MSA Stage 5 School of Architecture

Oliver Simpson


Oliver is a political and passionate practitioner finishing their part 2 architectural studies. Oliver believes architecture has an immense power to effect social change, and is interested in how all people experience space, and how architecture can reinforce social and cultural expectations – which currently don’t cater to the diversity of our society. Olivers work explores queer architectural theory, which has culminated in their thesis project titled “Towards a Transgender Architecture”.

Exploring trangender architecture – Research
“Towards a transgender Architecture” – Proposal

Exploring trangender architecture – Research

In the current climate of mistrust towards transgender communities, this thesis critically engages with how transgender communities take ownership of space. It doesn’t delve into ways in which spaces oppress or exclude trans people, instead this thesis aims to celebrate the innovative ways space can be created and occupied in a Transgender way. The project manifested in a transformative process animating dis-used land around a motorway in Marseille.

Part of being Trans is someone realising they sit outside of the gender binaries we are socialised with. Being trans is a transformational journey that doesn’t have a beginning or an end, it is a constant adjustment, tweaking, editing how you feel and present, in relation to your surroundings. Current construction practices create static buildings, ones whos facades and interior take a great deal of resources to adapt. Can I create a buildings which is constantly transforming in a transgender way?

My research has culminated in exploring 4 different transgender architectonics, Constant Transformation, Building in the inbeween, Adaptive re-use of site and materials and a Focus on Ornament.

Inhabited derelict spaces

Queer people occupying the delapodated New York Piers for sun bathing

Programme diagram

Time and space diagram

Rule 1 - Constant Transformation

Rule 4 - Focus on Ornamnet

Rule 3 - Adaptive re-use of site and materials

Catagory is: Books, Glasgow

Taking ownership of their book shop with political posters and memorabilia

Rule 2 - Building in the Inbetween

“Towards a transgender Architecture” – Proposal

In the context of our thesis city this year, Marseille, I theorise that transgender way of being sits in opposition to the principles of modernist planning, that have left scars across the city. Le Corbusier’s legacy built super-efficient architecture and infrastructure, designed to be used strictly in singular ways out of concrete and other immovable materials. This project uses my 4 transgender Architectural techtonics to re-imagine the spaces around the A7 motorway, attempting to patch the scars left by the binary infrastructure, replacing it with a multi-storey layering of spaces, activities and places, giving space and agency to the surrounding marginalised communities.

To enable the building to be in a state of constant transformation I have divided it into components. A core skeleton enables the blood (people and materials) to move through the Body (building) to reach the shifting layers of tissue. The building would ebb and flow with the changing needs and identities of its inhabitants.

Infrastructure Map of Northern Marseille

3rd Arrondissement Motorway Figure ground

Long Section through motorway

Section through Le Corbusier's Unite D'habitation

Section through A7 Motorway

"non-binary" staircase in central Marseille, connecting two completely different neighbourhoods

Layerd infrastructure Binaries, project weaved between them

Site Axonometric



Technical Section

Growing building diagram

Into the workshop

Through the core

Up the stairs

Over the motorway

Sectional model - transforming programme

1:50 technical Model

Perspective Section

Cross sections