The Bartlett School of Architecture


Megan O'Shea



Building on Disjunction: Housing the One-Multiple of Humanity 

First and second supervisors 


The two fields of my research are love and architecture. To begin with I am looking at poststructuralist philosophy and public housing in London taking love as a philosophical and poetic concept and as a way of thinking about questions of community, social relations and responsible building design.

The research seeks to place love in the field of architecture through an investigation of the overlaps between our fidelity to the event of love and architecture’s fidelity to living, which is expressed through dwelling. The objective is to develop an architecture that evades the material fusion of the domestic to spatialise Alain Badiou’s philosophy of disjunction, and reconsider the dwelling of a community from the point of view of difference.

My investigation into Badiou’s writing on the disjunction of the Two of love runs parallel to an investigation into the corresponding problematic of the material fusion of domestic architecture. If love is a horizontal gesture of reaching out across the void, the dwelling space that it founds must maintain this gesture of horizontality, so to begin this investigation into housing I am looking at a low-rise high-density estate at Central Hill in South East London. 

This estate occupies an area of 12.81 acres that drop down the hillside from a tree-lined ridge commanding views north across London. It was the combination of the steeply sloping site and the necessity of preserving the skyline that led to the final proposal for high-density, low-rise building.

All the buildings are carried on bored cast in situ piles to counter both the effect of the steeply sloping site and the heavy claygate bed. The topography of the site is becoming important in my investigation – with a focus on the draw down of the water table, shifting landscapes, weather, planting etc: anything that might prevent architecture, and indeed love, from ‘settling’ into cosy domesticity.


Megan has been working in the Contemporary Art world for 12 years, firstly for frieze magazine and the inaugural Frieze Art Fair and then for eight years in commercial art galleries. Most recently she has been working freelance for artists including Aleksandra Mir and Susan Hiller as well as galleries and organisations including Matt’s Gallery, The Contemporary Art Society and Christie’s Education.  

Alongside her work in Contemporary Art, Megan is also co-editor of the magazine P.E.A.R. (Paper for Emerging Architectural Research]. Her role involves opening up the discourse of architecture to that of contemporary art by inviting artists to contribute to the paper.  

Before coming to the Bartlett, Megan gained a distinction in her MA in Contemporary Art Theory from Goldsmiths. Her undergraduate degree is in History of Art from the University of Cambridge.