Architecture LGBT+ presents ‘Designing Out’

A pop-up exhibition of LGBTQIA+ talent from beyond professional practice, encompassing academia and independent research

  • 3Sep
  • 8Oct
Article image

The ‘Designing Out’ exhibition at Roca this autumn provides a public platform for the under-represented LGBTQIA+ design sector, with projects and research by students, graduates, professionals and academics.

The 26 proposals engage with wide-ranging themes within the built environment, some of which directly relate to LGBTQIA+ themes, or are by designers who identify as being part of the LGBTQIA+ community; or both.

The projects were selected from an international open call that saw work submitted by students from 13 different countries and over 20 different universities.  The jury comprised:  Emily Rix – Architecture LGBT+ Vice Chair – Partner at Foster + Partners; Emily Crompton – Senior lecturer at Manchester School of Architecture; Gem Barton – Course Leader, MA Interiors, University of Brighton; Saoirse Walsh – Cultural Programme Manager, Roca London Gallery; Anne Cosentino – RIBA Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Manager; Will Rowe – Exhibition Curator, Architecture LGBT+ London Champion and recent Part 2 graduate.

Gem Barton said “As the proud newly appointed lead academic advisor for the UK, I believe that truly inclusive and equitable architectural education has to go further than visibility and LGBT+ focused project briefs, it needs to fully embed and embody queer theory and queer pedagogy.  Designing Out’ is a wonderful celebration of the relevant, research-led, original and socially complex work being undertaken by many talented students and graduates, and it marks the beginning of a much wider campaign I am leading to address equality, diversity and inclusion within the culture of architectural education.”

Projects range from: Andrew Riddell / Lleddir Werdna’s ‘queer utopia’ Lipstick on a Pig, where drag aesthetics are used to question the relevance of traditional domestic architectural space for unconventional families;  Kyle McCracken’s oXXXford, which envisions transforming Oxford’s most iconic buildings – from the Radcliffe Camera to the Bodleian Library – into spaces for a fetish nightclub and design research centre; The threshold between trans and transed space, Annie Sibthorp’s proposal for transgender homeless accommodation (transed), a transgender arts centre (trans) and the threshold inbetween, which asks whether gendered architecture be subverted in order to connect, celebrate, and empower transgender lives; Amber Elliott’a The Sandwich Forum – A Timber Vertical Farm, which proposes locally- grown food for the public in the heart of the City of London; to Phoebe Eustance’s Queering the Waiting Room, where the focus is on unlearning hospital routines and institutionalized behavior to better serve patients.

Emily Crompton said, We were incredibly impressed with the range and standard of work submitted.  From detailed, methodological projects, to emotionally charged visuals, the projects are a testament to the hard work and resilience of all included.  The themes and issues dealt with in the entries are sophisticated, complex and enlightening, especially given that the theoretical work on display is created by undergraduate and masters as well as PhD students, alongside projects from independent researchers. The quality and rigour of design work presented demonstrates just how talented queer folks and their allies are – and provides evidence that we need a diverse population designing our spatial environments.”

Will Rowe said, “It has been an absolute pleasure to work on this exhibition and to have the opportunity to show off the fabulous work of all those involved. It can often be difficult for those who identify as LGBTQIA+ to bring their full selves into their work, particularly within educational settings. Representation matters, and I hope Designing Out helps to inspire those studying and working in the profession to appreciate the value of queer perspectives in architecture.”

The exhibition is part of the London Open House festival, London Design Festival and falls within the Pride in London month.

The commended and winning designs for a ‘Pride Pop Up’ in Soho, originally planned to coincide with the 2021 Pride in London parade, will be shown alongside Designing Out.  The winning Pop Up scheme by a team at Foster & Partners is being constructed for installation at St Anne’s Church from 12-26 September, despite the cancellation of the parade, due to the pandemic.


