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The New Guard

Penn State Student Wins Architecture Award For Challenging Train Station’s ‘Gender Binary’

By

Nick Baker

May 9, 2024

A Pennsylvania State University student has received an award that will fund the completion of her thesis that “investigates the binary experience of a building and space in order to better understand the ways gender norms and binaries are perpetrated through the ways architecture is constructed.”

Jenna Folk, who graduated last week with a bachelor’s degree in architecture, said in Penn State’s news release, “Since the human cannot fit into the labels and boxes that society has constructed over time – and these labels are linked so strongly to space – a new design process for architecture must be considered.”

Her senior project, “Blurring Binaries and Bending Gender: An Architecture of Love,” evaluated the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia to determine whether or not its design is sufficiently “queer.”

Folk’s award winning design (Penn State University)

Unsurprisingly, she determined it was in need of “queering,” and proposed a new design for one of its entryways that “challenged the well-defined binary space of the station.”

According to the university, the student “became more interested in the topics of gender, race, sexuality, and love after taking several sociology and philosophy classes during her five years at Penn State.”

It seems like Penn State is really scraping the bottom of the barrel with this one.

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