I am excited about using a feminist design lens to improve the urban experience for all under a backdrop of social and economic inequality. I believe this can generate awareness of the public’s existing building skillset and value it as critical to the built environment's urgent response to the climate emergency.
Whitney Seagull’s Mini-Holland Suburbia
Re-framing the precarious Single Mother experience:
Reclaiming sense of self from childhood memories & replacing traditionally gendered design tools with the ‘messy’ materiality of everyday objects to reveal the Single Mother Architect and claim their social and territorial rights.
Whitney Seagull’s Mini-Holland Suburbia begins with the understanding that single mothers negotiate the precarious complexities of navigating inadequate housing tenures with legal and financial processes whilst home-making for their children and undertaking low paid work. This project argues the balancing act generates a unique knowledge of architecture and the power structures that creates it.
However, they are absent from a large proportion of the city, where their schedule only allows for trips to school, work and back home. As revealed in a series of four ethnographic interviews with a group of single mothers from South-West Essex, the urban sites of positive childhood memories such as the seaside fairground and quiet but significant gardening hobbies offer a glimpse into taking up more space in the city.
Under the pseudonym Whitney Seagull, who embodies the Single Mother Architect, she appropriates Walter Segal’s responsive self-build ideology to challenge suburbia by using her experiential design knowledge to reimagine Hester’s 20th Century seaside ‘Mini-Holland’ for Canvey Island, Essex. The project is presented as a recipe book, where interventions imagine household objects recycled into building materials across different scales, from transforming private gardens into winter gardens and wetlands, to the pinnacle of female presence in Mini-Holland Suburbia, a gardening pier.