Drawing Out the Censors' Room


  • Ro Spankie University of Westminster




Spatial design, Psychoanalysis, Interior architecture


Psychoanalysts make a distinction between an actual space and the memory of a space; one’s house and the psychic construct of home. The latter, constructed from experiences of the childhood home(s), is a place that holds us, contains us, and is instrumental to functions of anchoring, identity and refueling1 and can be referred to as the ‘first house.’ 2 A gap exists between the actual space and the ‘first house’ as the mind distorts the relationship between actual form and the space in one’s memory; although a childhood home may still exist, it is, at the same time, unreachable. Not only do buildings and particularly their interiors evolve over time through change in use and wear and tear, but so too does the inhabitant. While there are conventions governing the drawing of the structure of a house, the topography of these other less tangible interiors is unstable to say the least and offers an absorbing but slippery territory for any attempt at representation. This paper attempts a description of a ‘first house,’ not of an individual but of an institution, the Royal College of Physicians, London, focusing in particular on a panelled interior known as the Censors’ Room. This paneling has moved with the Physicians over the years, being installed in three consecutive buildings. The proposition is that the ‘first house’ offers a useful analogy to interiority both as an intellectual construct and in the challenges it sets up in terms of representation.


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Author Biography

Ro Spankie, University of Westminster

Ro Spankie is a designer, teacher and researcher. She is Course Leader for Interior Architecture BA Honours at the University of Westminster, London. Following a Masters in Computing and Design she developed a fascination for the role of the drawing in the design process that combines with research into the interior. Currently enrolled on the PhD by Architectural Design at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, her thesis 'Thinking through Drawing' is focused on drawing out interior specific practice. She has exhibited and published work both in the UK and abroad including ‘Drawing Out the Interior’ published by AVA Academia 2009.




How to Cite

Spankie, Ro. 2012. “Drawing Out the Censors’ Room”. Idea Journal 12 (1):72-87. https://doi.org/10.37113/ideaj.v0i0.95.



Design Research Paper