Helen Brewer





An Architecture of ResistanceJAWS Volume 2 Issue 1

May 2016

"The associated guerrilla culture of D.I.Y. and its rootedness in direct action ‘accepts everyone as an architect and all modes of communication, whether based on nature or culture. The ideal is to provide an environment which can be as visually rich and varied as actual urban life’ (Jencks 2013: 73). Architectural practices need to loosen their fixation on the role of the architect and ‘re-imagine space to allow for alternative models of democracy to enter and to facilitate democratic relations’ (Hoskyns 2014: 77). Bernard Tschumi argues that:


Architecture is the adaptation of space to the existing social structures. No spatial organisation ever changes the socio-economic structure of a reactionary society. The only possible architectural action of a revolutionary nature is rhetorical. (Tschumi in Hughes 1999: 178)


But this raises the question: what of the content generated within and around the architecture? The creation of an ‘alternative social vision [which challenges] neo-liberal values’ (Hoskyns 2014: 77) symbolises more significantly an architecture existing ‘outside of traditional terms of built spaces designed for predetermined ends’ (Franks 199: 41). For example, the architecture is publically assembled, and this process generates and produces that community, altering societal power structures through the performance of political acts and gestures. Grow Heathrow encourages the encounter of these charged and changing spaces of protest, insurrection and occupation. Through this, the self gains political autonomy and participates actively in public. The ad hoc ideology and collective will of protestors and progressive practices feed into a space that is implicitly free and limitless, available to anyone who wishes to learn and create. It encourages the self-builder to change space and society into something other: a mechanism for self-liberation, the possibility of dialogue free from social constrictions, the potential for all things to be changed."