City Talks is an ongoing series presented in partnership with New Zealand Institute of Architects Wellington Branch.
Designer and educator Michael McCabe presents Tentative steps at queering architectural practice. Nightclubs he argues, are one of the few built forms that exist for queer people within the urban landscape.
In 2016 Michael started thinking about the nightclub as a point of convergence in queer space, the result was his master's thesis Tracing Steps on an Empty Dancefloor: Nightclubs as Queer Spaces.
His thesis was written at the time of the Pulse Orlando nightclub shooting. He found himself confronting the realities and failures of safety for queer people within and outside of rainbow communities. Ultimately asking what the role of the architect is to support and facilitate LGBTQIA+ people.
The global pandemic has thrown a spotlight on how critical spaces are for LGBTQIA+ communities. Recent protests about creating safer nightlife spaces for queer people on Karangahape Road, assaults of queer people along the same street, and an emergent solidarity fuelled by the removal of police within the 2019 Auckland Pride Parade form the beginnings of an inquiry that ask; what roles can an architect play within this landscape of queer upheaval and how might architecture return the dancefloor?
Michael McCabe, born a Capricorn Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars he feels a unique affinity to calendars and excel spreadsheets. Micheal is a Filipino-Pākehā designer and educator based in Tāmaki Makaurau. He collaborates with theatre companies, art galleries and public arts organisations to create engaging, dynamic and socially engaged work.
His work most recent work includes Te Whare Kapua (Massive Theatre Company, 2021), Upu (Silo Theatre 2020), Deadweight Loss (Objectspace, 2020), Queer Pavillion (Collaborative Project, 2020), The Blind Date Project (Silo Theatre 2019) and A Fine Balance (Auckland