Date of Award

Spring 6-3-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Design (MDes) in Interior Studies / Exhibition + Narrative Environments


Interior Architecture

First Advisor

Jeffrey Katz

Second Advisor

Barbara Stehle

Third Advisor

Eduardo Duarte


Traditional gender roles, performance of heterosexuality, marriage, parenthood, and a large variety of other societal expectations manifest themselves in the domestic realm, both intangibly and spatially. The design of domestic spaces has historically catered towards heteronormative living stereotypes, marginalizing people whose way of living challenges the norm. Even in the present day, designers with non-user clients — developers, investors, real estate firms, etc. — will design with heteronormative households in mind. The rise in feminist and LGBTQ+ rights movements has allowed for non-heteronormative modi vivendi (ways of living) to be more vocally and visibly present in the sociopolitical and cultural spheres, initiating dialogue beyond the statutory and resulting in less discrimination or bias. However, many professional fields still have not fully addressed this societal progress, or set the base for more.

Although current residential design strategies still allow for a diversity of occupants, society would greatly benefit from architecture that intentionally caters to non-heteronormative ways of living. If residential designers inform their design decisions on non-heteronormative modi vivendi and operandi, the field will expand its spectrum of design strategies and purposefully provide for a more diverse user group. By acknowledging overlooked domesticities, residential design can respond to a wider audience regarding the basic need for homemaking, an essential part of defining selfhood. Promoting homemaking through architectural design will encourage the inhabitants’ full self to emerge by enabling them to make said space their own, a “safe space” to exist freely.

The thesis is exploratory, understanding the infinite ways in which one could cater to non-heteronormative living. It also takes an ethnographic approach, recognizing the importance of involving its non-heteronormative users. Non-heteronormativity is represented in a variety of domestic typologies. Most fall under three sub-categories: queer community, dependency, and family circumstance. Because of the strong link between homemaking and selfhood, and the importance of “safe spaces” to minority groups, the focus for this thesis is on the queer community.

The conceptualization process of the project incorporates three methods of analysis: understanding case studies and precedents, drawing on architectural queer space theory, and interacting with representatives of the queer community. The research leads to a design catalog that simultaneously provides new strategies to expand the residential design field and identifies current ones that directly cater to needs and habits of non-heteronormative domesticities. This will encourage professionals in the residential design field to acknowledge overlooked domesticities. Moreover, the catalog of design strategies is permeable; it will not only cater to the domesticities observed, but also generally provide more typology variance and homemaking opportunities.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.