To celebrate Pride Month, we have compiled a list of articles on LGBTQ2IA+ communities and issues that have previously appeared in the Journal of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada. Scholarship on queer space addresses both the built environments of these communities as well as queer readings of architecture and space more generally. Read on for a selection of this scholarship in the journal, as well as sources for further reading.
“Toronto’s Gay Village: Built-form as Container for Social Heritage”
Establishments sharing space in Toronto’s Gay Village, with The Body Politic as an example (Map: Paniz Moayeri)
A. Plan of the 24 Duncan St. offices by Rick Bébout (Arquives, courtesy of Alan Miller, executor of Rick Bébout’s estate)
B. Plan of the 54 Wolseley St. offices by Rick Bébout (Arquives, courtesy of Alan Miller, executor of Rick Bébout’s estate)
Paniz Moayeri’s article appears in the newest issue of JSSAC and looks at the urban and social patterns that have sustained the gay village of Canada’s largest city. Examples of such strategies include the relocation of establishments within the neighbourhood to maintain viability and the sharing of space by queer organizations. While ongoing gentrification is eroding or decentralizing some of the long-standing queer institutions of Toronto’s Gay Village, this neighbourhood continues to function as a site of collective memory and a symbol of hope for LGBTQ+ refugees in the present. Moayeri argues that “the Village now deserves to be better served, strengthened, and maintained through architecture, planning, and urban design. That is how its heritage will be preserved.” Read the article.
“Domestic Boundaries – Arthur Erickson at Home”
Christina Gray’s 2018 article, which won the SSAC’s Martin Eli Weil Prize, examines Arthur Erickson’s unconventional home, a forty-year-old garage on a lot he purchased in Vancouver’s West Point Grey neighbourhood in 1957. Although intended to be temporary, the garage remained Erickson’s home for the rest of his life, as he never built a larger house on the property. Rather, he focused on the garden, whose elaborate transformation stood in tension with the house. The non-traditional domestic space was also a setting for trangressing social boundaries through his famed parties. Gray writes that “Erickson was prone to using his curious garage-home as a narrative device that emphasized his visionary rule-breaking persona.” Throughout his career, he continued to identify with the house, as when he said in 1992 that “The house is very much a part of me. It’s one of the constants of my life.” Although Erickson “often dismissed the architectural merit of his home,” it undoubtedly played a significant role in his career, and is now preserved and open to the public. Read the article.
“Queering the Grid: Transgression and Liminality in the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade”
In their 2002 article, Sarah Bonnemaison and Christine Macy investigate the original route of the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade in New York, which gained significant participation from the post-Stonewall gay community. They find that the parade “queered the grid” of New York by cutting across the major avenues along a meandering route from the West Beth artists colony to Washington Square. Its path contrasted with those of large parades such as Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which “descend the avenues, re-inscribing the major routes and monuments of the city.” In interrupting avenue traffic, the Halloween Parade was “a highly visible manifestation of gay identity in opposition to mainstream sexual and political culture.” Organizers changed the route to accommodate the parade’s increasing popularity in 1985. Bonnemaison and Macy argue that this change, while reflective of a more general acceptance of gay culture, complicated the parade as “a highly, almost too successful event that nevertheless wished to keep the memory of its marginality alive.” Read the article.
“‘Les Girls en Voyage’: Gender and Architecture in the Travels of Mary Imrie and Jean Wallbridge”
Ipek Mehmetoğlu’s article on pioneering Canadian architects Mary Imrie and Jean Wallbridge can be found in the JSSAC‘s 2019 issue on Women and Architecture. Mehmetoğlu examines Wallbridge and Imrie’s writing about their travels in the context of relationships among gender, architecture, and mobility in the the postwar period. The architects transgressed both gendered stereotypes and professional barriers through travel, as in their road trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Mehmetoğlu argues that Wallbridge and Imrie’s car, nicknamed “Hector,” along with their home and office, Six Acres, allowed the women to subvert conventions through the “masking of the domestic partnership—of the ‘personal’ through the propulsion of the ‘professional.'” Rather than constricting them, however, both the car and the house “offered Imrie and Wallbridge new domestic subjectivities, and helped them to access … larger professional architectural circles.” Read the article.
