasporic city through historical Muslim migration, and then outlines the V&A’s colonial origins. As a minority group who have traditionally been viewed as homogeneous, and whose ‘non-British’ values have been thought incompatible with a liberal secular nation, the UK’s Muslim-British community, now increasingly British born and raised, are negotiating conflicting tensions between Western belonging and trying to maintain cultural heritage and religious belief. Therefore, this dissertation aims to engage with history in a way that provides a contemporary 1   The Ramadan Tent Project is a charity formed in 2013 by a group of SOAS students who aspired to create spaces of representation and understanding of Islam through artistic, cultural and creative events.

Deconstructing Diasporic Faith / Sara Mahmud


perspective of London’s Muslim community, breaking from typically Eurocentric narratives of history which directly affects the way in which British people today perceive non-western people, buildings and culture. Hence, this dissertation seeks agency in self-representation, reclaiming the right of narrative as to ‘who is British and who has the right to speak about this country’s past and present.’2 Muslims in western countries are currently experiencing a defining moment, balancing their faith within secular societies that are themselves in social, cultural and political flux. This, coupled with growing Islamophobia, impacts notions of what it is to be British. To date, the misrepresentation of Muslims’ religious and cultural practices within the public realm3 is often rooted in extremist stereotypes about Islam which result in the idea that being ‘religious is not considered modern if you are not a western person.’4 Islam is viewed as a threat to liberalism, democracy and secularism. Therefore ‘the question of belonging is one of the most difficult, politically charged and unavoidable political dilemmas of our time’5 and the construction of such a Pavilion within the context of the museum, marks a turning point in London’s social, cultural and architectural history, reflecting the importance of Muslim representation in the city’s urban landscape. Given that identifying as simply ‘British’ is hard for many migrants, due to the problem of non-acceptance by the wider population, the dissertation focuses squarely on Muslim-British identity. Whilst 43% of Generation Z Muslims identify equally as Muslim as they do as British, 45% identify more with their Muslim faith than Britishness. As a South Asian Muslim woman who grew up in a western country, it means that my positionality when exploring my own identity (culture, faith, architecture, etc) provides unique insights into feelings of belonging, nationality, and the importance of Muslim presence within urban landscapes. 2   Fatima Manji, Hidden Heritage: Rediscovering Britain’s Lost Love of the Orient (Chatto & Windus, 2021), 5–6. 3   Farouq Tahar, Asma Mehan, and Krzysztof Nawratek, ‘Spatial Reflections on Muslims’ Segregation in Britain’ Religions, 349, 14, no. 3 (March 6, 2023): 2, https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030349. 4   Interview with Bushra Mohamed (artist, researcher & educator) by author. Online via Zoom, 18 June 2023. 5   Driss Habti, ‘The Religious Aspects of Diasporic Experience of Muslims in Europe within the Crisis of Multiculturalism,’ Policy Futures in Education 12, no. 1 (2014): 159, https://doi.org/10.2304/pfie.2014.12.1.149.


Architectural History MA 2022-2023

The second chapter examines the Ramadan Pavilion as a hybrid postcolonial structure amid the historiography of pavilion designs. The Pavilion is understood as an intersectional structure, exemplified for its aesthetic, representational and functional qualities in addressing issues of faith, heritage and belonging, and how it reflects perceptions about the presence of Muslims within British society. Historically, pavilions tended to be reserved for privileged access by the ruling elite, being highly ornamented parcels of private property. However, the Ramadan Pavilion exemplifies contradictory values of public inclusion and ‘decolonisation’, which, in Saleem’s view, means ‘recognising the histories and perspectives of those who have been traditionally marginalised … [and] ultimately giving up power and giving back, returning territory and compensating for losses inflicted on the colonised.’6 Thus, it is evident that the role of pavilions in contemporary culture has changed, and the ‘in-between’ structure of the Ramadan Pavilion vividly represents Muslim life in the diaspora, making it a deeply resonant symbol which mirrors the multifaceted tensions in individual identity. It openly asks of a former colonising nation like the UK: ‘how do we reconcile opposing forces within national, local, and personal identities?’7 This chapter goes on to note the significance of the V&A’s setting, and also equally engages on a more general aesthetic discussion about cultural heritage based on Saleem’s deconstructed architectural forms – highlighting his attempts to reclaim themes in Muslim art and architecture. Saleem drew on different Muslim cultural styles by referencing photographs, drawings and prints within the V&A’s collection in an attempt to showcase the UK’s Muslim population in a creative contemporary manner. His assemblage reconstructs cultural memories and identities in a new place, ‘by showing historic fragments as being collaged and held together in a new structural frame.’8 This juxtaposition also reflects the fragmentation of diasporic identities, which is heightened by racism and homesickness. However, there is an inextricable relationship between the act of representing oneself, and 6   ’British Mosques & Decolonising Islamic Architecture, Shahed Saleem,’ Bayt Al Fann, January 23, 2022, https:// www. baytalfann.com/post/british-mosques-decolonising-Islamic-arcitecture-shahed-saleem. 7   Gillespie, Hope Elizabeth. ’Imperialism, Identity, and Image: Looking at Colonial Objects in English Museums,’ The Coalition of Master’s Scholars on Material Culture, September 11, 2020. 8   Alice Finney, ’Shahed Saleem Creates Mosque Pavilion as a ‘Reconstruction of Migrant Histories,’’ Dezeen, March 16, 2023, https://www.dezeen.com/2023/03/16/shahed-saleem-ramadan-pavilion-mosque-va-museum/.

Deconstructing Diasporic Faith / Sara Mahmud



Architectural History MA 2022-2023

the colonial gaze through which these photographs and paintings were framed. Although his design attempts to take ownership of Muslim self-image by placing a response ‘within a significant cultural institution born in the colonial period,’9 the images he used as references are situated within a colonial project of ‘Orientalist’ documentation and were bound by where the British Empire staked its claims. It means, ironically, that the Ramadan Pavilion remains rooted in a colonialist narrative, determined by the places visited by orientalists and how they portrayed them – typically as ‘mosque ruins in the landscape as a discovered object.’10 Thus, the pavilion’s setting creates a complex dichotomy, being situated within an institution tied to its imperial heritage and with much of its collection taken from former colonies. The third chapter considers the reception of the Ramadan Pavilion, which reveals criticisms not only about the Pavilion’s design, and the role of an institution like the V&A, but also the extent to which Muslims can express their faith in Britain’s multicultural yet secular society. With the Pavilion receiving a total visitor count of 156,306 people, it also had a large online presence across social media. The author created an ‘archive’ of its total 1,203 comments as a working method - however, only 115 comments could be categorised as relating to ‘design’, ‘social issues’ and ‘the institution’. Overall, comments complimented the pavilion’s joyfulness, youthful positivity and colourfulness. However, this child-like space of play was one of the main online critiques, with the design described as ‘tacky’ and ‘cheap kitsch’. The Pavilion’s aesthetic critique was also extended to the pavilion’s function, as a chaotic space that lacked unity and harmony, indicating a fragmented Muslim identity. Yet this misses the point that a fragmented

Left Author’s illustration highlighting key themes explored by the dissertation in relation to online public perception.

9   Christopher Turner, ‘The Ramadan Pavilion by Shahed Saleem,’ in Ramadan Pavilion, 2023, 6. 10   Interview with Shahed Saleem (architect, researcher & educator) by author. London, 4 July 2023.

Deconstructing Diasporic Faith / Sara Mahmud


identity is an authentic expression of the trauma of migration and the need for reconstruction, which cannot identify with one singular element. Given the growth in interculturally mixed individuals, a new hybrid Muslim-British ‘culture’ is created which ‘ranges temporally and geographically across the Muslim world… [and delinks] diaspora communities from their specific historical trajectories…into a broader global community - another conscience and condition of migration.’11 Young Muslim-Brits now assert their belonging to the nation, embracing a British identity that incorporates Islam without the pressure to assimilate to British culture.12 In the context of Muslim displacement, integration reshapes identity construction, where being Muslim-British is a spectrum which includes (but is not limited to) individuals who associate more with being British, those who practise Islam less rigidly, or Muslims who do not consider themselves British. Saleem believes that interpretation of hybrid Muslim identity should ‘always retain an element of otherness – their distinction and their strength is that they also relate to another culture and another place.’13 The dissertation concludes by envisaging a Muslim-British identity expressed through the complexities raised by the Pavilion, and emphasises how such cultural constructions - albeit temporary - enable Muslim identity to transcend architecture and permeate to the level of the city. As a ‘reinterpretation of colonial histories and colonial archives being presented in a colourful and playful manner within the V&A,’ it represents newly mixed identities in the UK, emphasising Muslims’ rights to the city. Given that young Muslims struggle with experiences of ‘othering’, and that ‘there was little representation of Islam they could relate to in public life,’ the Pavilion’s engagement and visibility in public space significantly enhances feelings of belonging, self-determination and acceptance which overshadows any Islamophobia it received.

11   ’Research as Practice 2.2 | Lecture by Shahed Saleem | An Architect Contemplates Diasporic Longing,’ Facebook, March 17, 2022, https://m.facebook.com/KiranNadarMuseumOfArt/videos/research-as-practice-22-lecture-by- shahedsaleem-an-architect-contemplates-diasp/265558062313489/. 12   This is particularly the case in analysing to what extent an individual has ‘assimilated’ to British culture to determine who can and cannot be considered ‘British’. The more an individual has assimilated, the more likely they are to be accepted as British. 13   Pamela Buxton, ‘Mosques: East Meets West,’ RIBA Journal, 6 April 2018, https://www.ribaj.com/culture/britishmosques-shahed-saleem-context-book-review.


Architectural History MA 2022-2023

By enabling prayer in an institution rooted in colonialism, the Pavilion is a momentous assertion of Muslim legitimacy in the UK. It shows that Muslims can continue to exist in British society, and do not need to assimilate in the traditional sense or compartmentalise their identity in order to validate their belonging to the UK.

