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The impact of privatised public space on Brexit




ETH Zurich

In October, Unscene Architecture were invited to hold a seminar for students from Arno Brandlhuber’s studio Architecting after Politics from ETH Zurich. The seminar coincided with their trip to London to understand the spatial impact of Brexit. We were asked to choose a location to hold the seminar that best represented our research, so we decided to run it from a Wetherspoons pub as an example that illustrates the relationship between privatised public space and Brexit. During the 2016 EU referendum campaign, Wetherspoons came under fire for distributing 200,000 beer mats, magazines and other forms of propaganda throughout its pubs, which urged customers to vote in favour of Brexit. Yet, as with all things related to privatised public space, the situation is never so binary as it first appears. Spending time in the Wetherspoons revealed the range of diverse users that occupy the space over the course of a single day, and as a group of 25 people we were able to stay for over 3 hours for just 80p - the cost of a cup of tea with unlimited refills.

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