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The Invisible Occupant Architecture of Queer Identity

Darren Matlock Jett

The Invisible Occupant: Architecture of Queer Identity Self-Directed Project Proposal Fall 2012, under Jennifer Akerman Darren Matlock Jett The University of Tennessee, Knoxville College of Architecture and Design

+ Positioning


+ Framing


| Being the Invisible Occupant


| Seeing the Invisible Occupant


| Referencing


+ Crafting


| Programming


| Locating


+ Forming


+ Sources


Table of Contents

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One’s very existence depends upon one’s self-understanding; and one’s self-understanding depends on the social constructs into which one is born, on the social discourses into which one is initiated. Human nature does not exist; it is a spontaneous social creation. Human beings exist, but what they are and what they mean to each other is entirely contingent on the world they find themselves in. [2.1] -Andrew Sullivan, “Virtually Normal: An Argument About Homosexuality”

+ Positioning

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The quote by Andrew Sullivan on page two describes identity. Identity, he argues, is not something that people are born with. People assume an identity based “on the world they find themselves in”--an identity is formed from how a person thinks he should be or how society thinks he should be. Thus, identity works in a state of fluctuation and is not one-directional. A person’s identity can be diagramed as how one sees themselves, how one sees and relates to others who are “inside” their identity category, and also how those on the “outside” view those in question. One’s identity is something which must be investigated through architecture. If people understand an identity based on the culture in which they find themselves, then a certain group of people with a shared identity will feel at home in an architectural space that is catered to their identity, both as how they see themselves and also as how others see them, because they go hand-in-hand. A minority group’s identity is often based on things which are seen or understandable. These include such things as race, ethnicity, sex, etc. But what about a minority identity that is invisible? An invisible minority must occupy physical space, but how does that space relate to that invisible occupant? Who are invisible occupants who need a physical space of their own? The LGBT population of the United States. Queer Americans.

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Queer? Let’s get this straight... Queer - A term that is inclusive of people who are not heterosexual. For many people, this is an uncomfortable word as it carries negative or derogatory connotation; however, many scholars and younger people are comfortable using it. For clarity in this project, queer will be used as much as possible in place of acronyms such as LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) because the acronym can be lengthened to more groups such as LGBTQTA (L, G, B, T, questioning, transitioning, and allies), etc.

...the fear attached to the metropolitan pervert-that he could operate invisibly within the city’s normative circulations and thus spread his corruption without being detected. [5.1] Richard Hornsey, “The Spiv and the Architect” Heteronormative - an adjective denoting or relating to a world view that promotes heterosexuality as the normal or preferred sexual orientation

“There is no queer space; there are only spaces used by queers or put to queer use” -George Chauncey [5.2] In this project, I seek to challenge Chauncey’s claim that is there is no queer space by actually creating a space for queers. Chauncey meant that queers have historically taken over space created for the norm, that is, the heterosexual society, and subverted them into places for queers to gather or for queer events to take place. Chauncey wrote about this in reference to times in the history of the United States when gay men and women were seen as a perversion to society. While there are still many struggles queer people face today in a nation which is divided over social issues like gay rights, queer people have come far since the time of Chauncey’s statement in the eyes of the heteronormative United States. This means that there should be a queer space for queer (and heterosexual) people to gather together and experience the impacts that queer culture has had on American culture. A queer space must be investigated using several characteristics of the queer community that can be investigated architecturally. These are: | emotional and spatial consequences of the coming out process | subverting the subverted spaces | architectural use of the “gaze” | story of American culture told through the lens of queer identity | spatial consequence of being “invisible” to the heteronormative society


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Film still from A Single Man. George is on the right, and his partner is on the left. During his lecture, George was reminiscing about his partner. They could only be visible when around each other in private, such as here on the cliff. When they were in public, they had to be invisible for fear of constituting a threat to the heteronormative visible world.

[taken from the film, A Single Man] Let’s leave the Jews out of this just for a moment. Let’s think of another minority. One that... One that can go unnoticed if it needs to. There are all sorts of minorities, blondes for example...or people with freckles. But a minority is only thought of as one when it constitutes some kind of threat. And therein lies the fear. If the minority is somehow invisible, then the fear is much greater. That fear is why the minority is persecuted. So, you see there always is a cause. The cause is fear. Minorities are just people. People like us. [7.1] In the above quote, the character speaking, George, is a professor and lecturing to his class. When he is speaking about an invisible minority, he is speaking about himself. He is a gay man, and he is referring to the homosexual community as being a threat because the identity of the homosexual is an identity which is invisible. It is not the same as a minority identity based on race or ethncity because those are easily seen. Being homosexual can be hidden. His statement is verbal indication of this in the most ironic of ways--he is a closeted homosexual giving a public speech about the very minority which he identifies with--to a group of people who don’t understand what he’s talking about. After his lecture, he and his intentions remain invisible to everyone except the homosexual student in class and the person watching the film. The space that George inhabited was America in 1962, pre sexual revolution. To George, and to many in the queer community, he was invisible in public space--he could only be himself in private. Although that was a different time in the American political and social landscape, many queer people still cannot be themselves in public for fear of gay-bashing to other threats, perceived or physical. A space needs to be created to where the minority of the queer is no longer invisible. It needs to not be a space where only the objects or people inside are queer. Instead, the architecture must respond to queer culture, symbology, and the identity characteristics that tie queer people together. By having an architectural symbol of queer identity, queer Americans may no longer feel that they are invisible.