Author’s illustration of the Ramadan Pavilion


Peripheral Voices

The Proposed UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre A Study on Holocaust Memorial Architecture, the History of the UK’s Memorial Project, and a Critique of its Design and Success

Emilie Crossan 40

Architectural History MA 2022-2023

This paper aims to investigate the proposed UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre (UKHMLC), planned for Victoria Tower Gardens, adjacent to the Houses of Parliament, the history of Holocaust memorial architecture, and to critique the design and function of the UKHMLC as a successful Holocaust memorial. From its inception in 2015 with Prime Minister David Cameron’s Britain’s Promise to Remember Holocaust Commission, the UKHMLC has been a highly debated topic, and is still yet to be given planning permission for construction. This dissertation will first examine the genre of Holocaust memorial architecture and uses the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) as a comparison to the UKHMLC. Then, I analyse the history of the UKHMLC from the beginning of the project and how it has progressed. Finally, using the information I found in my research, I critique the plans for the UKHMLC on if it will perform as a successful Holocaust memorial for the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre (UKHMLC) was announced by PM Cameron in January 2014. By January 2023, the UKHMLC had not yet been built and, like many Holocaust memorials before it, has become a topic of debate because of its design and location, yet no one has questioned whether the UKHMLC will perform as a successful Holocaust memorial. In investigating the history of the UKHMLC project and its proposed design, my dissertation aims to answer the questions: What is Holocaust memorial architecture? How did the UKHMLC

The Proposed UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre / Emilie Crossan


come to fruition? Correspondingly, I ask, what is a successful Holocaust memorial, and will the UKHMLC perform as one? The first section of this dissertation includes a literature review that analyses the history of Holocaust memorial architecture and several ways in which scholars on Holocaust and memorial architecture have defined successful memorials. This serves as the theoretical outline for my critique and is followed by a brief history of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) as a comparison to the UKHMLC, as the Prime Minister’s Commission found inspiration in USHMM’s joint function and use of education and technology. USHMM was also chosen as it is a structure that has existed now for almost thirty years, and one I have visited many times. These visits have informed me of what makes a successful Holocaust memorial and serves as a prime example of an educational institution situated within a memorial space. The second section is the largest section of this paper and addresses the UKHMLC, starting with the beginning of the Prime Minister’s Commission, which led to the publishing of the Britain’s Promise to Remember report. BPR outlined the status of Britain’s Holocaust education, which is further discussed within this section. This information is followed by a description of the design as it was presented by the winning design team, followed by a brief literature review of what other scholars in memorial architecture have written about the sacredness of the UKHMLC. The section brings readers up to the present and discusses the present issues surrounding the project and its relationship with Parliament. The culmination of this paper comes last, with my critique on the UKHMLC and its future success, according to the resources presented throughout this paper. As I did not have a physical structure to study and observe how people interacted with it to determine if the UKHMLC would perform as a successful Holocaust memorial, I instead, used published scholarship on the genre of Holocaust memorials as part of my methodology, gaining insight from scholars in the field such as James E. Young, Harold Marcuse, David Tollerton, Andy Pearce, and others to inform my critique. Public materials about the project and design from the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation (UKHMF), Parliament, and the design team supplied me with the necessary details about the UKHMLC. I also interviewed Sally Sealey, a member of the BPR Commission and now Head of the Secretariat of the UKHMF and Chief of Staff to Lord


Architectural History MA 2022-2023

Eric Pickles, to gain more insight into the project, as she had been a part of the project since its inception. It was also important to me that as part of my research that I also interviewed someone with a personal connection to the Holocaust. I spoke with Stephen Kapos, a child Holocaust survivor, trained architect, and former member of the Labour Party, who proved to be a valuable insight into what makes a Holocaust memorial successful. Through my research, I found that the UKHMLC was born out of the desire for Britain to have a national memorial that solidifies Britain’s commitment to Holocaust education and memorialization. Too long had the issues regarding Holocaust remembrance and education, denial and revisionism, been swept aside in larger British culture, and labelled as a problem for the Anglo-Jewish community to fix. The Hyde Park memorial proved to be insufficient and unsuccessful, but it was also a product of its time in British society when the Holocaust was reserved to Jewish communities and academia. As Holocaust memorialization became popularised in the late-twentieth/early-twenty-first century, and as Holocaust education has improved on a national level, the need for a state-sponsored national memorial and educational centre was clear to Parliament. The UKHMLC aims to rectify this; however, the memorial part of this project is not the answer—it’s the Learning Centre. Britain does not need another memorial; it needs a functional space that serves a purpose—to educate. The Learning Centre will bring forth a new era of Holocaust education to Britain, supplying the average visitor with not only knowledge of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides and how to spread the lessons taught by survivors but also how they, as individuals, can help to create a world where prejudice and hate do not exist, and something like the Holocaust can never happen again. In short, this project will serve as a solidified unit against antisemitism, racism, and Holocaust revisionism. It is a project that seeks to amplify the voices of survivors of all genocides—Jewish or not—in an environment where hatred and denial will not be tolerated.

The Proposed UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre / Emilie Crossan



Architectural History MA 2022-2023

C at night The Proposed UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre / Emilie Crossan



Architectural History MA 2022-2023

Governing Through Architecture Governing Through Architecture contains a selection of essays about the way people experience the production and reproduction of space as examples of architectural, political, and cultural change. The definition we propose for ‘governing’ is one that is variable, subjective and tangible, and it manifests itself in various forms: as the architect who works on the refurbishment of a building, the salvation army who provides shelter, or even how the locked-room mystery writer creates imaginary spaces. Social reality influences these governances of space, and the latter is in turn represented in an architectural form that affects people’s lives. So here we are not just stopping at the act of governing, but extending to the various factors that influence that governing. From the locked-room mystery to a modernist housing estate to a social housing building to women’s hostels, this chapter offers different interpretations of the ways that space can be governed.



Lisa Belabed

Jieya Wang

Lisa grew up with her Algerian parents in the eastern banlieue of Paris, in an area which is part of the historical red belt of communist municipalities surrounding Paris. She credits her lived experience, in social housing in the periphery of Paris, for her early interest in unpacking the environment she was surrounded by. Her understanding of social determinism and of the ways in which the state governs through the built environment has led her to adopt a continuous reflexive methodology during her undergraduate and postgraduate studies in England.

Jieya Wang is a recent graduate of the MA Architectural History at The Bartlett, UCL, where she developed a profound passion for the study of architectural histories and theories, with a special focus on crosscultural contexts and cases. Born in east China, Jieya has spent more than six years in architectural learning and travelling from east China to the Western world. Her work encompasses a wide spectrum, from conducting socialarchitectural investigations into villagers’ religious lives in western China to delving into the history of women’s shelters and hostels with religious backgrounds.

‘During my undergraduate studies, I realised my interest in the political nature of architecture, and I started unpacking just how political the built environment I was surrounded by growing up really is, with state housing being built to accommodate waves of immigration and taking different architectural forms. Growing up in the banlieue as a child of immigrants makes one a postcolonial subject, and it is through this lens that I wish to engage with architectural history.’


Furthermore, Jieya has practical experience in the dissemination of architectural theories through her contributions to architectural magazines and public agencies, showcasing her dedication to knowledge-sharing. With a strong commitment to the democratization of knowledge, Jieya Wang is on a mission to make architectural theories accessible to a wider audience.

Architectural History MA 2022-2023

Guiming He

Ruolan Si

Midland Road is a place of memory for Guiming, a place he would walk by daily when commuting to Bartlett as an undergraduate. Guiming recalled his first visit to the area, admiring the animating fronts of these buildings from Euston Road at first.

From a young age, Ruolan found herself constantly on the move, following her parents as they changed residences. This perpetual shift in living environments fueled a deep curiosity within her about the spaces she occupied, leading her to ponder questions about safety and belonging. Ruolan completed her undergraduate degree at Tongji University in Shanghai, where she earned a degree in Conservation of Historic Architecture. As she was trained to be an architect, she became increasingly aware that her understanding of the construction of space was riddled with questions.

Guiming enjoys going for walks around the city, an interest he also finds close ties with reading and learning. There is a lot to look out for when one walks – the city’s physical fabric, the landscape, the people... ‘You read while you walk, it is a good practice; keep walking and you keep learning’ said Guiming. The reciprocal is also true, reading and learning about the history of London has enriched and transformed Guiming’s walks. In his previous studies, he came across topics of Gothic revival architecture in 19th-century Britain in relation to ideas of nationalism. These intellectual engagements have made Guiming think more deeply about the city and the places he walks by. ‘Study comes first, thought follows,’ he concluded.

Driven by a desire for deeper exploration, Ruolan chose to pursue an MA in Architectural History at UCL in London. This decision was motivated by her constant reflections on the various spaces—her many ‘homes’—that she had inhabited throughout her life. Ruolan’s evolving research often revisits her personal experiences, focusing on complex themes like feminism and space, spatial representation, and sociocultural influences on architecture. She aims to understand how safe spaces are constructed and contribute to the wider discourse on architecture’s intersection with societal factors. 49

Governing Through Architecture

The Collapse of 65 rue d’Aubagne in Marseille A Case of State Violence and Housing Injustice

Lisa Belabed 50

Architectural History MA 2022-2023

Marseille provides a stark example to draw links between the experience of the built environment and alienation. Gilles Ascaride and Salvatore Condro, analysing the effects on the urban conditions of the city-centre of Marseille on people’s psyche, cite Abdelmalek Sayad’s work to argue that ‘the syndrome of the double absence, neither here nor there, is hereby coupled by a double amnesia: forgotten there, invisible here, at least to the conditions of dignity and respect that they expect.’1 Having considered the historical mechanisms regulating housing attribution, it is clear that little to no agency is given to city-centre dwellers from North African undesirable social groups. As the foremost incarnation of the social issues that afflict the city-centre, these dwellers are directly pointed at as the perpetrators of these issues, and then-mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin’s contempt in an infamous speech in 2001 reflects that starkly. Gaudin stated, ‘my politics may not please left-wing nostalgic people, who allowed the city-centre to rot for years. But it pleases Marseillais. The popular Marseille is not a North African Marseille. It is not a Commorrian Marseille. The city-centre was invaded by foreigners and Marseillais left. But I refurbish, I fight slum landlords, I encourage dwellers who pay taxes to come back.’2 Gaudin invented a narrative as it could convey the idea of a city that does not exist. His political agenda, around the reconquest of the city-centre, through a series of refurbishment, was still in place when 1   Ascaride, Condro, Les isolés du centre-ville, 15. 2   Mattina, Clientélismes urbains, 263.

