Bartlett PhD Research Projects 2022

Page 1


PhD Research Projects



7 8

Preface Introduction


Atheer Al Mulla Liminal: The Curious Case of the Modern Emirati Hotel


Olivier Bellflamme An Architect in the Footsteps of Ethnographer Carl Lumholtz


Jhono Bennett Locating Spatial Practice Within the Post-Post City: A Situated Southern Urban Design Inquiry Around How


Olivia Duncan An Indigenous Model? Inclusive and Culturally Sensitive Participatory Practices in Urban Development in UAE


Mark Garcia Twenty-First Century Posthuman Spacecraft and Spaceships: The Problems and Prospects of Techno-Aesthetic Transfers Between Space Architectures and Earth Architectures


Alexandra Lăcătușu Biocentric Design: Translating Environmentally Driven Behaviours of Urban Wall-Dwelling Mosses


Xiuzheng Li The Communal Kitchen as an Infrastructure of Care: A Comparative Study Between the UK and China


Rebecca Loewen Duchamp’s Inframince and Spatial Practices of Contact


Irene Manzini Ceinar Community-Centred Approaches to Foster Local Resilience: The Future of the Coworking Economy in Pandemic Recovery


Athina Petsou Rethinking Retrofit: Putting the People in the Centre


Rachel Valbrun We Built this City: On Fault Lines and Quicksand


Katerina Zacharopoulou Designing for Amusement: Expressions and Repressions of Humour in Postmodern Architectural Culture (Britain, 1977-1990)


Azadeh Zaferani Home [Un]Making: Objectified Interiors, Tehran 1963-2013


Dr Yota Adilenidou Scripting Errors: A Taxonomy of Architectural Bodies’ Deviations as a Response to Uncertainty and Infinite Future Scenarios


Dr Gregorio Astengo Architectural Transactions. Architecture in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (1665-1700)


Dr Inês Dantas Landscapes From Within: Architectural Engagements and Speculations with Urban Trees


Dr Sevcan Ercan Finding the Island of Imbros: A Spatial History of Displacement and Emplacement


Dr Nadezda Gobova The History of the Socialist City of Yekaterinburg: Planning, Construction, Social Urban Development, and Architectural Design (1920s–1980s)


Dr Susan Anne Mansel Fitzgerald Productive Urban Landscapes: Everyday Rhythms Surrounding Sites of Urban Agriculture in Havana, Cuba


Dr Isabel Gutiérrez Sánchez Infrastructures of Caring Citizenship: Citizen-Led Welfare Initiatives in Crisis-Ridden Athens, Greece


Dr Christos Papastergiou Leftover City. Alternative Uses of Leftover Sites in Amsterdam (1952–1978) and Nicosia (1974–2014)


Dr Freya Wigzell Shells and Architecture


Dr Fiona Zisch Doppelkopf Neuroarchitecture. A Wicked Threshold Space


Conference Participants’ Biographies Recent Graduates’ Biographies Credits

63 66


Dr Nina Vollenbröker and Dr Sophie Read Co-ordinators, MPhil/PhD Architectural Design and MPhil/PhD Architectural and Urban History & Theory Programmes

Prof. Jonathan Hill

Director, MPhil/PhD Architectural Design

Prof. Sophia Psarra

Director, MPhil/PhD Architectural and Urban History & Theory

PhD Research Projects 2022 is the sixteenth annual conference and exhibition related to doctoral research at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, organised by the MPhil/ PhD Architectural Design and MPhil/ PhD Architectural and Urban History & Theory Programmes. The event is open to the public and involves presentations by students undertaking the MPhil/PhD Architectural Design and MPhil/ PhD Architectural and Urban History & Theory. This year, we also have contributions by MPhil/PhD students from the Architecture and Digital Theory and the Architectural Space Computation streams as well as from The Bartlett Development Planning Unit and The UCL Institute of Environmental Engineering & Design. Leading to a PhD in Architecture, The Bartlett School of Architecture’s Achitectural Design and Architectural and Urban History & Theory doctoral programmes encourage originality and creativity. Over 90 students are currently enrolled, and the range of research subjects undertaken is broad. Each annual PhD conference and exhibition focuses on a

smaller selection of presentations from students who are developing or concluding their research. The purpose of the conference and exhibition is to encourage productive discussions between presenters, exhibitors, staff, students, critics and the audience. Organised and curated by Dr Nina Vollenbröker and Dr Sophie Read, PhD Research Projects 2022 has six invited critics: Prof. Federica Goffi, Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism at Carleton University; Dr Polly Gould, The Bartlett School of Architecture; Prof. Mari Hvattum, The Oslo School of Architecture and Design; Prof. Igor Marjanović, Rice Architecture; Prof. Niall McLaughlin, The Bartlett School of Architecture and Associate Prof. Eunice Seng, The University of Hong Kong. Presenting this year are: Atheer Al Mulla, Olivier Bellflamme, Jhono Bennett, Olivia Duncan, Mark Garcia, Alexandra Lăcătușu, Xiuzheng Li, Rebecca Loewen, Irene Manzini Ceinar, Athina Petsou, Rachel Valbrun, Katerina Zacharopoulou and Azadeh Zaferani.


