The Bartlett School of Architecture


Daniel Ovalle Costal

Image: Daniel Ovalle Costal


A Canon of Queer Domesticity: Design Speculations

First and second supervisors


This PhD builds on existing scholarship on queer domestic spaces and practices across disciplines from English studies to sociology. My aim is to use design research to develop a set of tools that can equip architects to design more inclusive homes.

This research continues a previous project developed in my PGCert in Advanced Architectural Research at UCL during which I explored queer domestic space through the work of Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar. My thesis argued that Almodóvar’s filmography demonstrates the political potential of domesticity, and the versatility of queer design languages to challenge mainstream domesticity and validate dissident lifestyles.

The proposed output of this project is a speculative design of a housing prototype for several queer families.

Maintaining a cross-cultural outlook, my design research will be underpinned by fieldwork on queer domestic spaces and practices in London and Barcelona; as well as an existing genealogy of queer domestic case studies that I am calling a ‘disobedient’ canon.

Research Questions

  1. How do queer families inhabit domestic spaces inherited from heteropatriarchy?
  2. How do we design a canon of ‘disobedient’ architecture?
  3. How does ‘homonormativity’ in the domestic sphere, a key debate in queer studies which originated in the 1990s, translates across cultural and social boundaries in the present day?
  4. What is the relevance of queer domestic space within the wider range of queer spaces in the city?


Daniel is a registered architect trained between Spain and the UK. He works as a sole practitioner in London where he has led commercial and mixed-use projects across many sectors while working for Wilkinsone Eyre and Acme. Since 2018 he is also a design tutor at The Bartlett School of Architecture where he co-runs Unit 22 in the Architecture MArch (ARB/RIBA Part 2) and Engineering and Architectural Design MEng programmes. He is also a first year design tutor at the London School of Architecture. Daniel’s research interest lay at the intersection of architectural design and queer studies. 

Image: Daniel Ovalle Costal