The Collapse of 65 rue d’Aubagne in Marseille / Lisa Belabed


the collapse rue d’Aubagne happened. The same people he cites and mythologies died in that building, among them taxpayers, non-taxpayers, ‘indigenous’ Marseillais, foreigners, all living in a building whose refurbishment and securitization was long overdue, precisely due to the contempt from the people in charge for the lives of city-centre dwellers. In many ways, the architectural appearance and location of the building they lived in defined the extent of their right in and to the city. The ‘trois-fenêtres’3 building typology, insofar as it is symptomatic of decay, represents a social issue. These dwellers are entirely dehumanised publicly, and writing for the local newspaper Le Ravi, writer Valérie Manteau notes that ‘Marseille has a long tradition of violence against its population.’4 This highlights the underlying violence of the everyday in Marseille, where people are blamed for their own unwanted living conditions, and where inequalities are managed rather than addressed. Figure 1, which is a photograph I took of the building n°75 as I was walking down rue d’Aubagne, shows some of this decayed housing which is a recurrent sight on any walk around the city-centre. More importantly, it highlights the management of decay and of housing, and the latter is left to become informal, which becomes an opportunity for slum landlords. The mechanisms behind urban decay are complex, but its social effects are tangible, and I find it important to inquire into spatial injustice in Marseille. Throughout the course of this research, I familiarised myself with the work of Abdelmalek Sayad. I believe that his work, as an Algerian immigrant focusing on the complexity of the immigrant condition is incredibly valuable in an analysis of spatial injustice and alienation. This is especially true in the case of Marseille, where ethnicization and simplifications are used to vilify immigrants and create a false narrative that will essentially define their lives. Acknowledging the variety of different histories of immigration in Marseille is incredibly important as a result. Complexifying what we know to be immigrant social groups and rectifying historically mythologised ideas which affect people’s lives and heighten the racism they face enables resistance to the hegemony that is imposed on them. 3   The trois-fenêtres, ‘three-window’ is the prevalent architectural housing typology in the city-centre of Marseille. It refers to its three floors, with usually three windows on each floor on the front façade. Its decayed state in many neighbourhoods such as Noailles has become one of the foremost representations of urban decay in the city-centre of Marseille. 4   Valérie Manteau, ‘Marseille a une longue tradition de violence contre sa population.’ Le Ravi, November 2021. https:// www.leravi.org/social/logement/habitat-indigne/valerie-manteau-ecrivaine-marseille-a-une-longue-tradition-de-violencecontre-sa-population/ (accessed August 5, 2023).


Architectural History MA 2022-2023

Abdelmalek Sayad, whose work focused precisely on complexifying the historiography around Algerian immigration, studied the three different waves of Algerian emigration to France and acknowledged specificities to each, while systematically considering the material conditions of people’s lives in Algeria before they left. In their article ‘The organic ethnologist of Algerian migration’5, sociologists Pierre Bourdieu, who worked with Sayad, and Loïc Wacquant, recognise the value of Sayad’s work for the history of migration and argue that ‘Sayad elaborated these propositions because he was more than a scholar of migration: he was the phenomenon itself.’6 Emmanuelle Saada wrote that ‘in France, Sayad’s sociology has been essential not only to the study of Algerian immigration, but to the understanding of migration as a ‘fait social total,’ a total social fact, which reveals the anthropological and political foundations of contemporary societies.’7 By acknowledging the complexity of immigration, and the migrant condition, Sayad makes it indissociable from its deeply political nature, and political management, which is important in order to study the phenomenon as it is managed in France.

5   Pierre Bourdieu, Loïc Wacquant, ‘The organic ethnologist of Algerian migration’ Ethnography 1, no. 2 (December 2000), 173-182. https://www.jstor.org/stable/24047705. 6   Bourdieu, Wacquant, ‘The organic ethnologist’ 173. 7   Emmanuelle Saada, ‘Abdelmalek Sayad and the Double Absence: Toward a Total Sociology of Immigration’ French Politics, Culture & Society 18, no. 1 (Spring 2000), 28-47. https://www.jstor.org/stable/42843093.

The Collapse of 65 rue d’Aubagne in Marseille / Lisa Belabed



Architectural History MA 2022-2023

Left Photograph of 63-65 rue d’Aubagne taken by author in June 2023. On the foreground, to the right, a commemorative board pays tribute to the 8 inhabitants who were killed in the collapse of their building on n°65.

The Collapse of 65 rue d’Aubagne in Marseille / Lisa Belabed


Governing Through Architecture

Her Penny Bed A Case Study of the Salvation Army’s Women’s Shelters in London from 1884 to the Present Day

Jieya Wang 56

Architectural History MA 2022-2023

Virginia Woolf writes in her work A Room of One’s Own: ‘A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.’1 However, during the late 19th century in London, a significant number of women from the lower classes found themselves unable to afford even a bed of their own once they were reduced to homelessness. The focus on the relationship between the domestic area and women not only restricted women within the confines of the ‘house’ but also constrained them within the institutional structure that the home represents. Women were not recognised by law for a long time because women’s existence was expected to be in a family and subordinate to their fathers or husbands. Therefore, women leaving the domestic sphere would face the risk of being marginalised and losing their coordinates in society in the late 19th century. The social reformer Mary Higgs wrote in her undercover investigations of London’s homeless women’s living situations in 1905 that ‘there did not exist a lodging-house for women only apart from the charitable institutions. Therefore, the only refuge for a destitute woman was the common lodging-house with men and women (ostensibly married).’2 Nonetheless, this absence of dedicated facilities did not imply the absence of destitute women; quite the contrary, women

1   Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own (Chichester: Wiley Blackwell, 2015), 3. 2   Mary Higgs, ‘London Investigations,’ The Workhouse, n.d. https://www.workhouses.org.uk/Higgs/LondonInvestigations. shtml#google_vignette.

Her Penny Bed / Jieya Wang


constituted the majority of the Victorian poverty population due to economic and political disadvantages.3 In London, one of the first shelters for women was opened by the Salvation Army in 1884. The Salvation Army (TSA) is a well-known Protestant Christian church and an international charitable organisation renowned for its shelters all over the world. Established in 1865 in the East End of London, TSA holds the enduring mission of bringing salvation to disadvantaged communities. It firmly believes in a doctrine of practical Christianity—soup, soap, and salvation4, which aimed at initially addressing the material needs of the desperate, then leading to spiritual transformation. The shelters constitute an essential component of TSA’s homeless service and women’s social work as the first step to drive them away from the previous toxic living environment. Therefore, in the 19th century, TSA’s shelters remained open to the poor. Historian Victor Bailey addressed that TSA was less censorious to the urban residuum then other charity organisations regarding social relief work during the Victorian period.5 Also, in journalist Ada Elizabeth Chesterton’s undercover investigation in London’s women’s shelters in 1925, she pointed out that TSA’s shelters were more appreciated because unmarried and pregnant mothers were welcomed.6 Over its 150-year history, the shelter’s space has undergone profound changes throughout each of its relocations, influenced by shifting social policies and perceptions, thereby subjecting women to varying degrees of protection and oppression. By the end of the 20th century, TSA started cooperating with the government in social relief work, becoming ‘a religious

3   Pat Thane, ‘Women and the Poor Law in Victorian and Edwardian England,’ History Workshop, no. 6 (1978): 33. 4   ‘Our History,’ The Salvation Army. Accessed August 31, 2023, https://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/about-us/our-history. 5   Victor Bailey, ‘In Darkest England and the Way Out: The Salvation Army, Social Reform and the Labour Movement, 18851910,’ International Review of Social History 29, no. 2 (1984): 145. 6   Ada E. Chesterton, In Darkest London: Investigating Destitution in the 1920s, (London: The Macmillan company, 1926), 247


Architectural History MA 2022-2023

organisation with a social service wing that was often the more prominent part’.7 With the cooperation of the government, the shelters became institutional and began to screen their residents. TSA has paid great importance to the shelter’s ability to modify women’s personalities. However, women’s shelters’ efficiency in addressing social inequality remains contentious. Historian Helen P. Hartnett critically examines the function of shelters for women, asserting that the shelters were likely to strengthen the social control of women by restricting their choices and mobility.8 She underscores that some shelters for women serve to get homeless women to fit prevailing social norms from which they have tried to escape. Historian A. R. Veness expresses concerns about the institutional shelters, which would further marginalise women by enhancing the traditional women’s bond with the home.9 Therefore, the landscape of women’s homelessness is a more complex problem than general poverty relief, which evolves into an arena of social governance where gender, power and space work together. The women’s shelters, therefore, is not a spatial idea but also a political one. As historian Tomas A. Markus suggests, the meaning in buildings is about relations. In some types, they organise, classify and control people.10 Shelter spaces, as explicitly designed to host certain classes or groups of society, are on the opposite side· of ‘general society’. Individuals who leave the shelters are often referred to as ‘re-socialised’. However, the physical environment has merely served as the background for analysing its politics and institutional frameworks in recent studies on TSA. Considering it has consistently held the belief that physical space would influence human behaviour, this dissertation reclaims the political and spatial perspectives towards the examination of TSA’s women’s social work. In an effort to build the narratives of marginalised women’s everyday lives and to render the actual living conditions of homeless 7   Sam Tomlin, ‘The Politics of Salvation in the Salvation Army dissertation’ (Master diss., St Mellitus College, 2017), 13. 8   Helen P. Hartnett, Judy L. Postmus, ‘The Function of Shelters for Women: Assistance or Social Control?’ Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment 20, no. 2 (2010): 289. 9   A. R. Veness, ‘Designer shelters as models and makers of home: New responses to homelessness in urban America,’ Urban Geography 15, no.2 (1994): 157. 10   Thomas A. Markus, Buildings & Power : Freedom and Control in the Origin of Modern Building Types, (London: Routledge, 1993,) 39

Her Penny Bed / Jieya Wang


women sheltered by TSA since the Victorian era, I choose four shelters operated by TSA from different eras in Whitechapel and conduct case studies around them. By referring to analytical tools such as spatial politics and ideological analysis, it explores the evolution of the shelter spaces and their impact on addressing homeless issues as well as the construction of the residents’ gender roles and personalities. This dissertation consists of three chapters. In the first chapter, I provide a brief introduction to the history of The Salvation Army and its Women’s Social Work to set the background of the following discussion. In the second chapter, I locate each shelter into its respective contexts and discuss how the varied relationship between TSA and the government influenced the rescue strategies and the arrangement of space. The analyses in the last chapter focus on tracing the history of particular functional spaces that were the most relevant to women’s physical and mental health by taking the lens of material culture. Therefore, the spaces for sleeping, cleaning and recreation are examined based on the details of the archival materials. Throughout this journey, I balance the strategy of both grand narrative and the focus on the scattered microscopic narrative of the living conditions in women’s shelters to reveal this hidden history of ‘the dust of the highway.’11

11   M. Higgs and E. E. Hayward, Where Shall She Live? The Homelessness of the Woman Worker (London, 1910), 109.


Architectural History MA 2022-2023

The Founder’s House, 60 Old Montague St, Whitechapel (August 2023). The building used to be a women’s hostel run by the Salvation Army but was transformed into a men’s hostel in 2018, regardless of female residents’ protests.