Architecture LGBT+ is a not for profit grassroots organisation run by volunteers who all work within the industry. Architecture LGBT+ provides a safe, inclusive and prejudice free environment for LGBT+ architects and those working and studying within the profession through networking events, learning, mentoring and role models. Architecture LGBT+ started in 2016 with a pre-Pride breakfast hosted at the RIBA with a Q&A chaired by BBC’s Evan Davis. In 2018 Architecture LGBT+ also launched with a pride breakfast in Manchester, in 2019 in Newcastle and Brighton, and in 2021 new chapters are starting in Scotland and Bristol.


Network Sponsors:

Platinum sponsor: Foster + Partners

Gold sponsors: PLP Architecture, HOK, BDP, Grimshaw

Silver sponsors: Jamie Fobert Architects, Stanton Williams, Make, AHMM, Pollard Thomas Edwards, Hawkins\Brown, JTP, Ryder, Dexter Moren Associates

Bronze sponsors: Feix & Merlin, Project Orange, New Practice


Twitter: @ArchitectLGBT

Instagram: @architecturelgbt



Yiran Chu – ‘Travelling Queer Closet’ – Royal College of Art (London, England)

Elena Oliinyk – ‘Art of Hiding in Plain Sight’ – University of Westminster (London, England)

Annie Sibthorp – ‘The Threshold between Trans and Transed space’ – Manchester School of Architecture (Manchester, England)

James Soane – ‘Out of Practice: Manifestos for an LSA Education’ – London School of Architecture (London, England)

Kyle McCracken – ‘oXXXford’ – Oxford Brookes University (Oxford, England)

Kleanthis Kyriakou – ‘House of Extravaganza’ – Central Saint Martins (London, England)

Thomas Phillips – ‘Wet Firing’ – Royal College of Art (London, England)

Bryan Ho – ‘Pier For Queers’ – Architectural Association (London, England)

Daniel Innes – ‘Building Bodies’ – Royal College of Art (London, England)

Glenn Strachan – ‘Ministry of Plunder’ – University of Sheffield (Sheffield, England)

Xzen Hung Lee – ‘The Drag City’ – University of Creative Arts (Canterbury, England)

Jacques Doody – ‘Dreamland Samson’ – University of Cardiff (Cardiff, Wales)

Andrew Riddell – ‘Lipstick on a Pig’ – Bartlett School of Architecture (London, England)

Alexandros Xenophontos – ‘Institutional queering’ – Central Saint Martins (London, England)

Hoisun Yung – ‘EROTES’ – University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, Scotland)

Gabriele Pesciotti – ‘City Valley’ –

Will Dendinger – ‘The AIDS Awareness Pier’ – University of Nebraska (Lincoln, USA)

Danni Kerr – ‘Grounded Approaches to ‘Design for Time’ in Architecture’ – Sheffield School of Architecture (Sheffield, England)

Cai Hall – ‘Social Prescription’ – Kingston University (London, England)

Leonardo Schreiber Schneider – ‘CROMA LGBTQIA +’ – Santa Catarina State University (Florianópolis, Brazil)

Stu Ashford – ‘Intergenerational Skill Exchange’ – University of Bath (Bath, England)

William McKinney – ‘A Library for the forgotten’ – Sheffield School of Architecture (Sheffield, England)

Jaemin Shin – ‘Seoul, South Korea. Gay and Regeneration Plan’ – Manchester School of Architecture (Manchester, England + South Korea)

Amber Elliott – ‘The Sandwich Forum’ – University of Brighton (Brighton, England)

Gabriela Rocha – ‘Representation and representativeness’ – Anhembi Morumbi Laureate International Universities (São Paulo, Brazil)

Phoebe Eustance – ‘Queering The Waiting Room’ – Academy of Fine Arts Vienna (Vienna, Austria + research further in the UK)

Kleanthis, House of Extravaganza: reimagining Strawberry Hill as an incubator for subversive queer space for London.


Kyle McCracken, oXXXford: finding new, fluid uses for the iconic buildings of Oxford


For previous architecture exhibitions, return to the Events and Exhibitions homepage

Other exhibitions

The last exhibitions