Housing Plans for the Future by Donovan Wylie
Format: Hardback / Clothbound
Size: 295 x 230 mm
Pages: 80 pp
Published by: Steidl
Housing Plans for the Future reveals the complex and ambiguous use of architecture as a means of containment and control within social housing in Belfast. The defensive structures built between 1970s and 80s are experienced via a series of walks through the neighbourhoods of the inner city. A largely unrecognised facet of conflict-era architecture, this seemingly benign environment functions as a legacy of the North ireland conflict.
Wylie took these photos during walks through a number of social-housing neighborhoods in inner-city Belfast, which look eerily similar. While the built environments at first appear benign, even mundane, sustained looking reveals how they purposely control vision and movement. Walls block vehicle access, houses are inverted to face away from neighboring communities and minimize potential antagonism, and excessive street lighting ensures visibility in what Wylie calls “a prison of sorts … a completely thought-through system of social control.” These defensive structures, built in the 1970s and ’80s and still populated today, are a powerful and largely unrecognized legacy of the Northern Ireland conflict.
Our sense of being a person can come from being drawn into a wider social unit; our sense of selfhood can arise through the little ways in which we resist the pull. Our status is backed by the solid buildings of the world, while our sense of personal identity often resides in the cracks.
– Erving Goffman
Also by Donovan Wylie – Scrapbook