Her Penny Bed / Jieya Wang


Governing Through Architecture

Beyond the Alton Estate What Will Determine the Success of Post-War Council Housing Regeneration

Guiming He 62

Architectural History MA 2022-2023

In 1948, the London County Council purchased 305 acres of land in suburban Roehampton, a site empty at the time and notable for its beautiful landscape and a few surviving Georgian villas. Within a decade, a large-scale estate was built, housing 9,500 people.1 The programme was completed when the last piece, Allbrook House, was erected opposite Roehampton village in 1961. Thereafter, the Alton Estate has become widely considered as a successful combination wherein architects of different values and beliefs worked symbiotically. Since the 1990s urban regeneration in the UK has resulted in extensive demolition of postwar council housing. While some blocks are retrofitted, others are being replaced by new housing forms. Between 2013 and 2020, Wandsworth Council commissioned a Roehampton regeneration scheme that proposed changes primarily to the Alton West area. Following the council’s initial masterplan, a proposal was submitted for planning approval (No: 2019/2516). Known as Alton Green, it was developed mainly by Hawkins\Brown and partly by Barton Willmore, involving large-scale demolition of existing buildings. Yet, although the council approved this plan in 2020, the project is currently interrupted for various reasons. Many express concerns about disruption to the social and cultural value of these post-war housing estates. As of yet, however, no-one has specifically addressed the recent regeneration proposals for the LCC’s Alton Estate. Hence this dissertation, initially by asking why the 2019 1   Nikolaus Pevsner, ‘Roehampton: LCC Housing and The Picturesque Tradition,’ Architectural Review, 126 (1959): 21-35.

Beyond the Alton Estate / Guiming He


This collage highlights the Hawkins\Brown architects’ 2019 regeneration proposal, known as ‘Alton Green’, within the original Alton West location. The regeneration masterplan essentially knocks down existing long maisonettes in Danebury Neighbourhood to build the new ‘Urban Quarter.’ As a critique, this implies densification development and its rational grid framework potentially contrasts to original winding topography. The Alton Conservation Area is marked by red dash, but the making of this


Architectural History MA 2022-2023

boundary is questionable, leading to a wider view about the way the Alton estate should be conserved. (Drawing by author, 2023).

Beyond the Alton Estate / Guiming He


proposal has not yet been implemented, has studied recent controversies about the Alton Estate’s regeneration and heritage debates. Within a wider context, the dissertation also discussed what lies behind the production and reproduction of housing estates as examples of architectural, material, political and economic change. This study explores documents produced for the 2019 planning application (No: 2019/2516), alongside other sources about the Alton Estate’s regeneration published by Wandsworth Council. Furthermore, I conducted semi-structured interviews with four participants, including Catherine Croft as Director of the Twentieth Century Society, David Roberts as a writer on the Balfron Tower’s regeneration, Hawkins\Brown Architects, and Pablo Sendra of the Bartlett School of Planning, who worked with residents in the Alton Action group on a protest document titled ‘The People’s Plan’. Chapter 1 has reviewed Wandsworth Council’s regeneration plans prior to 2019. The council emphasised the site between Roehampton Village Square and Danebury Avenue as the focus. The site is occupied by mainly four-storeyed maisonettes, plus a few shopping terraces and the iconic Allbrook House. There is a clear tendency in the 2013-14 masterplan to problematise these maisonettes even if part of the LCC’s original design. The regeneration masterplan implies densification because Wandsworth Council’s solution is to replace all the terraced maisonettes with higher dwellings that offer 800-1000 new homes2, almost triple the number of existing homes. Chapter 2 has studied the controversial part of the Hawkins\Brown’s 2019 proposal, known as the ‘Urban Quarter’. That site was to become a mix of housing, commerce and community facilities, representing the idea that is to create a decent street frontage lined with shops and dwellings along Danebury Avenue culminating in Village Square. U-shaped blocks are the main character. In Hawkins\Brown’s words, their design was to be ‘busy, diverse and

2   Wandsworth Council, ‘Supplementary Planning Document’, Alton Regeneration Document Archive, (2015). Available at: https://www.altonestateregen.co.uk/assets/proposals/2015-roehampton-spd-documents/roehampton_adopted_spd_ oct_2015.pdf (Accessed 31 August 2023).


Architectural History MA 2022-2023

outward-looking.’3 However, the urbanised proposal is seen to overwhelm other buildings in the conservation area, the five listed slab blocks in particular. It also leads to the question of whether the Hawkins\Brown scheme was imposing a universal and entirely rational development, against the original but contrasting Alton imagery where rigidly aligned modern blocks set next to a Picturesque topography, as the original wishes of the LCC architects. Another criticism is the lack of upgrades to the local transport infrastructure. Yet to gain funding, the Wandsworth Council relies on the successful delivery of Alton regeneration. Chapter 3 highlights the role of green open space in the Alton Estate. Residents expressed a better understanding of landscape than building design, which made them focused on the retention of green space. An idea about ‘defensible space’ was being applied in Hawkins\ Brown’s proposal, owing to the Wandsworth Council’s opinion: ‘CCTV keeps a watchful eye in the absence of natural surveillance, but fails to provide a sense of security.’4 The original Alton Estate layout had incorporated buildings such as maisonettes as part of a wider landscape – whose whole setting was loose and informal – and so Hawkins\Brown’s design for denser redevelopment and hardcore materials would ineluctably conflict with that. For the planners and architects, they were trying to provide enough homes whilst ensuring a high-quality environment to live in, and the compromise, therefore, was to reduce the green open space surrounding the buildings. Chapter 4 addresses community involvement in the Alton regeneration. The influence of rehousing and Compulsory Purchase Order are widely concerned, and the scale and approach of public consultation are suggested as insufficient. However, Hawkins\Brown architects and Catherine Croft believe consultation is incredibly difficult to do well. Chapter 5 zooms out to a wider view by asking how political and economic change in the past decades have otherwise influenced the production and reproduction of housing estates. London’s borough councils have 3   Hawkins\Brown, ‘Design, Landscape & Access Statement [separate documents]’, Planning Case: 2019/2516 in Wandsworth Council, (2019): 26. Available at: https://planning2.wandsworth.gov.uk/planningcase/comments. aspx?case=2019%2f2516 (Accessed 31 August 2023). 4   Wandsworth Council, ‘Baseline Report,’ Alton Regeneration Document Archive, (2013): 54. Available at: https://www. altonestateregen.co.uk/assets/proposals/2014-alton-area-masterplan-documents/alton_baseline_report_20141008.pdf (Accessed 31 August 2023).

Beyond the Alton Estate / Guiming He


been in a compromising situation since the dissolution of the LCC, which explains councils’ hardship in managing their housing estates. Hence, it is in their interests to regenerate those estates. In conclusion, the Park Hill Estate in Sheffield and Robin Hood Gardens are mentioned to suggest the future of the Alton Estate. The two precedents have similar history, but their fates are different: the former being given a new life whilst the latter being demolished and replaced by New London Vernacular, a recent architecture that is seen elsewhere in London. It is also critical to consider the way housing estates should be conserved, e.g. including residents into the listing process. In Catherine Croft’s words: ‘What is social housing and how it is funded will evolve over time… it is a completely different world now, I think in terms of the architectural and the planning legislation, or the historic building legislation, what we want to make sure is that you get a new use that is compatible with the physical fabric of the building.’5

5   Catherine Croft, ‘The Alton Estate Regeneration,’ Interviewed by Author, July 21, 2023.


Architectural History MA 2022-2023

A photograph shows Harbridge Avenue from Allbrook House towards the west The four-storeyed maisonettes in Danebury Neighbourhood – the area that faces to demolition in Wandsworth Council’s Alton Regeneration scheme (Photo by author, July 2023).

Beyond the Alton Estate / Guiming He


Governing Through Architecture

A Fragile Fortress Analysing the Architectural Space in the Locked Room Mystery from 1840-1940

Ruolan Si 70

Architectural History MA 2022-2023

I determined to lock, bolt and barricade my door…I secured myself against all intrusion; looked under the bed, and into the cupboard; tried the fastening of the window; and then, satisfied that I had taken every proper precaution.1 [I] followed Lawrence along the passage and the gallery… John rattled the handle of Mrs Inglethorp’s door violently… It was obviously locked or bolted on the inside… John opened the door of his room… We went straight to the connecting door. That, too, was locked or bolted on the inside… ‘We must try and break the door in…Now then, we’ll have a try at the door…isn’t there a door into Miss Cynthia’s room?’… The framework of the door was solid… and finally, with a resounding crash, it was burst open.2 ‘Contraction of eye pupils; heavy breathing when stirred; pallor; clammy skin; congestion; hallucinations. Didn’t I tell you? She told us that mad story—’3 Using words like these above, the authors of Locked-Room Mysteries use their pens to construct numerous imaginary spaces for readers to read, investigate and experience. As Savoye argues, modern detective stories enshrine rational positivism as the ultimate truth 1   Wilkie Collins and Julia Thompson, The Complete Shorter Fiction (London: Robinson, 1995), 82. 2   Agatha Christie, The Mysterious Affair at Styles (New York: Bantam Books, 1965), 19-20. 3   John Dickson Carr, It Walks by Night (London: Harper and Brothers Ninety, 1930), 81.