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Nearly invisible because it is universalized and naturalized, heterosexuality is inscribed in public as well as private spaces as the dominant theology. Like trying to convince WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) that they have an ethnicity, it is difficult to make heterosexuals aware that their spaces invoke a sexuality. Naturalizing one’s own heterosexuality means imposing one’s own inability to see him or herself as Other in one’s surroundings. Failing to notice your own difference as heterosexual is an act with significance. It leads to the heterosexing of space. [8.1] Nancy Duncan, “Sexuality in Public and Private Spaces”

+ Framing

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Its so erotic, this feeling can’t be beat. Its coursing through my whole body, feel the heat.

It takes time in the morning for me to become George, time to adjust to what is expected of George and how he is to behave. By the time I have dressed and put the final layer of polish on the now slightly stiff but quite perfect George I know fully what part I’m suppose to play.

I got that burning hot desire, And no one can put out my fire.

Looking in the mirror staring back at me isn’t so much a face as the expression of a predicament.

I know I shouldn’t act this way, I know good girls don’t misbehave, but I’m a bad girl anyway.

For the first time in my life I can’t see my future. Everyday goes by in a haze.

Get fired up like a smoking gun, on the floor til the daylight comes, Girls they just want to have some fun. 04 10 ||

| Being the Invisible Occupant The image to the left [10.1] tries to show the push and pull of queer life in America. George, the gay main character from A Single Man, is shown in a film still crying from a state of depression the day the kills himself. Behind him is a video still from Madonna’s 2012 music video, Girl Gone Wild. In it, a gay men’s dancing group, Kazaky, dances behind her while wearing high heels in a show of hedonistic fun from a gay icon. The two worlds seems so different but are in fact inseparable.

In order to understand the architecture needed to address queer Americans, we must understand what it means to be queer in America. What is the identity of queer Americans? Queer culture is unique because a queer person can exist in an invisible state, meaning that one may not know a queer person is queer like they may know than an Asian person is Asian. Situation A: Heterosexual female asked to describe herself. “I’m brunette, intelligent, and love to cook.” Situation B: Homosexual female asked to describe herself. “I’m brunette, intelligent, and love to cook.” Is the female is Situation B leaving something out? Perhaps so if she fails to mention her sexual identity. Queer culture is also unique in that its existence and identity is contingent upon the opposite, that is, the heterosexual culture or heteronormative society. As Andrew Sullivan writes in “Virtually Normal: An Argument About Homosexuality”: The very category of the “homosexual” is clearly a subset of the category of the “heterosexual” and often as the heterosexual’s prerogative. The two types are dependent on each other, but it’s the heterosexual who almost always sets the terms of the debate. It is not the heterosexual who has to explain or detail his existence; it is not the heterosexual who constitutes a “problem” for the society as a whole, or around whom politics has to be constructed. [11.1] This is same thing that Nancy Duncan states on page eight. However, she takes it one step further by adding space into the picture of the queer who is at mercy to the heterosexual. She says that because architects don’t think about sexuality, spaces automatically become heterosexualized. This can lead to a hostile environment for those who identify as queer. Attitudes toward queer Americans have dramatically changed in recent years. Nearly half of American’s support equal marriage, and President Obama became the first sitting president to voice his support for equal marriage in 2012. However, there is still an external battle that all queer Americans face. This is added to the personal battle queer people have to sort out by themselves. Framing | Being the Invisible Occupant

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Philip Johnson (1906-2005) was one of America’s most prolific architects. He also was a gay man, and lived openly with his partner until his death. Before meeting his partner, he lived the life of an invisible minority. About architecture, he once said: “All great architecture is the design of space that contains, cuddles, exalts, or stimulates the persons in that space� It is probably no coincidence that a gay architect who lived during troubling and tumultuous times in the history of gay America said such a statement. While any great architecture should do the things Johnson outlined, architecture must do it even more for those in queer community who, as noted previously, must face internal and external battles.

Framing | Being the Invisible Occupant

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Mapping the Invisible

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Images of what affects the gay community in current society overlaid on the the American flag, flight patterns, and the culture war map from the 2012 elections. From camp performances to events life death from AIDS, and from allies and activists to dissenters of equality, it seems that everyone has something to say about queer people. At the center of it all are American people who just want to be seen for themselves, not their label. They are invisible occupants within a very visible realm.

01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 |

glitter Lady Bunny, drag entertainer Elton John, entertainer Lady Gaga, entertainer Harvey Milk, first openly gay elected official in America RuPaul, drag entertainer Gay Pride, event Studio 54, famed nightclub Kazaky, film still from “Girl Gone Wild” Madonna music video Will & Grace, sitcom President Barack Obama Scissor Sisters, entertainers, “Nightwork” album art Vintage gay photo Madonna, entertainer Chaz Bono, Cher’s female to male child Oscar Wilde, poet “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male”, study by Kinsey Gay fathers “City and the Pillar”, book by Gore Vidal Freddy Mercury, lead singer from Queen Allen Ginsberg, author/poet Tom Ford, fashion designer/director “Hepburn” by Andy Warhol San Francisco skyline Philip Johnson, architect Ellen and Portia, married celebrities It Gets Better campaign Stonewall Riots, NYC 1969 Pat Robertson, evangelist Former Pope John Paul II American flag and Christian cross AIDS Matthew Shepard, murdered because he was gay , age 22 Jamey Rodermeyer, suicide because he was tormented for being gay, age 14 Former President George W. Bush US Military Anti-gay propaganda Cemetery Glenn Beck, TV host Westboro Baptist Church protester Cocaine, leading addiction in gay community

Framing | Being the Invisible Occupant

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Coming Out

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Coming out as gay is often a long and difficult process. Coming out happens after an identity is formed. The following images are watercolors which explore the emotional responses from the stages of coming out.

