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ADS4: Legal Fictions

Daniel Norman

Daniel is a designer based in London, whose work explores the ways activism and ‘queer’ methods can inform spatial design. He works primarily with photography and written research as a means to explore his interests.

Before attending the RCA, Daniel studied at University of Nottingham, where he began exploring alternatives to the ways we currently think about and design housing. Daniel has worked for David Kohn Architects, working on several housing and civic projects.



Degree Details

School of Architecture

ADS4: Legal Fictions

We can think of the world, or rather the world as we have made it, as a composite of both myth and reality. – Sam Jacob

Our world is constructed of ideas (or myths) that become “real” through their entanglement with architectural design and policymaking. This project is interested in the gap between architecture as this constructed “real” and architecture as lived in. Although, we might also ask how our interactions, which we often take for granted, are produced by the myths and ideologies that are embedded in architectures? How is gender, nationality or disability produced by spatial intervention? And how might we oppose this and engage in what Paul Preciado might call Biopolitical Disobedience?

By calling into question the means with which architecture produces and categorises our bodies, we can expose the slippery nature of the world we live in. In exposing this ‘slippery world’, how can we start to think of building structures and materials as fluid, dynamic objects, and how can we design building and planning policy to embrace this slippery state? 

These videos poke at the way the fluid, changing condition of our bodies and identities interact with the supposedly static architectures and rules that order our reality.

I want to query the assumption that a building is a static, unchanging object; and in doing so I will reverse the question asked by Lucas Cassidy Crawford, "How [can] conventions of architectural stability and timelessness seep into our ways of thinking of our bodies?”. Instead, I might ask, “How can conventions of bodies fluidity and transition seep into our ways of thinking about buildings?”

Slippery Structures poses a world where we might think of the "real"—the architecture, structures, laws—as fluid, or at least partially fluid. 



The Ice-Cream Condition exposes the slippery nature of the "real". Like the melting ice-cream, the false reality of our constructed world slips away, revealing all that is left is a soft, mushy husk. 

Practicing what we might call Biopolitical Disobedience, the character goes out of their way to disobey the spatial politics of the house. The series directly questions the assumption that the domestic space is a private space where we can act as we wish. It calls into question the minor tasks we perform each day at home, as well as the boundaries that demarcate this space we call ‘private’. 

GraMroots Model Gathering
GraMroots Venues

GraMroots is a (social media-based/transmedia) campaign to promote the cultural value of struggling music venues, created by a group of six architecture students from the Royal College of Art. The campaign is imagined as an online digital archive called ‘GraMroots Venue Archive’, which documents small-scale grassroots music venues that are at risk of closing. The archive will exist as a web-based catalogue of digital models which represent the social and atmospheric qualities of the venues. Rather than being a static archive of venue photos, it will become an (inter)active, collaborative archive that can expand over time. 

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