A Fragile Fortress / Ruolan Si


and are born out of the new certainties established by the Enlightenment Century; whether it is Paris, London, or Los Angeles, the detective story is intrinsically linked to the urban environment, which is where the myth of truth is best expressed.4 The Locked-Room Mystery endeavours to construct a locked room, a space that seeks authenticity of the real world and attempts to provide an ultimate answer and a testing ground for the revelling of the mystery. This space emphasises a comparative authenticity as a counterpoint to the real world, and it changes and reconfigures itself as society changes. It is in this process that the space is repeatedly depicted in the form of texts, illustrations, maps and plans, a depiction that derives from a shared perception of the space as a typical place between the author and the reader; thus, the imaginary space becomes more than a projection of the reality, but rather a vivid representation of it. However, despite its popularity with readers, the Locked-Room Mystery has rarely been systematically studied as a genre, let alone the imaginary space constructed within it. This thesis aims to fill this gap by employing an architectural-historical lens to explore how the relationship between social reality, historical context, and the writing of the LockedRoom Mystery influences the construction of the imaginary space within it and how these relationships interact with each other. Therefore, I proposed three main questions: 1. In the context of the development of modernity, how does the imaginary space within the Locked-Room Mystery reflect the dynamics between public and private spaces? 2. How does creating the space in the Locked-Room Mystery reflect the relationship between imagination and reality? 3. How do the imaginary spaces within Locked-Room Mysteries represent and further influence women’s experiences in the real world?

4   Daniel Ferreras Savoye, ‘Detective Fiction and the Myth of the Urban Truth,’ Ángulo Recto: Revista de estudios sobre la ciudad como espacio plural4, no. 2 (2019): 25.


Architectural History MA 2022-2023

To address these questions, I utilise literary criticism as my primary methodology. By selecting representative texts of various periods within the genre and conducting textual analysis, I aim to explain issues related to spatial dynamics and gender. Therefore, the thesis is structured in a semi-chronological manner and revolves around the three main issues above. Firstly, this type of imaginary space has its origins in the impact of anxiety on the spiritual world brought about by modernity, and its spaces resemble the result of a fortified fortress turning fragile. People are forced to construct a relationship with the city, which in the spatial structure of the Locked-Room Mystery is reflected in the invasion of public space into private space. Crime contagiously appears in the most domestic and private spaces where there is no escape. The spaces constructed in short stories by authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Wilkie Collins, and Arthur Conan Doyle are characterised by this allegory. This fear stems from the modernityinduced crisis in the meaning of dwelling places and ultimately manifests as imaginary space. Secondly, as the socio-historical context changes, the imagination is distanced from reality and the space changes further. The troubled political and social conditions brought about by the world wars both influenced a fundamental shift in the purpose of this type of imaginative expression and created a boom for the genre. The fragile fortress shifted to a stable ruin waiting to be dug into. In contrast to the earlier anxiety that isolated private spaces would no longer remain detached, the types of this imaginary space in the interwar period endeavoured to shape an isolation that was close to reality. They are like a parallel line of reality, similar but never exposed to the danger of being touched or harmed by reality. Therefore, to provide such a sense of security, the shaping of the spatial structure also becomes a quest for efficiency and standardisation, quickly establishing a shelter for the reader through the choice of simpler, direct-functional architectural elements. Finally, introducing feminist criticism is extremely important for such a male-dominated genre, and here, because of the loss of women’s work, I have sought instead to provide a feminist theoretical entry point for this type of work. The search for the women re-genders the text.5 The 5   Lucy Sussex, ‘Women Writers and Detectives in Nineteenth-Century Crime Fiction: The Mothers of the Mystery Genre,’ in Crime Files, ed. L. Sussex (London: Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2010), 1.

A Fragile Fortress / Ruolan Si


limitations women face in the real world are honestly reflected in the spatial structure of the Locked-Room Mystery. More importantly, the female characters’ bodily experiences within such spaces are repurposed to aid in defining a legitimate woman in the city. However, as Lefebvre argues, although space is used as a means of control and power, it still partially escapes those who use it to dominate.6 The restriction added on women in the Locked-Room Mystery exists, but there is still more to explore, a future journey in the look for the woman. In conclusion, this dissertation develops the possibility of conducting an architectural history study of the little-studied genre of the Locked-Room Mystery to understand how this space is constructed and relates to the historical context. In this study, I focus on the text of the LockedRoom Mystery itself, attempting to restore a dynamic construction of imaginary spaces from literary traces and ultimately confirming that this construction is closely related to social reality. Throughout my exploration and analysis of the works within this unique genre, I have come to appreciate the richness of its expression as a representation of space. It goes beyond the metaphorical, functional, and restrictive spaces that I previously proposed. Therefore, future exploration of these spaces, whether as fortresses, ruins, or cages, is both necessary and significant.

6   Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space, trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith (Oxford: Blackwell, 1991), 26.


Architectural History MA 2022-2023

Avoid the Locked Room puzzle. Only a genius can invest it with novelty or interest to-day.7 - Howard Haycraft

7   Haycraft, Howard. Murder for Pleasure: The Life and Times of the Detective Story. Dover Publications, 2019.

A Fragile Fortress / Ruolan Si



Architectural History MA 2022-2023

Decentring Normative Users of Architecture The third panel, titled Decentering Normative Users of Architecture, addresses the overlooked and marginalised actors in architecture. The four papers featured in this panel focus respectively on people with neurological disabilities, people with diverse physical abilities, trees in architectural representations, and the presence of insects in the built environment. These papers not only draw attention to nonnormative actors in architecture but also challenge the often takenfor-granted centrality of fully ‘abled’ human actors in architectural design and history. The diversity of topics and research methods included in this panel also respond to the symposium’s theme of ‘unsorted’.



Jessie Buckle Jessie Buckle (she/her) is an architect by trade, content editor and writer at the Royal Institute of British Architects. In 2015, Jessie was diagnosed with generalised epilepsy. Following this diagnosis, the simplistic binary divisions between disabled people and others within contemporary architectural education and spatial environments became strikingly real. Obstacles constructed by the societal confines of disability and gender continuously presented themselves. This research applies an auto-ethnographic methodology and utilises an architectural lens to examine disabling environments, experienced by those living with epilepsy, in order to ignite critical and creative conversations regarding disability. Jessie recently spoke about her neurology research at the BSI Design for the Mind conference at Gatwick Airport.


Tian Wang Tian is an architect by training and has previously worked as an architectural editor. She is passionate about making architecture more inclusive for underrepresented and overlooked communities. Instead of immediately pursuing a career as an architect, after completing her BSc in architecture at the Bartlett, Tian chose a different path. She opted to take a master’s degree in architectural history following a year of work in architectural magazines. During her work experience, she observed a weak interest in architectural research and theories, especially those having more social science or humanities aspects, among readers of some of the most popular architectural media. Interestingly, many readers of these media were practitioners from the design industry. This led her to question whether architectural research and theories could be more effectively integrated into practical applications. To seek answers to these concerns, she decided to temporarily step back from architectural practice and explore different approaches to tackling social issues with architectural design.

Architectural History MA 2022-2023

Qiaodan Liu

Eliot Haworth

Qiaodan took a major leap of faith by finally putting his foot down in London. Growing up in a small town in Eastern China called Zhenjiang has a predominant influence on Qiaodan. ‘Nothing happens in this city... I think that’s the biggest thing for me.’ Nihilism and radical ideas are a seemingly contradictory set that Jordan uses to describe himself. Qiaodan owes much of his criticality to Michael Foucault, who gave him the confidence to think radically. ‘And I think I need this kind of figure or character in my life to balance the nihilism, otherwise, I will fall asleep.’

Eliot was born and raised in the London borough of Camden. He explains an almost absurd nature is truer of Camden than other boroughs. ‘[it’s] kind of funny, very intense, both quite upscale, historically wealthy also very grimy, funny, mix-use thing going on; its a very odd place to grow up.’ He describes that he was exposed to a lot of things that, growing up, a child should probably not be exposed to, but he loved it. ‘I think ultimately probably a good thing this uncontrollable nature of city that sort of throws itself at you... you realize there’s like this power and energy that’s just a beast. I’m just only slowly finding out how that’s impacted me as a human being.’

Qiaodan completed his architectural education at XJTLU in Suzhou, China. In contrast to his slow-paced homeland, this environment offered him the possibility of dreaming big and thinking small.

His BA in Zoology provides him with a unique starting point for an architectural history masters, as he navigates the union of his interests of the animal kingdom and insect world with spatial dynamics. He considers the slippery concept of how other species, particularly ants, are intertwined with the places we inhabit.


Decentring Normative Users of Architecture

Disabling Environments Absences in Architectural Conditions

Jessie Buckle 80

Architectural History MA 2022-2023

[This page is intentionally blank to represent consciousness lost during an epileptic seizure]

Disabling Environments / Jessie Buckle


I HAVE EPILEPSY I have epilepsy. An anxiety-provoking sentence starter. A tick box on every application form. A lengthy list of restrictions. I find myself apologising for. Epilepsy has cast me as a character within its story. A story which has proven a slow and tortuous journey towards acceptance. Acceptance that epilepsy will always be a part of me. There will never be a respite, divorce or a potential settlement with this delusion in which I am trapped. Perhaps, epilepsy is a ledger of credits and deficits. Many cultures believe that those with epilepsy can act as conduits between this world and the next. A unique quirk. A sixth sense. A superpower. Disabling Environments: Absences in Architectural Conditions is an auto-ethnographic exploration of the relationship between epilepsy, climate and the built environment. Confronted with an epilepsy diagnosis, at the age of 19, navigating architectural environments became disabling. Epilepsy, a word which derives from the Greek ‘to capture’ or ‘to seize’, perfectly describes how the condition temporarily takes hold of a person. Epileptic symptoms are induced by environments. Despite this, research is minimal. The thesis attempts to provide an eminently accessible insight into an often misunderstood chronic condition, document research and ignite critical conversation. To demonstrate the experience of living with epilepsy within the built environment, each of the three ‘epileptic episodes’, as opposed to chapters, were located in different case studies, each intentionally varying in scale and use. The episodes include ‘Episode 1: Revisiting Chalfont: Epilepsy, the Neurological Conundrum’, ‘Episode 2: Chasing Consciousness: Dictating Lived Experiences at RIBA’ and Episode 3: Disabling Environments: A seizure at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport’. Expanding scholarly research will enable built environment professionals to creatively design, equipped with knowledge and disability at the forefront, applying a stronger focus on neurological conditions, which are largely influenced by human experience. This research investigates how the mind acquires spatial knowledge and the implications of this for architectural design. More specifically, it examines current research and practice regarding 82

Architectural History MA 2022-2023

epilepsy and the built environment, drawing conclusions from primary experiences using various methodologies. It learns from directly engaging with people living with epilepsy and experts through conversation. During this process, it also explores impending issues such as climate change to develop a more holistic understanding of how the built environment can be designed and maintained to support and enhance the lives of those living with epilepsy. Founding President and Board Member Emeritus at the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture (ANFA) in San Diego, John Eberhard highlights that ‘architecture is about the human experience of built space, which is something that happens in the brain: therefore, in recent years it has become relevant to consider how the discipline might be informed by emerging discoveries in the field of neuroscience’. These new developments must be incorporated into the evolving theory of the human and architecture, generating new scientific and philosophical insights regarding the mind and neurological conditions, such as epilepsy. Finally, the overall aim of this thesis is to provoke additional thinking and research on architectural variables which can adversely impact human health, and encourage neuroinclusive design methods within architectural practice.