THE CASS MODEL In 1979, Vivienne C. Cass developed a six stage model for the process of how a queer person comes to terms with his or her sexual identity and eventually comes out of the closet. This is called the Cass Model of Gay & Lesbian Identity Formation. [17.1] This is still accepted today by medical experts and the general public as a thorough explanation of the feelings and stages a queer person feels when he or she begins, follows through, questions, and finally accepts their sexuality. Although it is presented as a 1-2-3, step-by-step program, it is understood that it does not necessarily have to form a linear pattern for everyone, although feelings from each stage will happen along the way in the general order that is listed. The architectural implications of this are many and will be explored later on. The six steps in order are: 1. Identity Confusion 2. Identity Comparison 3. Identity Tolerance 4. Identity Acceptance 5. Identity Pride 6. Identity Synthesis

The following three pages are watercolor studies which explore what each means based on first reactions to the emotions listed. They are also personal experiences as I related The Cass Model to my own experiences. Framing | Being the Invisible Occupant

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STAGE ONE: IDENTITY CONFUSION Identity Confusion begins by the individual recognizing a latent homosexuality that must be repressed. Typically, this is met with much inner resistance, resulting in extreme internal confusion. Behaviors and mannerisms may be self-identified as homosexual traits, and there are possibilities of these being removed or replaced consciously. This typically fails and causes even more confusion until it builds up into self-loathing. At this point, the individual will begin to seek out advice or information from people or sources that are unknown as to protect the facade that person has built up which hides his homosexuality.

Framing | Being the Invisible Occupant

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STAGE TWO: IDENTITY COMPARISON Identity Comparison is the next step from Confusion, and the feelings expressed in the first stage progress and become more extreme here. The most important differences is that he has now accepted the possibility of homosexuality and will become more accepting of himself but sees that others would still not be, causing more pain internally. The “comparison� is the contemplation of what life would be like if the individual were to be accepted versus what the individual currently feels, which is being loathed by society and immediate friends and family members. A feeling of being trapped occurs. The homosexuality is the thing trying to escape a place of minimal hope.

Framing | Being the Invisible Occupant

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STAGE THREE: IDENTITY TOLERANCE Identity Tolerance begins by accepting the probablity that the individual is homosexual. He begins to recognize the emotional and sexual needs of his homosexuality, and begins to seek these in his life. Still feeling a sense of being trapped, he fights what he can but sees hope for the future. His surroundings still hurt --he has not come out yet even to himself so confusion is still there. He can either go towards a path which is promising or get back into the cycle starting with Stage One until the process repeats itself several times, bringing the individual to more self-loathing.

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Framing | Being the Invisible Occupant

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STAGE FOUR: IDENTITY ACCEPTANCE Identity Acceptance is characterized by the acceptance of homosexuality. The individual has now come to terms with his own homosexuality but is not yet out to most friends or family members. He begins to have more homosexual contacts than heterosexual contacts. His role in the heterosexual community begins to decrease and begins to have an increasing hatred towards anti-gay factions of society.

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Framing | Being the Invisible Occupant

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STAGE FIVE: IDENTITY PRIDE Identity Pride is the immersion into the Gay/ Lesbian subcultures, and the individual sees the world as “gay” and “not gay”. Confrontation with the straight community which brought him down in the beginning starts to happen by means of activism. Disclosure to family members occurs at this point if they don’t yet know. The individual is happy, and he feels strong and empowered by what he has triumphed and accomplished.

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Framing | Being the Invisible Occupant

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STAGE SIX: IDENTITY SYNTHESIS Identity Synthesis begins the integration of the individual’s homosexuality into other aspects of his life. He no longer thinks of himself as a homosexual, but as a person who is homosexual. He recognizes and supports his heterosexual allies. He sees his sexuality as just a small part of who he is, and recognizes that the pain and suffering he endured will only make him better in the end.

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Framing | Being the Invisible Occupant

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| Seeing the Invisible Occupant Images of queers occupying heteronormative space. Figure 30.1 - Liberation ‘91 Gay Festival, April 13, 1991, The Gay Village, Manchester Figure 30.2 - “When did I stop believing that a crowded street is safer than an empty street? Figure 30.3 - Castro and Market Street in San Francisco during the 1970s Figure 30.4 - Billboards targetting gay men on Christopher Street near the Stonewall Inn in New York City Figure 30.5 - Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Riverside Drive, New York City. *The Stonewall Uprisings were a series of protests that occured after the Stonewall Inn Bar was raided by police and its gay patrons were arrested. Police brutality and a person’s right to privacy were issues since no one was having sex in the establishment, which was the alleged reason the police entered. After riots on Christopher Street in New York and across the country, gay activism (which had been quiet for decades) now had a loud and very public voice. There was a call for equality and respect and a clear agenda was set. Today, the Stonewall Uprisings is the basis of Gay Pride Parades across the nation. It was the catalyst for change, the pivotal moment in queer American history.

