Glasgow Mackintosh School of Architecture MSA Stage 4

Laura Scalco (She/Her)

House of Belief
Social Heterotopia

House of Belief

Throughout the course of time, the success of the collective has greatly depended on belief in four particular factors; politics, culture, knowledge, and religion. In turn, typologies were developed to promote and represent these accordingly; town halls, museums, libraries, and churches are just some examples. The problem is that these typologies were designed for a social consensus which is increasingly difficult to achieve in the age of information overload.

The House of Belief, therefore, comes to life as an amalgamation of civic programs, providing the Barras with a civic hub that actively engages the forgotten east end of Glasgow with the wider city agenda. It provides the framework for civic activities to take place, detached from the outdated typologies they are often associated with. In turn, it also aims to demystify civic activities, allowing for chance encounters amongst individuals attending the building for very distinct purposes. It speculates on creating greater visibility of civic traditions, and the potential development of these in modern times.




Social Heterotopia

The discipline of architecture has a tendency to accept societal norms without questioning them. When designing, certain types of work (such as prostitution) often get shunned from the urban fabric of cities, which increases many communities’ social marginalization.

The French philosopher Michelle Foucault coined the term “heterotopias of deviance” to describe spaces of “otherness”, specifically relating to societal norms and moral expectations. His theories on otherness imply separation and boundaries, which the scholars use to explain his urban decisions towards heteropology.

I propose it’s time we re-think spaces, both socially and physically, to integrate communities and blur the boundaries which form these demarcated societal heterotopias. By designing moments of interaction between different lifestyle bubbles, we can decrease the harsh threshold which ultimately separates the marginal from everyday life.

Spaces that have successfully helped integrate social minorities exhibit strong elements of the community. Blurring the limits of individuality, privacy and ownership eliminates this idea of “otherness”.

The proposal aims to integrate via the exploration of non-traditional gradual thresholds at the individual, communal and city-wide scale.