R-004/16/NOTES ON HOTELS
RESEARCH | 2016 | EUROPE, CY-GB
WITH: AA London, Mesarch Lab University of Cyprus
Notes On Hotels is an ongoing research and design project that examines the role of modern hotels in today’s politics and their role in various conditions of political, socio-economic and environmental conflicts.
Hotels are essential to today’s politics as spaces of negotiation, socialisation and trade. They complement official political institutions by providing necessary forms of in-official representation that identifies with and desires a domestic imagery and setting. The modern American hotel emerged at the beginning of the 19th century as an alternative sociable space to official political institutions and the private home. However, its gradual standardisation and evolution as a building type, the separation of private (bedroom) from public services, led to the erosion of an originally coherent domestic setting, allowing different and customised protocols of hospitality to develop.
A central ambition of this research is the reappraisal of the modern hotel through its use of domesticity as a political project and political institution in its own right. Thus, domesticity is understood as a socio-spatial condition through which particular subjectivities and formal protocols of hospitality can be shaped. In this case, a constituency of politicians, advisors and board members, in short, the wider constituency associated with the workings of today’s political administration.
In addition, the project explores how recreational landscapes and the tourism industry were deliberately deployed by governments after World War II to consolidate states, build national identity and gain territorial claims as geopolitical instruments. In this, the example of the 1960s and early 70s Cyprus is used to showcase how the hotel industry participated in nation-building processes of the young independent state and its role in the division of the country along ethnic lines.
The work was started at the Architectural Association in 2016 and continued during a research stay in cooperation with the Mesarch Lab of the University of Cyprus, School of Architecture in 2020.