George Chauncey wrote that no queer space exists; only spaces that queers use or put to queer uses. While in this project I am to create a truly queer space, historically Chauncey is right. Queers have consistently carved out their own spaces in American cities from the heterosexual public realm. Typically, these spaces included piers, parks, and beaches. Mostly, these spaces had been unoccupied and were left where no one else wanted them. By engaging in public space, queers had a chance to engage with other invisibles. Often, the purpose of these encounters was sexualized, but sometimes they were for meeting one another for networking purposes [31.1]. At the places where queers met, they became targets of anti-gay crime, which still exists today. For sexual minorities, “open” space is not so open, and communality does not always make for community [31.2]. Because of this, symbols or a language had to be developed by queers who lived out their lives in the heteronormative spaces that I will call the “street”. Within the street, the languages changed as the expressions went into common usage, in order to avoid gay-bashing by those pretending to be queer. Thus, the street became a highly charged epicenter for queer daily life until acceptance was gained enough for queers to open up their own establishments. These establishments provided a type of privacy the street did not offer. The street, while being public, was private enough for men with homosexual tendencies to maintain their heterosexual life. The new privacy afforded by private establishments such as bars allowed for a new kind of identity to form. The Stonewall Uprisings of 1969*, however, pushed queers back out into the street in order to be activists for queer rights. In light of the Stonewall Uprisings, Gay Pride Parades occur annually in the nation’s streets and parks to commemorate the first queer activits, to remember those lost to AIDS, to act as triumph of overcoming the oppression of being queer, to celebrate unity, to provide a safe environment for those who are afraid, and to show the heteronormative world a physical and visual force to those who can be invisible. It truly is a manifestation what Philip Johnson said about architecture: that it should contain, cuddle, exalt, and stimulate the person there.

Framing | Seeing the Invisible Occupant

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Images of occupying heteronormative space. Figure 31.1 - Pier 52 in New York City. Figure 32.2 - The Ramble, Central Park. Figure 32.3 - The Ramble, Central Park. Figure 32.4 - Bryant Park, New York City. Figure 33.1 - Abandoned Toilet Taken from the archives of the Gay Beach Collection, National Museum and Archive of Lesbian Gay History, New York.

Queers have historically used places like parks, piers, and public restrooms to meet other queers. This happens much less today. Today, with growing acceptance of gay people in American society, queer people can meet many places. One trend that has not slowed down is gay gentrification. By going into neighborhoods with high vacancy rates, close to downtown centers, and with low rents, queers have established their own “gay ghettos� or gayborhoods in inner city environments. After enough queers move there and establish businesses (often these are retail, services, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs; a true day-to-night neighborhood), rents rise and heterosexuals begin their trek into the city neighborhood they once would have avoided [33.1] In design, it would be interesting to make a statement about these spaces which had been previously reused for queer purposes.

Framing | Seeing the Invisible Occupant

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| Referencing Figure 34.1 - three tiered “corona” headdress Figure 34.2 - detail of bronze filigree facade Figure 34.3 - “Front Porch” entry sequence

| NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE Washinton D.C. David Adjaye The winning design for the new National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in the nation’s capital is full of architectural strategies that speak to the history of African culture. The three main strategies are the tiered shape, the skin of the facades, and the entry sequence. FORM The three tiered “corona” shape is a distilled version of the African headdress worn in many tribal native societies. The shape is at the precise angle to the adjacent Washington Monument. FACADE The facade is a perforated bronze filigree. Bronze is use in reference to skin color, and the perforations are abstracted tribal shapes. They open up to afford moments of pause whenever a particular and significant view (Washington Monument, Smithsonian, US Capitol, etc.) are within sight. ENTRY The entry is a conceptual “front porch”, with a nod to African and Southern US African American culture as a place for community and gathering. It also offers a large overhang with a pool of water which acts as a natural cooling agent for the south facade during D.C.’s oppressive summer heat.

Framing | Referencing

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Figure 36.1 - museum form seen from above Figure 36.2 - looking up from the 66’ tall void Figure 37.1 - diagram of Star of David form

| THE JEWISH MUSEUM Berlin David Libeskind The design of the Jewish Museum in Berlin is an architectural form for the emotions that Libeskind wanted to capture: absence, emptiness, and invisibility-expressions of disappearance of the Jewish Culture. EXTERIOR FORM The form is the an abstracted Jewish Star of David which is abstracted by drawing lines from the site in Berlin to significant events in Jewish history across Europe and the Middle East, and then extruding them into the form. Inside of these points, exhibits which speak of these specific events and locations occur. INTERIOR CONDITION In the interior, Libeskind used concrete walls where moments of confusion or emptiness is embodied with dead end corridors and sloping walls and forced perspectives which cause a feeling of being uneasy. This is a spatial strategy for the feelings that European Jews felt when they were forced to leave their homes, unsure of what fate was in their future. Periodically there are massive voids punctured throughout the spaces, which are symbols of the huge losses of lives and intellect following the Holocaust.