Disabling Environments / Jessie Buckle


Left MRI brain scan, printed on air-ventriculographic film, taken in Mumbai, India. Disabling Environments / Jessie Buckle


Decentring Normative Users of Architecture

Multisensory Experience A Spatial Study of Indoor Climbing and Artificial Climbing Walls

Tian Wang 86

Architectural History MA 2022-2023

Indoor climbing, including bouldering, lead climbing and top-roping, has been gaining popularity since the late 20th century. The sport first appeared as an alternative for outdoor climbing out of environmental preservation as well as health and safety concerns.1 Accordingly, indoor climbing differs from outdoor climbing primarily by the use of artificial climbing walls and indoor climbing gyms. After decades of development, indoor climbing now has its own international competitions, specialised climbing techniques and unique spatial designs. Most climbing centres in the UK use a consistent grading system while featuring unique walls and routes. An artificial climbing wall normally consists of a blank base wall, volumes/blocks and climbing holds. The base wall comprises structural frames and panels cladded onto the frames. The base wall can tilt and fold at different angles and volumes are screwed onto the base wall to add more variations. Climbing holds are then added to the wall surface, forming different climbing routes. Once constructed, the base walls typically remain unchanged. In contrast, routes are regularly reconfigured by unscrewing holds and volumes and resetting them into different positions to form new routes. Most route setters are good climbers themselves, who, like other climbers, have unique abilities and climbing styles. Consequently, routes set by the same setter may exhibit a distinct style that emphasises specific movements or techniques.

1   Aram Attarian, ‘Artificial Rock Climbing Walls - Innovative Adventure Environments,’ Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance 60, iss. 7, (September 1989): 28.

Multisensory Experience / Tian Wang


This thesis argues that indoor climbing and artificial climbing walls can promote inclusive spatial experiences by encouraging sensory engagement among individuals with varying abilities in the welcoming social atmosphere of climbing gyms. The research looks into two aspects of indoor climbing. The first aspect is multisensory engagement and its significance in shaping climbers’ experiences of visiting indoor climbing centres. The second aspect is the inclusivity of the sport and its spatial context as recognised by regular climbers, which emerges from the non-visual-centric nature of climbing and the diverse climbing community. By challenging the dominance of sight and recognising the contributions of other senses, climbing as a sport is less likely to discriminate based on visual abilities. This emphasis on inclusivity highlights the welcoming and accommodating nature of the climbing community, fostering an environment that embraces individuals of diverse backgrounds, abilities, and perspectives. The thesis aims to contribute to the larger, long-existing topic of what is an inclusive space and how to make a space inclusive. It is not modernism, nor any ‘style’ of architecture because it is more than the physical space and the intended spatial activities that come into play in spatial experiences. In order to better understand the role of (dis)ability and senses in everyday spatial engagement, the thesis starts by reviewing literature and projects that explore the understanding of disability and the functioning of senses in spatial experience. The thesis then investigates climbing and climbing walls from a spatial aspect by examining the physical composition of climbing walls and the bodily movements the walls trigger, which are of variety, using climbing and paraclimbing competition videos. The analysis of the video clips shows that while climbing routes offer a general sequence for navigation, they concurrently permit a degree of flexibility in how holds are utilised. This freedom is essential for empowering climbers to fully engage their bodies and creativity in the ascent. Moreover, some physical conditions become factors that can be coped with and shape a climber’s unique climbing style, rather than diminishing a climber’s skill. Still, this does not prove the non-existence of talents that are more natural than nurtured or that of the physical and social issues that might be met by the climbers in their life. Yet the meaning of that freedom is to allow more chances for non-versatile climbers to excel.


Architectural History MA 2022-2023

Following the visual analysis of climbing videos, interviews with five recreational climbers of varying abilities are qualitatively analysed to build an in-depth understanding of climbing not only as a spatial activity but also as a lived experience in which a multitude of factors come into play. The semi-structured interviews, each lasting between 30 to 60 minutes, were conducted within or in close proximity to climbing centres that the interviewees were familiar with. The climbers are recruited either through my personal connections, with invitations extended at the climbing centres I frequent, or through introductions by mutual friends. In the end, the interviews allow a more intricate understanding of the internal activities during climbing which are essentially an interacting web of physical attributes, sensory engagement, past experiences and temporary external factors, which complement the superficial and thirdperson understanding of the climbing experience generated from the visual analysis. Moreover, these interviews serve the dual purpose of shedding light on how the spatial activity of climbing and the architectural context of artificial climbing walls are enjoyed by individuals with diverse mental and physical conditions. They provide insight into the dynamic interplay between the climbing environment and the personal efforts of climbers in creating such enjoyment. By analysing the interviews, the research found that climbing challenges climbers to creatively utilise what they have in their bodies and minds, and practises inclusion as it embraces diverse solutions of the route. Yet the generalisability of such inclusion is limited by the specificity of the space as it serves an intensively multisensory activity. More specifically, climbing routes share some similarities with deliberate spatial design due to their physical, three-dimensional elements enabling unique interactions with climbers. However, climbing fundamentally differs in spatial engagement from other mundane scenarios like grocery shopping, commuting, or healthcare visits. The activities involved in practising indoor climbing routinely, including visiting the climbing centre, climbing itself, engaging with fellow climbers, and maintaining friendly social distances, are active, intentional choices driven by a desire for rewarding physical activity. This extends Belova’s argument on the ‘reversibility’ between sensing subjects and sensed objects, highlighting the two-way, continuous interaction

Multisensory Experience /Tian Wang


between climbers and the climbing space, including climbing walls and the larger environment of centres.2 In contrast, many everyday scenarios involve passive spatial engagement that does not encourage active sensing or creative uses of sensual information in decision-making. This difference between climbing and other everyday activities, though poses a limitation in transferability, brings the critique of ocularcentrism back, that the importance and potential of non-visual senses have long been overlooked. Still, the inclusion of the multisensory activity of climbing does not prove other multisensory spatial engagement inclusive, since this thesis is a case study dedicated to recreational indoor climbing. Rather, with this case study, I make an attempt to employ multisensory as a lens to rethink disability and inclusion in the context of the built environment. Through this dissertation, I wish to emphasise the pivotal role of human factors in climbing and hence other spatial experiences. In the case of climbing, collaborative route-setting, involving decision-makers who understand how the space will be used, presents a design approach bridging the gap between information users and end users. While high-degree user participation in design has yielded positive results in research projects, it remains less common in large-scale commercial architectural projects. Moreover, the supportive environment within climbing centres, as observed in this study, exemplifies the value of recognising and celebrating differences, reducing the marginalisation of individuals based on abilities. Combined with the personal efforts of climbers in overcoming challenges, this underscores the significance of human involvement in creating an inclusive space, equally important as the physical environment itself.

Right Different types of climbing holds trigger different physical interactions between climbers and the walls.

2   Olga Belova, ‘The Event of Seeing: A Phenomenological Perspective on Visual Sense-Making,’ Culture and Organization 12, no.2 (2006): 105.


Architectural History MA 2022-2023


Decentring Normative Users of Architecture

Towards a Technology of Trees in Architecture From ‘Epistemes’ to ‘Dispositifs’

Qiaodan Liu 92

Architectural History MA 2022-2023

Trees in architectural representations have long been marginalised, simplified, fragmented into various images and objectified for instrumental use, for example, in European perspectival drawings and plans, in which the tree supports, sometimes literally, a human-made machine, body or project. This dissertation questions this as a ‘natural’ condition of architectural design, and instead, suggests a more ethical ‘technical’ value for the tree in architecture, in which the tree is not just a representation of modern thought and science, but in which the tree is an integral matter of concern or constituent in a holistic design ambition. It examines how European Renaissance and early-modern representations of trees abstract this natural resource into a measured, geometric body of knowledge. In contrast, it suggests that traditions such as the Japanese Daiku tradition, or contemporary recycling manufacture of wood, re-present the tree as both a technical, but also more holistic architectural ‘figure/ matter/form’. As such, I argue that these two distinct traditions – on the one hand, the European fascination with mensuration and abstraction, versus the latter, cultural/hybridised re-presentation of the tree, can also be understood through Foucault’s genealogical or archaeology methodology. Consequently, I suggest that the European representation of trees can be understood after Foucault’s concept of disciplinary ‘epistemes’ (or knowledges), whereas, the Daiku or ‘master carpenter’ construction method, resembles Foucault’s concept of ‘dispositif’, which is also more closely associated with his later writings about an ‘ethics of technology’.

