Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Safe spaces to the stage

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posted on 2023-09-27, 01:07 authored by Pelham Dacombe-Bird

Architecture is a medium, which through design can include or exclude participation and engagement. Safe spaces for queer people provide a place of acceptance and inclusion within heteronormative societies; this research will investigate this through the typology of a nightclub, and how intimacy can be used to create atmosphere and affect. This research will be approached from a speculative, design-led research methodology addressing the problem through varying scales of how a queer lens can inform spatial qualities and arrangements. To aid in a generative and reflective discovery this research is structured to address three different scales: a 1:1 installation, mid-scale project and public-scale project, as the projects scale up they build in complexity whilst testing the research proposition. The proposition is accompanied with a framework of analysis which is tied into the results. This consists of scale, intimacy and safety. The framework analysis reveals the complex and considered relations between space and queer identity. Both site and program are vehicles to aid in the research explorations. The installation activates the occupant, highlighting the importance of human scale and intimacy. The mid-scale design responds to intimacy and safety. The public-scale design takes this further and reacts to multiple factors including; site program, intimacy, community and queer space. To conclude the investigation shows how varied scales helps to rework concepts like “intimacy” through a queer spatial investigation.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

4 Experimental research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Alternative Title

An architectural exploration of queer space through notions of intimacy and entertainment

Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


Smitheram, Jan