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Medal Winner 2022

Out of the Closet, Into the Garden

Part 1 Project 2022
Mary Holmes
University of Cambridge | UK
A space to age in place, to age together, is a privilege that many, particularly those within the queer community, do not have. Learning from the spatial practices of the queer and feminist squatters of the late twentieth century this project explores the possibility of an almshouse for queer elders. It is a deeply personal, emotional project; a chance for me to imagine my own queer utopia. To challenge our current reality through this act of imagination. It is a protest and a provocation within and against a system of architectural education that continues to exclude queer theory, queer practices, from its teaching. It challenges, demands more. Strives through and beyond architecture towards enduring queer grounds. Spaces that we can wander from and return to. A queerness on the horizon.

This manifests in the queering and retrofitting of two rows of terraced houses in the heart of a suburb in Harlow, a town whose hospital only two years ago labelled being queer a mental illness. In this context the love, mutual support and collectivity at the heart of queerness are centred to create an enduring queer space that, despite its location, would not need its users to quieten their queerness.

Mary Holmes

Lola Lozano Lara
Elena Palacios Carral
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