Towards a Technology of Trees in Architecture / Qiaodan Liu


As such, I suggest that Foucault’s study of disciplinary epistemic knowledge, to this ethics of technology has value for architects who are, today, interested in providing more holistic and ecological ways of working with – or re-presenting – trees in architecture, in a manner that is more ethically-responsive to the urgent issues of climate change crisis and carbon reduction. The contrast between the external, instrumental tree in the 17th-century Italian altarpiece and the internal, processual tree in the 14th-century Japanese handscroll is sharp but understandable: timber was used as a primary building material in ancient Japan, whereas in Italy it was not, which naturally led to different ways of viewing trees in architecture. Yet this thesis addresses the gap in knowledge if an architectural history of trees is solely constructed by, or ‘originated’ from, a history of building in which the tree is instrumentalised, or subsumed to stone. Largely written and drawn in a mono-technological context1 where trees are not central to the discipline’s knowledge of construction and material, the taken-for-granted images of trees in Architecture needed to be problematized and rewritten. Whether inscribed as dashed squares and confused with the colonnade in the Forma Urbis of ancient Rome,2 or depicted marvellously against Boullée’s Cenotaph for Newton,3 or rendered as flourishing settings in modernist and contemporary projects made of steel, glass and concrete, trees are intentionally included, excluded and represented to serve an ‘architectural’ purpose. We must step back, look at those tree discourses and images that are too familiar, or appear ‘natural’, and ask: what role is given to trees in a history of western architectural design drawing? How have trees served a range of purposes and formed a series of fixed images throughout this kind of history? How do these representations, subject to certain discursive conditions, enable or restrict the value and meaning of trees for our current environmental concerns? What Asian understanding of trees is missing and what can these traditions tell us, or give to the contemporary architectural historian? When the issue of trees is brought to the forefront of our 1   Yuk Hui, The Question Concerning Technology in China : An Essay in Cosmotechnics / Yuk Hui., Mono ; 003 (Falmouth, United Kingdom: Urbanomic Media Ltd, 2016). 2   ‘Theater of Pompey (Theatrum Pompeianum) with the Temple of Venus Victrix (Aedes Veneris Victricis)’, Archaeology, Stanford Digital Forma Urbis Romae Project, n.d., https://formaurbis.stanford.edu/fragment. php?record=1&field0=stanford&search0=39f&op0=and&field1=all. 3   Barbara Maria Stafford, ‘Science as Fine Art: Another Look at Boullée’s Cenotaph for Newton’, Studies in EighteenthCentury Culture 11, no. 1 (1982): 241–78, https://doi.org/10.1353/sec.1982.0014.


Architectural History MA 2022-2023

ecological crisis, is it not time to reconsider the role of trees in architectural representation, and to challenge dominant western-oriented understandings? This thesis seeks to answer these questions through investigating historical examples, which can assist in offering representational, cultural and technological understandings to the role of trees which are more reflective of our current ecological concerns. Close reading and analysis of visual representations, including artworks, architectural drawings and engineer/technical drawings concerning trees is the primary method in this thesis. Most of the drawings are from archives, illustrations or frontispieces for different editions of the same Renaissance treatise, and some of them are shown as artefacts (gao-chi), discovered on-site by preservation scholars or from the author’s previous research experiences in Fujian, southern China. Foucault’s study of disciplinary epistemic knowledge and his later shift to the ethics of technology are the theoretical clues this thesis will follow. He is relevant, not only because he deals with the relationship between representation, discourse and a relatively passive ‘power technology’, but also for his turning to a ‘technological concept of power’ and a more positive ethics of technology, which to some extent, responds to and complements the former agenda.4 In the thesis, the representation of trees, far from a passive, object reflection of an arboreal truth, will be treated as an active medium through which discourses enable the exercise of power and effects. An ‘Archaeology’ method will be adopted in search of the ‘discursive formation’ or ‘epistemes’ within which a ‘power technology’ operates and several seemingly truthful tree images are produced and limited.5 Then, based on a ‘technological conception of power’ (that produces and creates) and two case studies, an ethical technology of trees is envisioned, where ‘epistemes’ are ‘recycled’, ‘reassembled’ and ‘re-presented’ as ‘dispositifs’, a concept replaced ‘epistemes’ in late Foucault.

4   Michael C. Behrent, ‘Foucault and Technology’, History and Technology 29, no. 1 (2013): 54–104, https://doi.org/10.10 80/07341512.2013.780351. 5   David Garland, ‘What Is a ‘History of the Present’? On Foucault’s Genealogies and Their Critical Preconditions’, Punishment & Society 16, no. 4 (2014): 365–84, https://doi.org/10.1177/1462474514541711.

Towards a Technology of Trees in Architecture / Qiaodan Liu


The essay is structured into two main sections. In the first part, an archaeological analysis identifies three key epistemes of trees in architecture: the historical tree in Renaissance illustrations and frontispieces of architectural treatises; the abstract tree in architectural plans and perspectives; and the engineered tree in structural or morphological diagrams. Through close readings of textual and visual sources from Vitruvius to contemporary practices, it excavates how each episteme emerges and operates as a negative ‘political technology’ that manages trees in particular spatial and temporal configurations. In the second part, the thesis searches for a new ethical ‘technology’ of trees, drawing on Foucault’s later conception of ‘dispositifs’. It looks briefly at the Chinese master carpenter’s ‘gao-chi’ as an alternative ecological knowledge system that relates the tree heterogeneously yet relationally. Finally, it proposes the manufacturing process of oriented strand board (OSB) as a metaphor for technologically ‘recycling’, ‘shredding’, ‘juxtaposing’ and ‘reassembling’ the passive, problematic epistemes into new, cross-oriented relationships and subjectivities between humans and trees.

Right Matsuzaki Tenjin Engi Emaki, 1311, illustrated handscroll, Hofu Tenmangu, in A hundred pictures of daiku at work, 33.

Left Varotari A., Beato Giordano Forzatè traccia i confini della chiesa, 1631, oil on canvas, Padova, Italy


Architectural History MA 2022-2023

Towards a Technology of Trees in Architecture / Qiaodan Liu


Decentring Normative Users of Architecture

Things Get In A Study of Arthropod Life at the Couvent Sainte-Marie de la Tourette

Eliot Haworth 98

Architectural History MA 2022-2023

This dissertation comprises a situated study of arthropod life within Le Corbusier’s Couvent de Sainte-Marie de la Tourette outside the village of Eveaux, France (1953-1960). It aims to reframe existing notions of the building-landscape relation in the work of Le Corbusier in order to produce a non-anthropocentric reading of La Tourette that both contributes new knowledge to the field of Le Corbusian scholarship while challenging the architectural canon. It suggests a mode of research in which new, non-anthropocentric histories of the built environment might be produced. Using the framework of the interior as a physically porous but ideologically-bounded space that reinforces separation between human and nonhuman, this research focuses on arthropodal presence within the building to disturb the notion of the bounded interior. In doing so it produces a wider ethical and political sensibility – developed through the concepts of ‘ecologising’ (Latour, 1998) and ‘enchantment’ (Bennett, 2001) – that suggests buildings, and by extension human lives, are enmeshed within a wider ecology and not separable from it. The ‘seam’ (Tsing, 2020) is developed as a core methodological concept that provides a means of occupying space between the disciplines of the life sciences and the humanities to produce a mode of transdisciplinary practice that places emphasis on field work, direct observation, description and attentiveness to the relations between nonhuman organisms and the fixtures in their environment.

Things Get In / Eliot Haworth


Through the use of empirical field research, image-making and critically reflective site-writing methodology (Rendell, 2010), this dissertation produces a situated and critically engaged practice that is grounded between modes of natural history, architectural history and feminist ecocriticism. In particular, it highlights the ways in which direct observation of the nonhuman subject can be deployed within architectural history in ways that are empirical as well as directly engaged in practices of critical theory, poetics and aesthetics. For as long as there have been buildings and the concept of bounded interior space, there has been permeability and the unsolicited intrusion of nonhuman forces to contend with. Things have gotten in, always. And yet this fact remains an awkward and under acknowledged reality in our conception of the human imaginary. The study of permeability within built space offers a means through which to critique a deeply seated bias or even ideology of the separation of human and nonhuman space and nature from culture. It unsettles much of the core rhetoric of indoor space as shelter, which is by necessity set into opposition with something ‘out there.’ To quote Jonathan Hill, ‘The purpose of the home is to keep the inside inside and the outside outside.’1 The evidence of the permeability of a seemingly bounded built interior is vast. Their flows with the ‘outside outside,’ conceptualised at the level of atmosphere,2 infrastructural services3 or forms of life.4 However it is less common that the broader ethico-onto-epistemological5 1   Jonathan Hill, Immaterial Architecture, (London: Routledge, 2006), 8–9. 2   See: Daniel A. Barber, Modern Architecture and Climate: Design Before Air Conditioning (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2020); Jonathan Hill, Weather Architecture (London: Routledge, 2013). 3   See: Lydia Kallipoliti, The Architecture of Closed Worlds, Or, What Is the Power of Shit? (Baden: Lars Müller Publishers, 2018); David Bass, ‘Towering Inferno: The Metaphoric Life of Building Services,’ AA Files, no. 30 (1995): 26–34. 4   See: David Gissen, Subnature: Architecture’s Other Environments (Princeton: Princeton Architectural Press, 2009); Paul Dobraszczyk, Animal Architecture: Beasts, Buildings and Us (London: Reaktion Books, 2023); Rob Dunn, Never Home Alone: From Microbes to Millipedes, Camel Crickets, and Honeybees, the Natural History of Where We Live (New York: Basic Books, 2018). 5   A term set out by Karan Barad asserting that epistemology, ontology and ethics are inseparable, and by extension matters of fact, matters of concern, and matters of care are always entangled with one another. Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006), 94.


Architectural History MA 2022-2023

implications of this material permeability have been explored. Following on from work in the schools of thought that might be called the posthuman or new materialist – or more broadly a diverse and transdisciplinary scholarship across anthropology, geography, science and technology studies and what is increasingly termed the environmental humanities – this study seeks to take seriously the idea of permeability within architecture. Specifically, if architecture is inherently permeable, then can it be conceived of not as a human domain but as an enmeshed space? To paraphrase the anthropologist Tim Ingold, how might architecture and the built environment fit into or constitute a ‘state of perpetual unfolding or becoming,’ in which all living enmeshed things ‘simultaneously join together and differentiate themselves from one another.’6 Such thinking is of particular value when considering the existence of nonhuman life within the built environment, a site in which it has typically been treated as either a form of material property or a presence that is out of place or often explicitly unwanted. Some studies have applied this thinking to the scale of the city, such as the work of the animal geographer Jennifer Wolch and her term ‘zoöpolis’ as a means of highlighting the violence of historically anthropocentric urbanism to instead conceptualise cities as spaces that might become more welcoming for nonhuman species7 and more recently Michael Gandy’s ‘Natura Urbana’.8 Similarly the work of Theo van Dooren and the late Deborah Bird Rose on populations of little penguins and flying foxes living in Sydney that opens up the multi-species realities of urban space.9 Projects such as these are important as they dislodge the binaries that scholars such as Mel

6   Tim Ingold, Correspondences (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2020), 9. 7   Jennifer Wolch, ‘Zoöpolis,’ in Historical Animal Geographies, ed. Sharon Wilcox and Stephanie Rutherford (London: Routledge, 2018). 8   Matthew Gandy, Natura Urbana: Ecological Constellations in Urban Space (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2022). 9   Thom van Dooren and Deborah Bird Rose, ‘Storied-Places in a Multispecies City,’ Humanimalia 3, no. 2 (12 February 2012): 1–27.

