Glasgow Mackintosh School of Architecture MSA Stage 4

Alexander Mallalieu (he/him)

Privacy and Security are the main themes that I have been developing this year through two studio projects: Urban Housing; a speculative housing project experimenting with new technologies to create a private dwelling, and Urban Building; a subterranean library that diverges from the traditional to create a meditative space to escape the hyper-connected world  above the ground.

Through both projects I have explored contemporary digital culture and “Surveillance Capitalism”, proposing meditative spaces that reconnect the occupant with the ground to counteract their increasing time in the cloud.

Urban Building
Urban Housing

Urban Building

Please find a link to a Miro board at the bottom of the page to explore this project.



Contemporary Library in the Barras

This thesis responds to digitisation of three pillars of contemporary society: Labour, Civic Space and Knowledge, with the aim of the project to provide the Barras marketplace a civic gathering space whilst promoting Glasgow’s knowledge economy through a hybridised programme of an open auditorium and a contemporary library.

The Barras Marketplace stands as the antithesis of the contemporary digital-age and can act as a catalyst for a measured response to digitisation, which promotes knowledge and not capitalist gain.

The internet, at the hands of unregulated media conglomerates, has negated the need for a library full of books whilst simultaneously, through Surveillance Capitalism’s economic models, stolen our ability to concentrate on said books by making us addicted to notifications and hyper-connection.

This project creates a subterranean space away from advertising and push-notification that we can reground ourselves and find a place for concentration and contemplation, as well as peer-to-peer knowledge exchange.

Urban Housing



The digital working population has embraced the autonomy of the mobile computer to gain agency and become self-employed, often working alone and benefiting from small communities and decentralised collectives. However, the traditional home was not designed to cater for a workplace and therefore rooms, but often sections of rooms, are forced to be retrofitted.

This 21st century home-working migration has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown that pushed 60% of the British working population to work from home. Out of those now working from home, 26% say they plan to work from home permanently or occasionally following the lifting of restrictions*, equating to over 10.6 million people across Britain. However, an inevitable wave of unemployment following removal of government job retention schemes could foreseeably add many more numbers to the home-working, self-employed population.

The focus of this thesis is privacy, both within a flexible home-working environment and in response to contemporary digital culture and data privacy in an age dominated by unregulated digital conglomerates. Included within this, social media promotes extroverted publicity and exploits waning attention spans for monetary gain.

This thesis project seeks to reclaim private space and reject extroversion. I believe there is security in privacy and in the words of Martin Heidegger “dwelling means to be at peace in a protected place”.

*Statistics from Sep 28, 2020.