After dark: exploring sexuality, seduction and utopias in a nightclub and fashion hybrid building in Johannesburg

Boshoff, Natasha
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A space of “other” is a vessel of behaviour where active users are willing to play with codes of behaviour. This other space describes and inhabits certain cultural, influential and informal spaces that are somehow “other”. This “other” space mirrors and simultaneously up-sets what is “outside” this domain. My thesis aims to focus on this type of “other” space as a nightclub and fashion hybrid building by focusing on principles of spatial design embodied in notions of a performance artist. The focus on the characteristics of a drag performer becomes the narrative to which a space that is relevant of our current time be-comes significant. Within Johannesburg’s dynamic and lively nightlife, youth culture has adapted and changed overtime. The nightclubs, bars, event spaces and heterotopic spaces within the city have always been the setting where exploration of desire, sexuality, altered states of conscious-ness and gender occur. The After Dark research project creates a world with-in a world where a merging of these evolutions in these social complexities become utopian spaces. The project promotes escapism from the daily conscriptions of life by seducing the Johannesburg Nightlife in the form of a Nightclub. The proposed building is situated in Rosebank, Gauteng. The design intervention interconnects within an existing urban “design district” which houses day light and night life programs. This existing day and night programmatic will be identified with mapping techniques. The building adapts from day too night; which facilitate the excitement of the fashion industry and a nightclub. The space enhances audience and performing artist within the runway, showrooms, and conference centre by day while at night transforming into performance areas, dance floors, bars, lounges and leisure activities. The adaption from daytime to night-time creates a dynamic building. The architectural proposal embodies spatial qualities that both challenge sexuality, performs with the intention of creating desire and seducing and they camouflage as an interface with the world. The intervention will explore architectural nodes of boundaries, visibility, light, darkness and principles of revealing and concealing. This active 24-hour intervention will be the catalyst of user nonconformity. both in the fashion industry and nocturnal dwellers
A design project submitted to the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional) July 2021