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Guy on Boundaries

  • Tom Guy is a partner at Guy Piper Architects and the founder of the Architecture LGBT+ network, and this year worked with the LFA on a competition to design a float for the 2018 Pride in London parade. He is also a member of our curation panel. In this essay he shares his thoughts on our 2019 theme of boundaries.

When I think of the theme of boundaries, I think of social boundaries and barriers within the construction industry. As diversity has progressed through the last few decades, barriers have been broken down and social norms have been challenged; however, the construction industry has lagged behind. Only 73% of architects are out at work and 39% have heard homophobic or transphobic slurs in the workplace in the past year, whilst one in seven women architects have experienced sexual harassment.

Through the theme of boundaries, I hope we can explore events through the festival that continue the work of the LFA’s pink elephant campaign to call out discrimination in the built environment. In 2018, Architecture LGBT+ ran a competition with the LFA to design a float for the Pride in London Parade. Hawkins/Brown’s winning design was realised by Sir Robert McAlpine and for the first time Architects were represented in the 30,000-strong parade. The Parade, which starts outside RIBA on Portland Place, before crossing Oxford Circus to make its way to Trafalgar Square, itself breaks down the normal boundaries between thoroughfares, pedestrians and traffic.

Through the festival I hope we can enable people to feel free to fulfil their potential by living a life without boundaries.

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