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What Is Queer May Never Die
Kleanthis Kyriakou

This project deals with the dramatic loss of LGBTQ+ venues across London due to the unrivalled force of gentrification and the rise of online dating apps. Inspired by two medieval literary works: ‘Utopia’ by Thomas Moore and ‘The Book of the City of Ladies’ by Christine De Pizan, the project imagines an alternative future for a thriving queer community in the city -with a special emphasis on gay drag culture. Queer practice and architectural storytelling are employed as the primary tools for this investigation. In order to envision this utopian future, the project unpacks the queer mythologies and Gothic phantasmagoria of Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill House and translates them into architectural interventions. These new queer architectures, fluctuating from monumental props to a one-night extravaganza, are to be strategically positioned across town and constructed over time. Thus, London becomes an augmented version of Strawberry Hill, a utopian rupture, where unconventional lifestyles and various identities can flourish. Once a haven for its patron, Strawberry hill provided a bolstered playground for Horace’s shifting identity. The same privilege will be shared by all LGBTQ+ individuals within this new narrative for London- ‘A metropolis manifested as a queer island in its own orbit’. The narrative runs in parallel with the author’s own experiments with identity and space, all of which are mapped, performed and shared online.

Ultimately this project does not aim to provide solutions with conventional design and contemporary architecture but instead uses spatial imagination as a catalyst for ongoing research, advocating for a subversive queer space in London that could inspire adventurous attitudes towards city planning at large.

To see the dissertation presentation, click here.