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︎Year 5


Vishmi Jayawardene

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Gendered resistance


This design thesis frames its investigation of female free trade zone workers in Sri Lanka through the zone spaces that feature in their daily lives, the most potent of which are the jurisdictionally concealed garment factories; the unliveable tenements; and the unfriendly peripheral streets of the city of Katunayake. The question posits can an architectural intervention alleviate the institutional and ingrained dogmas of this specific group of classed, gendered subjects living and earning in just one of many manufacturing zones of the global south?In response, using the zone as both site, subject and adversary, I proffer an architectural proposition as a rebuttal, or indeed a challenge, to a persistent social narrative that relegates female FTZ workers in to ‘semi-citizenships’ and vilifies them as practitioners of disrespectable femininity, and instead shift this narrative so that women workers’ prescribed ‘outsider’ position is subverted so that they claim ownership of the city, through better access to spaces that offer a counter to the devalued, marginal places of the zone and the stigma attached to them.”
Katunayake, Sri Lanka



Vishmi Jayawardene

︎Year 5





Year 1
MStMAUS