Framing | Referencing

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[38.1] Inferno




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| Il Danteum Rome (unbuilt) Guiseppe Terragni Terragni captured the emotions and the structure of The Divine Comedy in this unbuilt work of architecture. He transferred Inferno, Purgatory, and Heaven into spaces which exhibit those feelings. While not a museum or cultural center for a minority, it is relevant to my inquiry into queer space if I use the story of coming out (the Cass Theory) in the design. Terragni told a story through the feelings associated with architecture. I can design an architecture which illicits feelings one find in the coming out process, which can be its own version of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. ENTRY Upon entrance, one is confronted by 100 massive columns which divide you from your outside reality. This is an allusion to the beginning where the man walks among the trees and becomes lost. It is also a reference to the 100 cantos of The Divine Comedy. INFERNO Inferno is characterized at first by an immediate sense of minimal light. Columns, seemingly placed at random but based on the Fibonacci Sequence, are placed at the center of floor plates which rise and fall, creating a sense of confusion and peril. PURGATORY Purgatory is built as the the halfway point between Hell and Heaven. It features similar floor patterns of Inferno, but instead of columns and falling ceilings, there are instead beams with open sky. PARADISE Paradise is composed of glass columns and glass floor, with a ceiling made up of glass beams. The feeling induced is one of transcendence and divinity. The glass floor the visitor would walk on is actually the ceiling of the entry. One then understands their orientation before the descent back into the city.

Framing | Referencing

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| DEFINITION FITNESS CENTER # 2 New York City Thanhauser and Esterson Desire and voyeurism that are already at work in every gym are played to a new potential at this fitness center. Private changing rooms create a sense of false privacy. Backlit transluscent glass create a sense of privacy when the user is inside changing as the reflected light makes the surface seem opaque. The person walking to their own private room notices this and then the question becomes whether or not that person is a performer or the performed. This is relevent because issues of voyeurism are crucial to identity. How one sees themselves is dependent upon how others view them. At what extent does it become a reality television program? At what point do things become less than true?



Framing | Referencing

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[42.2] Figure 42.1 - section of view points Figure 42.2 - peep show diagram

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For perhaps the most salient index to male homosexuality, socially speaking, consists precisely in how a man looks at other men. But how does the any viewer grasp that look except by looking at it in turn? [43.1] D. A. Miller, “Anal Rope”

If he looks into another man’s eyes for even a microsecond longer than it takes to make socially acceptable eye contact, beware. Heterosexual men do not do it. [43.2] taken from Cosmopolitan magazine, October 1989 issue

| BADLANDS HEALTH CLUB New York City (unbuilt) Matthew Bannister The design of this proposal for the Badlands Health Club takes into consideration its past as a gay peep show. It analyzes the architecture of both gay and straight video stalls in order to derive its formal use of the gaze. Gay peep shows allow a lateral view between stalls as well a direct view towards the screen. Heterosexual peep shows do not. The design was inspired by these forms of gazes; straight on and also through. When climbing the rock wall, the climber is focused on his grip and his decisions about what’s next. At certain intervals, windows which look into the diving tank occur, providing a voyeuristic opportunity for both the diver and the climber. At special intervals, windows occur which look all the way through to locker rooms. The sizes of the openings vary, allowing for many kinds of scopic interactions between users. This is an appropriate precedent because it uses the sexualized gaze in architectural form.

Framing | Referencing

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What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it’s curved like a road through mountains. [44.1] Tennessee Williams, “A Streetcar Named Desire”

+ Crafting

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| Programming The National Foundation of the Queer American A large scale and centrally located cultural building needs to be built to establish a permanent and extremely visible dialogue between queer Americans and American heteronormative society. The idea is for this to act as a catalyst for smaller, more community-based organizations and museums. The building will be both a museum and a large scale “[queer] community center” for queer Americans. It will house important relics from queer history, such as the first rock thrown in Stonewall, and will also house important and pivotal art from American queer artists, such as Andy Warhol and Herb Ritts, and those people who have helped to pave the way for queers (allies) such as works by entertainer Mae West. The gallery spaces aside, it will be a national center for queer activism and gathering. It will be a large scale community center with spaces that act as a public resource. The issue of identity will be fundamental to the programming and to its formation. How will users interact with the building if they are queer? How will they interact with the building if they are heterosexual? The intention of the Foundation is that its users will be both queer and non-queer. Straight people will use the space as much, if not more than, queer people. A bond is formed from heterosexuals using the space and understanding what it is like to be an “invisible minority” when the ideas are clearly presented in architectural and spatial form. School field trips, community gatherings, locals, and visitors from across the United States and abroad will use this space in conjuction with one another. It will bring together people who have interests in fine art, history, and minority and queer culture. Uses and users will change periodically throughout the year and also on a day-to-day basis. For instance, in the summer it can be expected that there will be many more tourists visiting the Foundation due to vacation and tourist season. These tourists will probably have a higher ratio of straight to queer. Also during the summer, Gay Pride occurs. This has the potential to become the main event space for Pride, which officially lasts for a week with other events making up the entire month of July. During the winter, the Foundation can expand on the opera and ballet season by having performances included in the program. Throughout the year, locals will use the center for its public resources and not just to learn about history or see a performance. The restaurant and bar will be open year round and has potential to become a drawing factor for the project between temporary exhibitions.