Things Get In / Eliot Haworth



Architectural History MA 2022-2023

Y. Chen10 and Elke Krasny 11 have observed enforce hierarchies of violence. They refute the dichotomies between nature and culture and establish cities, and buildings as complex material artefacts that are shared by both human and nonhuman alike. Such ‘polycentric’12 conceptions of architecture and built space ask ethical questions of what it means to live together with other beings and architecture’s entanglements with the nonhuman. To date, while there have been wider theorisations of what multi-species spaces might constitute at a city level, there has been less research at the scale of the building. However the building, with its literal but fallible thresholds between interior and exterior – and by extension human and nonhuman – has the potential to be a rich site of investigation. Similarly, the use of situated, direct observation of nonhuman subjects in a fieldwork setting as demonstrated in the work of researchers such as van Dooren and Bird Rose remains under explored as a methodology within humanities research where the nonhuman is typically read as a culturalhistorical object.

Left South elevation of Le Corbusier’s Couvent de Sainte-Marie de la Tourette outside the village of Eveaux, France (1953-1960).

10   Mel Y. Chen, Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012), 2–3. 11   Elke Krasny, ‘Architecture and Care,’ in Critical Care: Architecture and Urbanism for a Broken Planet, ed. Angelika Fitz, Elke Krasny and Architekturzentrum Wien (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2019), 35. 12   Jane Bennet’s term to describe a conception of a public that might comprise ‘plants, animals, landscapes, the sounds of birds and locomotive trains, and people.’ Janell Watson, ‘Eco-Sensibilities: An Interview with Jane Bennett,’ Minnesota Review 81 (1 November 2013): 151.

Things Get In / Eliot Haworth


This study therefore seeks to explore these two gaps through a situated investigation of nonhuman life within the built interior. It aims to undermine some of the constitutive presuppositions of a discipline by disclosing ‘an outside, a limit, the revelation of the extrinsic,’13 in this case by showing that the outside has actually been inside all along. The nonhuman subjects of this study are arthropods (a phylum of invertebrate species that includes insects, arachnids, crustaceans and myriapods). Despite being a vast life group making up an estimated 84 per cent of all life on Earth,14 arthropods remain understudied and marginalised within many disciplines, not least within architecture where they often appear either as pests15 or as instruments to use as resources for technological16 or metaphorical inspiration.17 On a practical level, arthropods are suitable for study of the built interior because their small size, environmental plasticity and varied means of dispersal make them adept at moving between and colonising spaces. They are small enough to enact permeability, while being large enough to detect and observe with the naked eye. From a cultural-historical perspective, arthropods, with their capacity for transgressing space and their genetic and anatomic distance

13   Iain Borden and Jane Rendell, ‘From chamber to transformer: epistemological challenges in the methodology of theorised architectural history,’The Journal of Architecture, 5:2, (2000): 216; citing Fredric Jameson, ‘Architecture and the Critique of Ideology,’ in The Ideologies of Theory: Essays 1971–1986. Volume 2 Syntax of History (London: Routledge, 1988), 39. 14   ‘Arthropod | Definition, Examples, Characteristics, Classes, Groups, & Facts | Britannica,’ 26 Jul, 2023, accessed Aug 31, 2023https://www.britannica.com/animal/arthropod. 15   See: Ben Campkin ‘Terrors by night: bedbug infestations in London,’ in Urban Constellations ed. Matthew Gandy (Berlin: jovis Verlag, 2011), 139–144. 16   Namely biomimicry and the tendency for its technological and aesthetic innovations, however well-intentioned, to further a utilitarian perspective on nature as something to be made useful. 17   See: Juan Antonio Ramírez, The Beehive Metaphor: From Gaudí to Le Corbusier (London: Reaktion Books, 2000); or Gissen, Subnature, 168–179.


Architectural History MA 2022-2023

to human life,18 mean they are also heavily associated with discourse on spatial and social disturbance,19 difference20 and threatening the modern notion of the bounded subject.21 My site for this research is a single building: Le Corbusier’s Couvent Sainte-Marie de la Tourette, which I visited over two trips from 26/06/2023 to 30/06/2023 and 11/07/2023 to 16/07/2023. La Tourette is a Dominican monastery designed between 1953-1960 and located outside the village of Eveaux near Lyon, France. It is a UNESCO listed world heritage site and considered one of Le Corbusier’s greatest works. It is a canonical building within western modernism and it is therefore also built upon and bound up with many of the dominant narratives of western modern thought that this study seeks to trouble. Throughout my study I will frame my observations of arthropod life as a means of reading the building in a manner that emphasises multispecies entanglement and a counter reading to some of the dominant historical readings of the building that frame it largely phenomenologically and as a structure heroically apart from nature. A key framing for this study is an engagement with the distinct but interrelated concepts of ecologising and enchantment, developed by Bruno Latour and Jane Bennet respectively.22 The term ‘Ecologising’ adapts a verb form developed by Bruno Latour that in its original formulation is set into contrast with the term ‘modernise.’23 Both terms imply a distinct view on human 18   Owain Jones, ‘(Un)Ethical Geographies of Human—Nonhuman Relations: Encounters, Collectives and Spaces,’ in Animal Spaces, Beastly Places, ed. Chris Philo and Chris Wilbert (London: Routledge, 2000). 19   Jussi Parikka, Insect Media: An Archaeology of Animals and Technology (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010), 121–144. 20   Steven Shaviro, Doom Patrols: A Theoretical Fiction about Postmodernism (London: Serpent’s Tail, 1997). 21   Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (London: Athlone Press, 1988); cited in Jamie Lorimer, ‘Nonhuman Charisma,’ Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 25(5), (2007): 911–932. 22   I use the term ecologising in the knowledge, and acknowledgement, that Latour has been criticised for a lack of critique of neoliberal capitalism and an interest in techno scientific fixes, following the insistence of some researchers, such as Eduardo Kohn, that it still provides value. Similarly I acknowledge that both ecologising and enchantment describe modes of thinking that are not the sole intellectual domain of either Latour or Bennett and have been formulated through continuous work within the fields of feminist ecocriticism, new materialism, and, as has been highlighted by many including T. J. Demos citing Kim TallBear, in the particular case of Bennett’s enchantment and new vitalism, have existed independently (and often with little recognition) within forms of non-western indigenous beliefs. T. J. Demos, Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2016), 24. 23   Bruno Latour, ‘To Modernize or to Ecologize? That’s the Question,’ in Remaking Reality: Nature at the Millenium, ed.

Things Get In / Eliot Haworth


relations to the nonhuman, the latter implying a worldview stemming from a distinction between nature and culture while the former, as framed by the anthropologist Eduardo Kohn, ‘grows from a recognition that we are part of a larger living whole that exceeds us.’24 The concept of enchantment, meanwhile, stems from Bennet’s 2001 book The Enchantment of Modern Life in which she posits how modes of enchantment25 may be reestablished within a supposedly disenchanted and rationalised26 modern world in order to translate into affective relationships that encourage ‘ethical generosity’ across a plurality of ecologies.2728 At its most fundamental level, it commits to the idea of framing and persuasion and sits within a wider practice of political ecology, which for Bennett constitutes ‘the art of persuading people, at the levels of perception and sensibility as well as reason, that they are Earthlings.’ Central to this is the power of language and ‘the way you can change bodies with words.’29 Such scholarly work suggests how, in a wider global architectural context dominated by technoscientific interventions to climate and ecological crises, there might be a key role for rhetoric and non-interventionists processes of ethico-political framing. It is such principles that this study seeks to engage with as an exploration of the ethical and philosophical implications drawn out by the reality of arthropodal presence.

Bruce Braun and Noel Castree (London: Routledge, 1998), 221–42. 24   Eduardo Kohn, ‘Forest Forms and Ethical Life,’ Environmental Humanities 14, no. 2 (1 July 2022): 403. 25   Bennett’s framing of enchantment places more classical or romantic conceptions of being struck by wonder and awe alongside the ‘minor experiences’ of everyday joy in surprising encounters, being charmed by the novel and the uncanny sense of ‘being disrupted or torn out of one’s default sensory-psychic intellectual disposition.’ Jane Bennett, The Enchantment of Modern Life: Attachments, Crossings, and Ethics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001), 4–5. 26   Bennett sets her enchantment in contrast to the ‘entzauberung’ (disenchantment) set out by the German sociologist Max Weber in his description of an inevitable modern condition of bureaucratic capitalism and ‘an iron cage of rationalization.’ Bennett, Enchantment, 65. 27   Stine Krøijer and Cecile Rubow draw this thinking more explicitly into connection with the environmental crisis and ethics of care in their recent special issue of ‘Environmental Humanities’: Stine Krøijer and Cecilie Rubow, ‘Introduction: Enchanted Ecologies and Ethics of Care,’Environmental Humanities 14, no. 2 (1 July 2022): 375–84. 28   Janell Watson, ‘Eco-Sensibilities,’ 152–153. 29   Janell Watson, ‘Eco-Sensibilities,’ 152–153.


Architectural History MA 2022-2023

Views from the windows of La Tourette, interrupted by various arthropod species. Things Get In / Eliot Haworth



Architectural History MA 2022-2023

Image Credits Front cover

Designed by Vaishnavi Gondane


Designed by Vaishnavi Gondane

p. 10

Designed by Vaishnavi Gondane Cohort Illustrations by Sara Mahmud

p. 16-17

Illustrations by Sara Mahmud

p. 24

© Vaishnavi Gondane

p. 31

© George Robert Sims, Living London

p. 36

© Sara Mahmud, Shaheen Kasmani and Shahed Saleem

p. 39

© Sara Mahmud

p. 44-45

© Emilie Crossan

p. 48-49

Illustrations by Sara Mahmud

P. 54

© Lisa Belabed

p. 61

© Jieya Wang

p. 64-65

© Guiming He

p. 69

© Guiming He

p. 78-79

Illustrations by Sara Mahmud

p. 84

© Jessie Buckle

p. 91

© Tian Wang

p. 96

© Inventory of Artistic Historical Properties of the Diocese of Padova

p. 97

© Hofu Tenmangu Shrine

p. 102

© Eliot Haworth

p. 106 - 107

© Eliot Haworth


unso t


Architectural History MA 2022-2023





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