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Architectures of Alterity: Body/Media/Space


It’s been half a century since notions of otherness and alterity permeated architectural discourses. Discussed as novel and creative ways of being rather than distorted reflections of the self, such paradigms defied and challenged dual perceptions of architectural cultures and hegemonies.

The relationship of alterity to the discipline of architecture, however, is far more complex and enduring. Giving license to multiple definitions of the canonical and the proper, architecture has been criticised for its persistent fascination with cultural, aesthetical and mathematical orders. Through its practice, theory and media, however, architecture has confirmed, challenged and re-invented these orders, defining but questioning normativity.

To this, we counter that interrogation of historiographies, geographies, sociologies, and psychologies of architecture can demonstrate the discipline’s malleability and ability to give passage, shelter, or make proper what has previously been considered as ‘other’.

The Architectures of Alterity research community has been established to study alterity as a spatial practice, an urban tactic, an iconography, a state of fluidity, and a transgression of social, cultural and historical orders.

To stimulate further discussion and knowledge sharing the  Community is hosting a Symposium and will be setting up a Digital Repository to support the interdisciplinary exploration of historical and contemporary architectures of alterity and initiate discussions on how design may defy cultural orders and support more diverse and inclusive forms of dwelling from past to present.

Online repository

We aim to establish an online and free-to-access repository of relevant audio, visual and discursive references that can better support academics’, designers’, and educators’ engagement with projects of alterity in the built environment.

Information and criteria for submitting content to this repository will become available after the symposium.

Colleagues involved in the project

Past events

The Welsh School of Architecture is running a special event during Neurodiversity Celebration Week 2024 (18-24 March)  as a means of increasing staff and student awareness of neurodiversity, such as Autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, other conditions and generally, issues of 'different abilities': what these are, how they impact colleagues and peers, and how our work, social and spatial environments, created by and for neurotypical population, can and need to adapt to be inclusive for neurodiversity.

The event will take place on the 19 March 2024 in person at the WSA. The day will be split into two - two guest talks in the morning and a workshop to explore neurodiversity and architecture in the afternoon. Pre-registration using this form is mandatory for attending the workshop. 

Note that the event organizers may take photos and/or videos during the event for promotional reasons.

Location: Bute Building 0.52/54

10:00 Opening
10:10 Catherine Jones (Wales Autism Research Centre, Cardiff University)
11:10 Helen Kane (Access Included consultancy)

13:00 Workshop
15:00 Close

The event is a spin-off of GW4 Architectures of Alterity. Special thanks also to the WSA EDI Committee, to Dimitra and Mhairi for their support.

Organisers: Menatalla Kasem, Michael Corr, Lui (Radium) Tam, Tahl Kaminer
GW4 Architectures of Alterity.