Mrs W C Businessman and her Schemes, or the Ambiguity of Being Complicit
This project is a parable, which uses the role of the contemporary architect to explore the theme of compromise and teaches us to be careful of what we are complicit in. It tells the story of a female architect whose ambiguity, choices, and identity struggle run parallel to the crisis within the architectural profession of today’s capitalist society. The narrative is a reminder to the architectural profession of their social heritage and position of responsibility.
A young architect, the Protagonist, learns that in order to do anything ‘worthwhile’ in her industry, she must engage with emerging global powers: whose new wealth is constructing our built environment. Exploring her familial heritage, she travels to Nigeria and China, returning as Mrs Wealthy Chinese Businessman, the better half of a powerful developer. Her Architect-Developer marriage is consummated through the conception of two projects in her hometown of Peckham, London. These two urban interventions work in tandem: one taking away and the other adding. The former a labour of love, the latter conceived out of financial ‘necessity’.
As these schemes develop, a community activist group – to which she had former ties – obstruct her work. Our Protagonist is presented with a dichotomy: the resolution of these two projects will result in a kind of death, either of her former self or of her current self, just as the realisation of her urban interventions would result in a death of Peckham as it is now.
The Protagonist’s changing identity reflects the evolving role of the architect, from a position of an authority and artist, to a Salesman–Economist. Her design influences – such as Lagosian informal urbanism – also challenge the traditional role of the architect by offering a ‘self-organising’ architecture shaped by its users. The tragedy of our heroine reflects the tragedy of contemporary architecture; in which the ambitions of the architect become mixed up with the forces of the system that, on the one hand, enables their existence and, on the other hand, engenders an architectural impotence.
School of Architecture
MA Architecture, 2015
+44 (0)7837 745008
Narrative and writing allows me to explore two main fields of interest within architecture: feminism and ecology.
- BSc Architecture, University of Bath, 2010
- Architectural assistant, DSDHA Ltd., London 2012–present; Architectural assistant, Petersen-Jones Architects Ltd., Twyning, 2010–12; Communications internship, Sustainability West Midlands, Birmingham, 2010; Architectural assistant, BDP, Bristol, 2009; Architectural assistant, Nightingales Associates, Bristol, 2008
- Prize, WLAS Award, 2015