Crafting | Programming

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Components of the Foundation will include: Gallery Spaces 50,000 square feet Dedicated to art and artifacts by queer Americans and their allies. This program is the centerpiece of the Foundation and the main reason why people would visit. The galleries need to have diffused natural lighting, as to protect the art housed inside. Thus, it may be located in the interior of the structure. Part of the Gallery will be a Memorial for those who have died to AIDS or in the hands of intolerant others. Library 10,000 square feet The library will be a place for learning about the literary genius of queer America. Like the gallery, it will feature books and recordings about, by, and for queer Americans. It will feature a large study area which may have aspects of interaction with the gallery spaces. Lobby and Ticketing 1,000 square feet This is the front door of the Foundation. Access to Gallery/Library/and Lecture Hall is here. Restaurant 2,000 square feet The restaurant must have a dramatic setting and also be visible to the exterior and the public realm. Banquet Space 5,000 square feet The Banquet Hall needs to be a space adjacent to the restaurant for overflow during large events. It may either be above or below ground. Archive for rare books and materials 20,000 square feet The archival space will likely be underground to suit the lighting conditions necessary for safe storage of precious artifacts during their time away from public view in the galleries. Part of the Archive may be open to the public, but the majority of it will be for researchers and employees of the Foundation. Lecture Hall/TV studio/Theatre 200 seats Flexible space with dramatic setting and views. Able to used for visiting lectures or for theatrical performances where the backdrop of the city may or may not be used. During the day, it can broadcast shows to the American (and international) public. 48 |

Cafe/Bar 1,000 square feet This space is morning/day/evening/night. A cafe for those employees and visitors to the galleries and library. A quick lunch for those in a rush or with children. A late night icon for the queer community. Bookstore and Giftshop 3,000 square feet This area will be near the Lobby, and will sell objects and books that directly relate to the Foundation and to the subjects inside. Offices for Activism 20 @ 100 square feet each The offices will bring extra life into the Foundation, making it more of a working center than just a cultural hub. Offices for Administration 15 @ 100 square feet each These offices are for the day-to-day life of the Foundation. Other spaces will include: Restrooms for Public Restrooms for Employees Storage Kitchen Loading Circulation Greenrooms Cloak Check Janitorial Mechanical

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Examples of art and artifacts that could be housed in the Foundation

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Crafting | Programming

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| Locating The National Foundation of the Queer American will be located in Washington, D.C. along the National Mall. The site was chosen because it offers an extreme potential for clarity of statement. Since queer culture has been undermined by heteronormative society and thus became “invisible�, placing the building on the National Mall in the capital of the United States says a lot both cuturally and politically. Since the city of Washington is the capital of the United States, and because it is neither a huge city like New York or a small town where many Americans live, and because it is not usually considered a gay mecca like San Francisco or Atlanta, it offers a neutral but loaded opportunity to be recognized as a place for all Americans, regardless of whether they are queer or straight, from the city or the suburb, or from a blue state or a red state. Also because of this, it has the potential to become a model of what other places can incorporate into their city and cultural fabric. If Washington D.C. has a national center for queers, other places could follow.

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54 |




Crafting | Locating

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56 |

The specific site is bounded by Independence Avenue on the south, Jefferson Drive and the National Mall on the north, 14th Street on the east, and 15th street and the Washington Monument on the west. The site, as bounded by the streets and sidewalks, is close to 2.5 acres in size. The immediate context of the site includes the National Mall and its numerous museums, galleries, and public buildings. The two buildings adjacent to the site are the Federal Building of Agriculture and the National Holocaust Memorial and Museum. To the immediate west is the Washington Monument. Directly across the Mall from the site is the location of the under-construction National Museum of African American History and Culture (page number....) The site is relatively flat, with a slight slope from the corner of 14th and Independence to 15th and Jefferson. The city of Washington has a climate which features hot and extremely humid summers with relatively mild winters. The average high/low for the months of July and January are 88/70 and 42/27 F. The humidity is around 66 percent in the summer, and water and overhangs may be used to offset the humid and hot environment. The population for the city of Washington was 618,000 people in 2011. The Washington Metropolitan Area has a population of 5.6 million people. The population density for the city and metro area are 10,065 and 962 residents per square mile, respectively. Tourism is huge for the city, with 15 million national and 1.2 million international tourists visiting in 2009, making it the 4th most visited American city for tourists (after New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, which all have much higher populations)

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[58.1] 58 |


Crafting | Locating

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This room of fundamental spiritual importance comes to represent the germ of the architectural whole. It therefore can be interpreted as the central nave of a temple, dominating and giving light to the minor spaces. [60.1] Terragni, “Relazione�, on his intentions for the Paradise room of the Danteum

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[62.1] This series of diagrams are the beginnings of architectural solutions to the Cass Model of Coming Out. They are based on the the watercolors used in the Framing portion of this book, and are tied to the emotions one feels when going through each fluid stage. The aim was to make architecture which illicts those emotions, much as Terragni’s Danteum uses form to illicts feelings one finds in the different stages of the Divine Comedy.