- Olivier Vallerand, Unplanned Visitors: Queering the Ethics and Aesthetics of Domestic Space (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2020).
- Joel Sanders, ed. Stud: Architectures of Masculinity, Routledge Revivals (London: Routledge, 2020).
- Andrew Gorman-Murray and Matt Cook, eds., Queering the Interior (London: Bloomsbury, 2018).
- Lucas Crawford, Transgender Architectonics: The Shape of Change in Modernist Space (Burlington: Ashgate, 2016).
- Katarina Bonnevier, Behind Straight Curtains: Towards a Queer Feminist Theory of Architecture (Stockholm: Axl Books, 2007).
- Gordon Brent Ingram, Anne-Marie Bouthillette, and Yolanda Retter, eds., Queers in Space: Communities, Public Places, Sites of Resistance (Seattle: Bay Press, 1997).
- Aaron Betsky, Queer Space: Architecture and Same-Sex Desire (New York: William Morrow & Co., 1997).
- Zachary Blair, “More than onePULSE: Design and Dissent in Orlando,” The Avery Review 43 (November 2019): 1-7.
- Catherine Jean Nash and Andrew Gorman-Murray, “Recovering the Gay Village: A Comparative Historical Geography of Urban Change and Planning in Toronto and Sydney,” Historical Geography 43 (2015): 84-105.
- Rebecka Taves Sheffield, “The Bedside Table Archives: Archive Intervention and Lesbian Intimate Domestic Culture,” Radical History Review 120 (2013): 108-120.
- Annmarie Adams, “The Power of Pink: Children’s Bedrooms and Gender Identity,” FKW//Zeitschrift fur geschlechterforschung und visuelle kultur 50 (December 2010): 58-69.
- Annmarie Adams, “Sex and the Single Building: The Weston Havens House, 1941-2001,” Buildings & Landscapes 17, no. 1 (2010): 82-97.
- Julie Podmore, “Lesbians in the Crowd: Gender, Sexuality and Visibility Along Montréal’s Boul. St-Laurent,” Gender, Place & Culture 8, no. 4 (2001): 333-355.
- Henry Urbach, “Peeking at Gay Interiors,” Design Book Review 25 (1992): 38-40.
- Andrew Gorman-Murray and Catherine Jean Nash, “Queer Suburbs: Suburban Spaces and Sexualities in the Global North,” in The Routledge Companion to the Suburbs, ed. Bernadette Hanlon and Thomas J. Vicino (London & New York: Routledge, 2018).
- Despina Stratigakos, “The Uncanny Architect: Fears of Lesbian Builders and Deviant Homes in Modern Germany,” in Negotiating Domesticity: Spatial Productions of Gender in Modern Architecture, ed. Hilde Heynen and Gülsüm Baydar (London: Routledge, 2005), 145-161.
- Katarina Bonnevier, “A Queer Analysis of Eileen Gray’s E.1027,” in Negotiating Domesticity: Spatial Productions of Gender in Modern Architecture, ed. Hilde Heynen and Gülsüm Baydar (London: Routledge, 2005), 162-180.
- Alice T. Friedman, “People Who Live in Glass Houses: Edith Farnsworth, Ludwig Mies van Der Rohe, and Philip Johnson,” in Women and the Making of the Modern House: A Social and Architectural History (New York: Abrams, 1998), 126–59.
- Henry Urbach, “Closets, Clothes, DisClosure,” in Desiring Practices: Architecture, Gender and the Interdisciplinary, ed. Katerina Rüedi, Sarah Wigglesworth, and Duncan McCorquodale (London: Black Dog, 1996), 246–63.
Thank you to Ipek Mehmetoğlu and Julia Tischer for suggesting sources for further reading.
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