Enclosure and Difference How to create an architecture that is under common skies and before divided horizons?
This work re-examines the premises of enclosure and veiling to open up architecture to the sociological concern of co-existance. The essay is structured by a discussion of veiling in relation to cultural difference and spatial perception. It refers to post-colonial theory, particularly the work of the Indian literary theorist Spivak and her ideas on subalternity and being voiceless in society. Woven into this dialogue is a conversation about a theory on the dressing of Ancient Greek architecture as promoted by Gottfried Semper in the 1800’s. Ultimately, the work seeks to form a critique of visibility and empowerment. The essay is concluded by the design of a building which is an attempt to use the ideas discussed to vocalise difference in present-day Dublin. The building is comprised of four functions: a women’s cooking centre, a purpose built kindergarten, a breakfast club, and a migrant women and children’s unit. The idea for a cooking centre was prompted by my research into the conditions of the direct provision system in Ireland. Whilst being accomodated in the city centre, asylum seekers are not allowed to store food on the premises or to cook for themselves. The cooking centre’s combination of systems will facilitate these women to culturally and privately express themselves by cooking food familiar to them and their children in the cooking cores. By combining environmental, structural and service systems, a ‘public realm’ is freed up within the building, providing a space to commune with others centred around the meals prepared. A screen encloses the indoor and outdoor cooking areas, creating a region of co-occupation, helping to introduce these women and the city in a new way, and acknowledging that a culture which develops in private is no less meaningful than that which develops in public.