Joseph Elbourn (He / Him )
Urban Building Project – The Anarcho-Civic Building
Having explored domestic life in a territory without individualised land ownership, I explored this theme with regards to public life. For many, the ‘Anarcho-Civic’ is an oxymoron. However, it is important to remember that Anarchism is not the opposition to societal organisation. Instead it is the idea that, under conditions of true equality, society can be based on consensus rather than compulsion.
In the Barras free state, laws are developed through discussion and ratified through consensus adoption. By constantly engaging with both the technocratic and moral questions that arise in the commune, the citizenry implicitly shape the rules they use to live collectively like the speakers of a language. As their society grows so does their building, from a simple forum to a complex programme of performance spaces, meeting points and admin facilities.
Functions overlap, blend and can be approached from any direction. The building is a lump of constantly growing masonry, anchoring the democratic heart of the commune and serving as a beacon of hope to wider Glasgow. The boarder is one of multiple concentric circles that draw people into the performance and discussion spaces, from where one is physically and intellectually lifted up into the spaces of collective joy that define the building and the commune.
Urban Housing Project – The Anarcho-Tenement
Hidden between two sticky pages of LOVELESS, 50 studies of minimum dwellings carried out by DOGMA, is a 51st – The Anarcho-Tenement.
In the years following the pandemic the inability of neo-liberal politics to solve the housing crisis intersects with a renewed solidarity caused by mass unemployment and gig-home-working. A radicle group takes matters into their own hands and interrupts a developer led project that would gut the Barras market. Through direct action they reclaim the land for the community, in the course of which a large barricade to mark the border of a new territory is constructed. Within ‘property ownership’ is perceived very differently, three-dimensional space is held in common and is thus divided up on basis of need, desire and capability.
Residents build a continuous block against the barricade. Within, their personal spaces (coloured carpets) are located around fixed ‘lightwell stair cores’. Through negotiation with neighbours, residents move around non load bearing partitions to expand vertically and laterally, creating innumerable layouts for different living situations, renegotiable as these inevitably change. Common ownership intuits that less frequented spaces (grey floor) like balconies, offices and ablution spaces are accessible by multiple households. Thus the luxury of an en-suite bath or a dedicated office is communalised. This is supplemented by a shared facilities ‘corridor’ running the length of the block. This internal circulation route houses anything from a gym to a bakery and beyond.
Private rooms are shown with coloured carpets, shared spaces are shown with white tiles or grey stone.