Introduction Jhono Bennett and Stephannie Fell

Space: Reshared

Almost two years and at least three waves since the Covid-19 pandemic was declared, it is daunting to try to sum up – let alone assess – the impact it has had on the work of this group of architectural and urban doctoral researchers. First, because we have no certainty as to where we are in the larger storyline of this virus. Second, because unlike economic impacts, explicit in GDP contractions across the globe, we are only starting to see evidence of the extended human cost of the pandemic on issues such as the disruption of routine medical care, mental health, or urban inequality. In a recent statistical analysis of the pandemic,1 Anthony Masters and David Spiegelhalter correlate the heightened risks of Covid-19 deaths reported in ethnic minorities in the UK – which depict stark racial disparities – to housing conditions, income inequality, and occupation. It is clear that the pandemic has echoed, and in most places largely widened, existing gaps in economic and social inequalities in our cities.2 Our personal sensibilities regarding shared space were not left untouched by the pandemic. For many people, especially those who have had to shield for medical or care reasons during these past years, the way in which space is shared has

become a matter of daily preoccupation and in some cases, of lingering threat. The source of this threat is not the abstract notion of ‘space’, but rather the physical, technical, and environmental conditions that make the interior – a space meant to comfort and protect – into one that can harbour several ‘vectors of transmission’ for a deadly respiratory virus. At the same time, the pandemic and its resultant lockdowns, mandates on social distancing, and restrictions on movement forced a collective reckoning with the value and variety of spaces we realised we needed, not only to live but to thrive as social beings. We saw that while shared interior spaces emerged as a new form of danger, our removal from the embedded spatial and immaterial care networks of the broader social realm could also threaten the wellbeing of society as a whole. Within the PhD programme, the pandemic has meant that many instances of tacit co-learning and collaboration that are vital to doctoral learning and were fostered in a variety of private and public spaces – such as the studio, the field, or the pub – were fundamentally missing over the past two years. However, in their absence, new forms of connection,


learning, and support have emerged from the student collective, enabling an unprecedented range of global dialogue between doctoral scholars and resulting in important recognition of the different dynamics of knowledge production across the global ‘north’ and ‘south’. The results of such emerging digital systems of learning and social support may be visible in the works of this conference, or, like many of the less detectable impacts discussed in this introduction, will be embedded in the research and practices of this ‘wave’ of researchers in the years to come. Across the catalogue we see a tapestry of diverse interests, perspectives, and methodologies that reflect the heterogeneity of the faculty’s doctoral community and drive the rich cross-scholarly discussions that have taken place during the darker moments of the pandemic.

1. Spiegelhalter, D. and Masters, A. (2021) Covid by Numbers: Making Sense of the Pandemic with Data. 1st edn. Pelican. 2. Bhan, G. et al. (2020) The Pandemic, Southern Urbanisms and Collective Life, Society+Space. Available at: https://www.societyandspace. org/articles/the-pandemic-southern-urbanisms-and-collective-life (Accessed: 11 January 2022).


Conference Participants

Conference Participants

Atheer Al Mulla The Bartlett School of Architecture Supervisors: Professor Iain Borden • Dr Tania Sengupta

Liminal: The Curious Case of the Modern Emirati Hotel

From the arrival of the first branded ‘modern hotel’ in UAE – the Hilton Al Ain, which opened in 1971 – and the contemporary thriving luxury-hotel scenes of Dubai and Abu Dhabi – orchestrated by Burj Al Arab and the Emirates Palace Hotels – this research will address the curious case of the modern Emirati hotel. This research explores the role of the modern hotel as a significant spatial and cultural experience of the post-oil modern era. This experience, situated at the junction between notions of ‘embodiment’ and ‘liminality’, make the modern Emirati hotel a ‘third cultural space’ where, in an exploratory scenario, a succession of ceremonial events take place. A modern Emirati rite of passage (a wedding) is performed within the premises of a luxury institution. The protagonist is the female body of the bride engaged in a ritualistic performance, framed within the postulates

of modern architecture. In this hybrid ‘third space’ that defies traditions, a culturallyconditioned body negotiates her existence between the private and the public, the sacred and the mundane, the ‘threshold’ of her wedding night and the ‘liminality’ of a space where she is only a fleeting guest. As a series of juxtaposed spatial real-life wedding experiences, this research is rooted in the traditions of architectural phenomenology, cultural theory, and anthropology. The existing literature on modern architecture in the United Arab Emirates often showcases the hotel as only a fancy façade: a mundane commercial space devoid of meaning. Conversely, this doctoral research explores the modern Emirati hotel beyond its heavily commercial image focusing on its role as a space that has influenced new social and cultural attitudes within the Emirati ceremonial landscape.

