Categories
Other

The history of architecture

The history of architecture is one of obsessions, the first of which was, of course, to construct
divisions. In an attempt to organise spaces, architecture divides them, as well as the bodies that move
through them.
Thus, one of humankind’s primordial needs – protection – is defined by opposition: it involves an
external element, an ‘other’ from which we seek to protect ourselves. The refuge is structured by this
fundamental division between interior and exterior – the in and the ex. But if the in is inclusive, it also
points to its opposite: signalling an absence, a lack of something, anticipating the separation that the ex
inexorably defines. Paradoxically, the in includes and excludes at the same time.
Architecture is, in great part, obsessed with our identity and its preservation: if architecture
embodies the founding values of a civilisation, it also expresses our fear of extinction, of the nothingness
that opposes existence. Architecture opposes the fragmentation of personal identity, the splintering of
the unity of the individual.
Therefore refuge, a place of protection, preserves this unity in the face of destructive external forces.
But what happens when these forces cannot be contained? Such a destabilisation requires us to imagine
new forms of refuge, transversal and adaptable; places where the interior and the exterior meet; where,
between the in and the ex, newly stripped of their negative polarities, the trans might slip in suggesting a state of in-betweeness.
ESSAY QUESTION:
Expand on Sara Ahmed’s (2006, pp.543-544) question, “If orientation is how we reside in space, then sexual orientation might also be a matter of residence, of how we inhabit spaces, and who or what we inhabit spaces with. After all, queer geographers have showns us how spaces are sexualized. If we foreground the concept of ‘orientation’, then we can retheorize this sexualization of space as well as the spatiality of sexual desire. What would it mean for queer studies if we were to pose the question of the orientation of sexual orientation as a phenomonelogical question … phenomology is concerned with … the role of repeated and habitual actions in shaping bodies and worlds”?
Begin the essay with an anecdotal discussion of Marcel Duchamp’s ‘Door: 11 rue larry’ (Naegele 2006, pp.6-7) through the lens of Georg Simmel’s (1994, pp.5-6) discussions of the ‘Bridge and Door’.