62 |

| HOW TO MAKE A QUEER SPACE, BEYOND QUEER USE AND QUEER PEOPLE How can a museum devoted to Queer Americans be different than any other space devoted to a specific minority? To answert this fundamental question, we must go back to what it means to be queer. A queer person is an invisible minority, one which is found in every other minority and majority. There is no singular place of queer origin, which cannot be said of any other minority (Jews, Africans, Asians, Hispanics) besides women. So, we cannot draw from a place or a vernacular like in the design of the National Museum of African American Culture and History. And, whereas women do not have to prove they don’t have a penis in order to identity as a woman, queers are invisible. Thus, queers are not able to be de facto detected or identified unless their status as a heterosexual is proven to be false. This raises an immense range of statial qualities in itself, but what else is there to bring together a group of people whose very being into existence is debated among the public? This thing that ties queers together is the process of coming out as queer, the process of saying that assumptions (or lack of assumptions) about one’s heterosexuality are in fact false, and that one is queer. This process does not always end in actually coming out to the public world, but it stirs emotions within one’s self which will begin an internal debate about whether or not to let anyone else know. For the gallery spaces, this can work wonderfully and will separate how a museum devoted to Queer Americans would be different than a museum devoted to Jewish Americans or to African Americans, for instance. In order to make this space a queer space, users will experience spatially what it is like for a person to confront his or her sexuality internally (Stage 1: Identity Confusion) and will go along that journey through the stages of darkness and light, compression and expansion, until they reach their final destination, which is the outside, heternormative world which they entered in the beginning (Stage 6: Identity Synthesis). Although we cannot draw from native customs or architecture as the National Museum of African American History and Culture does, we can use commonly understood queer symbology in the story. The process will change or add to both the heterosexual’s perspective on life for an invisible minority and will further solidify and bring more meaning to the path that queers have forged in American culture. Because no stage is necessarily linear, I am envisioning a sectional cycle. Entering at the National Mall, the visitor will be at Level 0, at Confusion. The visitor to the exhibitions will ramp down underground to Levels -1 which will represent Comparion and Tolerance. They will then be brought back up the Level +1 and +2, which will represent Acceptance and Pride before being brought back down to street level where they began at Level 0, representing Synthesis.


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INVERTED PINK TRIANGLE The inverted pink triangle is the second most popular and recognizable symbol after the rainbow flag. It is a true manifestation of the notion that queer people take what is given to them in bad situations and then turn it into a symbol of overcoming and strength (such as the word ‘queer’). The pink triangle was the symbol the Nazis used for its homosexual death and work camp prisoners. Although never sent in huge numbers such as the Jews, there were still many homosexuals among the camps. Upon liberating from the Nazis, the homosexuals were actually the only ones left to remain in prison per a clause in the German laws that forbid any homosexual contact. While everyone was set free, the men with the pink triangle (and the women with the black triangle, which meant anti-social and many scholars believe that lesbians were grouped into this category) were sent to the state prisons until the law was lifted in 1969. The pink triangle became a popular symbol for queer activists in the 1970s after the Stonewall Riots. It remains popular today. For instance, it is the logo for many queer organizations, and the city of San Francisco puts a 1 acre size flag on its highest hill for Gay Pride Month every year.


LOWER-CASE LAMBDA The lambda has been a positive symbol for queers since 1970 when the Gay Activists Alliance of New York used it with their slogan. The idea behind it was that it could be circulated throughout the country with no one really recognizing it as a gay symbol unless that person was gay. This was because it could be misunderstood for a fraternity symbol. The bond between gays and lesbians as a force against oppression further solified this reasoning. Also, the Greek letter represents ‘liberation’.

[64.2] 64 |



The architectural strategy to use the inverted pink triangle can become the centerpiece element of the Foundation. Taking the three-dimensional form of a pyramid, the pink triangle now has a physical realm. Either descending from the ceiling or cascading into the depths of the subterranean, it shall have a large and central importance in the general scheme and parti. Whatever happens above or below must also be important program. This form may take the cladding of Tennessee Pink Marble. Tennessee Pink Marble is a subtle and elegant solution to the color pink. Also, it has extreme prominence in the nation’s capitol. Many cultural and civic buildings nearby, including the East Wing Gallery, extensively use the material for its physical and visual properties. In the Foundation, however, this form would be the only treatment of the material to further demonstrate its importance.

LOWER-CASE LAMBDA The lambda has a unique property; if one separated the two pieces of the letter, the piece left standing would fall over. Without both, you cannot have either. Thus, the letter becomes a symbol for unity and strength. It symbolizes uniqueness in individuals but power in number. This is idea behind the structural form encased in a geometric form. The structural form is a physical representation of the lambda and its symbolic properties. Each plane is dependent upon the next plane for support, while each plane is unique. It is encased in a glass cube, the physical barrier from the heteronormative world outside. Its glass nature however, allows the lambda form to shine through at night, with light pouring from the openings created where the planes do not meet.

[65.2] Forming

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+ Sources

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Bibliography A Single Man. Dir. Tom Ford. Icon, 2009. A Streetcar Named Desire. Warner Brothers, 1951. Bachelard, Gaston, and M. Jolas. The Poetics of Space. Boston: Beacon, 1994. Print. Betsky, Aaron. Scanning: The Aberrant Architectures of Diller + Scofidio. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 2003. Print. De Botton, Alain. The Architecture of Happiness. New York: Pantheon, 2006. Print. Duncan, Nancy, ed. BodySpace: Destabilizing Geographies of Gender and Sexuality. London: Routledge, 1996. Print. Fuss, Diana. Inside/out: Lesbian Theories, Gay Theories. New York: Routledge, 1991. Print. Herring, Scott. Another Country: Queer Anti-urbanism. New York: New York UP, 2010. Print. Hornsey, Richard Quentin Donald. The Spiv and the Architect: Unruly Life in Postwar London. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2010. Print. Ingram, Gordon Brent., Anne-Marie Bouthillette, and Yolanda Retter. Queers in Space: Communities, Public Places, Sites of Resistance. Seattle, WA: Bay, 1997. Print. Madonna. Girl Gone Wild. MDNA. Interscope, 2012. CD. Sanders, Joel. Stud: Architectures of Masculinity. New York: Princeton Architectural, 1996. Print. Schumacher, Thomas L., and Giorgio Ciucci. Terragni’s Danteum: Architecture, Poetics, and Politics under Italian Fascism. New York: Princeton Architectural, 2004. Print. Sullivan, Andrew. Virtually Normal: An Argument about Homosexuality. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995. Print. Transamerica. DNC Entertainment, 2006. Zumthor, Peter. Thinking Architecture. Basel: Birkhäuser, 2010. Print

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Endnotes 2.1

Sullivan, Andrew. Virtually Normal: An Argument about Homosexuality. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995. Print. p. 62-63.


