Messing up the domestic: Queer bodies expanding architectures

Olivier Vallerand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Queer space discourse in architecture has often been about reclaiming sexualized spaces or spaces used by LGBT people as being part of architectural history. However, critical practitioners have sought to expand from an understanding based on an essentialist understanding of queer bodies to link instead the experience of built environments to the repression of non-normative/non-compliant bodies. This article discusses projects by J. Mayer H., Andrés Jaque/Office for Political Innovation (OFFPOLINN), and MYCKET that build on a queer understanding of architecture and design to explore relationships between bodies, the materiality of domestic spaces, and communal identities, challenging binary understandings of architectural design spaces and linking them to the configuration of citizenship. J. Mayer H.’s work on data-protection patterns and thermo-sensitive materials uses bodies as material in developing a discourse on privacy stemming in part from queer people’s experience of oppressing policies. OFFPOLINN’s projects on IKEA and on gay cruising digital environments question the role of architects by underlining the close integration of advertisement, online social networks, and urban and architectural policies in relation to the experience of citizenship and migration. Finally, MYCKET’s queer feminist performative architectures attempts to reframe the neutrality of the architectural modernist tradition to celebrate the messiness that comes with thinking of space as designed for a diversity of people. The three practices expand architectural discussions of domesticity beyond an understanding of the house as a container for family life and towards seeing it as a nexus of social and political relations that converge around the body.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-415
Number of pages19
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020


  • Architecture
  • Domesticity
  • Queer feminism
  • Queer space

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Messing up the domestic: Queer bodies expanding architectures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this