This essay aims to carry out, through a queer transfeminist methodology, an analysis of the built environment and architectural spaces, with reference to the work of Eileen Gray, Zaha Hadid and Avril Corroon.
In the introduction, the key terms of the paper will be defined, including transfeminism and queer studies. In summary, transfeminism refers to an intersectional feminist methodology that, in its analysis, considers, in addition to sexism, several axes of oppression, such as racism, classism, ableism, sexual orientation - and embraces the struggles of trans people (Filo Sottile 2020). Queer studies, on the other hand, refers to the study of issues involving gender identity and sexual orientation, questioning both the naturalness of the binary division of gender into male and female, as well as that of sexual orientation (Arfini 2020), demonstrating how gender identities are constructed within a set of behaviours, actions, beliefs, and stereotypes that are repeated through a system called gender performativity (Butler 1999). Queer transfeminism has, among its aims, to unhinge a binary system of power through the intersection of feminist and sexual liberation issues with struggles that relate to classism, racism, and ableism, to create an alliance between all subjectivities different from the norm, to achieve social justice.
The first chapter of this paper questions the role of the body in space, examining various urban and architectural structures. The theme of the heterosexual and ableist matrix as prerequisites for understanding our built environment (Wajcman 1991), i.e., the space that bodies relate to, is explored, illustrating the concept of performativity of gender and deviance introduced by Judith Butler (Butler 1999). The theme of the body in architectural design is addressed (Bianchetti 2020), and we finally focus on the issues of housing rights and dispossession, as well as that of social and housing justice (Butler, Athaniasiou 2019).
The second chapter examines the language of gender, analysing language and its constructive and imaginary potential. The role of gendered language in architecture is also analysed, and proposals are shown that can go beyond the limits that our language imposes.
Furthermore, how the mass media have represented bodies in space is explored, and specifically, the photographic material of Le Corbusier's works (Colomina 1992, 1994) and that of Hugh Hefner's Playboy fashion house (Preciado 2020) are analysed.
In the third, fourth and fifth chapters, the work of three female artists is explored: the work of Eileen Gray is examined, looking in particular at E.1027, the house that the designer-architect realised in France, according to a queer reading of the architectural project; Zaha Hadid's practice is read from a transfeminist perspective, and in particular through Donna Haraway's cyborg myth; the work of Avril Corroon, a contemporary Irish visual artist, is analysed, whose practice questions the housing emergency in the contemporary neoliberal market.