Hornsey, Richard Quentin Donald. The Spiv and the Architect: Unruly Life in Postwar London. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2010. Print. p. 112


Sullivan, Andrew. p. 224.


A Single Man. Dir. Tom Ford. Icon, 2009.


Duncan, Nancy, ed. BodySpace: Destabilizing Geographies of Gender and Sexuality. London: Routledge, 1996. Print. p.141-142

11.1 Sullivan, Andrew. p. 66-67 17.1 Cass, Vivienne. “Homosexual Identity Formation: A Theoretical Model” 31.1 Sullivan, Andrew. p. 235 31.2 Ingram, Gordon Brent., Anne-Marie Bouthillette, and Yolanda Retter. Queers in Space: Communities, Public Places, Sites of Resistance. Seattle, WA: Bay, 1997. Print. p.95 33.1 Ingram, Gordern Brent. p. 109-114 43.1 Fuss, Diana. Inside/out: Lesbian Theories, Gay Theories. New York: Routledge, 1991. Print. p. 131 43.2 Sullivan, Andrew. p. 233 44.1 Williams, Tennessee. A Streetcar Named Desire. Scene 9. 60.1 Schumacher, Thomas L., and Giorgio Ciucci. Terragni’s Danteum: Architecture, Poetics, and Politics under Italian Fascism. New York: Princeton Architectural, 2004. Print. p. 56.

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Images Unless otherwise noted, the appearance of any individuals in this book do not denote a certain sexual identity. cover image dividers 06.1 10.1 12.1 14.1 16.1 18.1 20.1 22.1 24.1 26.1 28.1 30.1 30.2 30.3 30.4 30.5 32.1 32.2 32.3 32.4 33.1 34.1 34.2 34.3 36.1 36.2 37.1 38.1 38.2 38.3 40.1 40.2 40.3 42.1 42.2 46.1 50.1 52.1 70 |

Montage created by author using vintage photograph, watercolor by Author, and Jasper John’s Flag, 1954/5 Montage created by author using Jasper John’s Flag, 1954/5, and photograph of Tennessee Pink Marble by Author.

Film stills from ‘A Single Man’ Montage by Author created using film stills from ‘A Single Man’ and ‘Girl Gone Wild’ Photograph by Luca Vignelli Photographer. Montage by Author. Photographer unknown. Image by Author. Watercolor and Ink on Paper. 11” x 17” Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Photographer unknown. Courtesy of News Team International, Ltd. Queers in Space, page 289. Martha Judge, Poster #4, Locamotive Project 1992. Queers in Space, page 49. Photograph by Crawford Burton. Courtesy of the Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California. Queers in Space, page 180 Photographer unknown. Queers in Space, page 382 Photographer unknown. Courtesy of Gay Beach Collection at the National Museum of Lesbian and Gay History, New York City. Stud, p. 228. Photographer unknown. Courtesy of Gay Beach Collection at the National Museum of Lesbian and Gay History, New York City. Stud, p. 267. Photographer unknown. Courtesy of Gay Beach Collection at the National Museum of Lesbian and Gay History, New York City. Stud, p. 229. Photographer unknown. Courtesy of Gay Beach Collection at the National Museum of Lesbian and Gay History, New York City. Stud, p. 261. Photographer unknown. Courtesy of Gay Beach Collection at the National Museum of Lesbian and Gay History, New York City. Stud, p. 243. Interim Office of Architecture, View of Non-Functioning Urinals, Stud, p. 163. Rendering, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Ibid. Ibid. Photographer Unknown, Jewish Museum Berlin, Photographed by Grethen Benvie, A Dark Space Inside the Jewish Museum Berline, Drawing by David Libeskind, Star Plan, Drawing and watercolor by Guiseppe Terragni. taken from “Terragni’s Danteum”, Introduction p. 12. Drawing and watercolor by Guiseppe Terragni. taken from “Terragni’s Danteum”, Introduction p. 13. Drawing and watercolor by Guiseppe Terragni. taken from “Terragni’s Danteum”, Introduction p. 14. View of Changing Rooms. Stud, p. 207 Floorplan and Axonometric of Changing “Cabanas”. Stud, p. 208. View of Changing Room Doors. Stud, p. 209. Building Cross Section. Stud, p. 214. Gay Peep Show/Straight Peep Show. Stud, p. 211. Photograph by Author. Montage by Author. Plan of the City of Washingotn, J. Good. 1793.

54.1 54.2 55.1 55.2 58.1 59.1 62.1 64.1 84.2 65.1 65.2

Google Maps Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Washingtn, District Of Columbia, US Climate Graph, Image by Author. Ibid. The Pink Triange. Proud Parents of Lesbian and Gay Children. Great letter Lambda. Image by Author Ibid.

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Thesis Prep Book  

This was the book I created after an intensive semester of self directed research. The findings presented here inform my final project in th...

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