Infinite Corridor, The Dorchester, London (Photograph: Atheer Al Mulla, 2019)


Conference Participants

Olivier Bellflamme The Bartlett School of Architecture Supervisors: Professor Murray Fraser • Professor Susanne Küchler

An Architect in the Footsteps of Ethnographer Carl Lumholtz

This practice-led PhD examines the vernacular architecture of the Sierra Madre in north-western Mexico by recreating the journey of the Norwegian ethnographer Carl Lumholtz, who was the first person to photograph the region’s building customs in 1890. This thesis traces the recent history of Sierra Madran cultural knowledge by combining research methods from architectural history and anthropology as a means of observing the mutations and losses in traditional architectural practices that will be used to make a comparison with the photographs and other recorded items now held in the Lumholtz Archive at the American Museum of Natural History. Extensive fieldwork has already been conducted across the remote trails of this part of Mexico in order to compile a ‘new archive’ that, when completed, will provide a cultural testimony for local people – as well as architects and scholars. The context for this thesis is thus multiple: the research will navigate the archives of Carl Lumholtz, explore on-site in Mexico, and examine the new archive that the fieldwork will produce. The ambition of the research project is hence to participate in an ongoing historical discourse around the vernacular

architecture of the Western Sierra Madre by treating the idea of an archive as a living and creative testimony. Once completed, and placed beside the Lumholtz collection, this study will provide a contemporary and time-based perspective that stretches from Lumholtz’s original explorations until today. The originality of this thesis lies in the step-by-step retracing of Lumholtz’s journey for the first time since the late nineteenth century. Through this grounded approach, the research aims to show the nature of adaptation and/or resistance of residents to the ever-evolving world surrounding them. Indeed, whereas Lumholtz intended his archive as a testimony to pre-Columbian cultures, that he considered in danger of extinction, this study seeks to reveal how these people and their culture still represent an alternative to modernisation through the conservation of some of their most ancestral customs.

La Cueva de Petra (Photograph: Olivier Bellflamme, 2021)


Conference Participants

Jhono Bennett The Bartlett School of Architecture Supervisors: Professor Peg Rawes • Professor Jane Rendell • Professor Lara Schrijver

Locating Spatial Practice Within the Post-Post City: A Situated Southern Urban Design Inquiry Around How

South African cities remain among the most highly unequal urban areas in the world. The tacit logics of their designed and built form play a significant role in how these inequalities manifest even after decades of social and political reform that sought to undo the legacy of the Apartheid and colonial systems. The socio-spatial city-making practices that led to these asymmetries were not an impassive by-product of centuries of segregated development; they were conceptualised, drawn, designed, and implemented by built-environment practitioners – individual spatial designers who were socially, historically, politically, technically, and ethically situated in South Africa. This observation highlights an important and only marginally explored dimension of agency between the individual practitioner and their positionality, the disciplines, and the socio-spatial systems. Such inter-personal dynamics require more situated explorations of spatial practice to understand the tacit nature of their multi-scalar relationship. In response to this observation, the dissertation aligns the study’s approach to the growing efforts

of Southern scholars in developing more locational and theoretically contextualised forms of urban research and engagement. The study is positioned at the disciplinary intersection of architecture, urban studies, and art-practice. A situated design-research methodology is being developed to guide this Southern approach creatively, ethically, and iteratively. For instance, the study will work with a community of contemporary local practitioners through a series of ‘engagements’ around the nature of spatial design practice as well as a practiceoriented interrogation of the author’s own work across South Africa over the past decade. Ultimately this inquiry will attempt to locate and reveal the various ‘tacit values’ embedded in ’the how’ of socio-spatially focused post-Apartheid South African spatial design practice. Furthermore, it seeks to contribute an additional partial perspective to the ongoing conversations around Southern Urbanism by developing and documenting a practice-oriented design research methodology that focuses on the situated nature of spatial design in Southern Cities. Spirit of the Order: Series 2 (Author: Jhono Bennett)


Conference Participants

Olivia Duncan The Bartlett School of Architecture Supervisors: Dr Clare Melhuish • Dr Barbara Lipietz • Dr Anke Reichenbach

An Indigenous Model? Inclusive and Culturally Sensitive Participatory Practices in Urban Development in UAE

The aim of this dissertation is to examine how the indigenous Emirati female population of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have coped with the rapid urbanisation and subsequent restructuring of their lives, lands, and the relationship to their environment as well as their understanding of their own identity in this changing urban context. This study focuses on how and where the Emirati women lived in Abu Dhabi; from the discovery of oil in 1958 until the end of the twentieth century. Substantial scholarly attention has been given to the rapid ‘rags to riches’ aspect of Abu Dhabi’s urbanisation, however, the narratives seem to have focused on the glorification of UAE’s prompt adoption of European/Western infrastructure-building technology and architectural prototypes. Historic records and architectural documentation do not mention direct female participation whether as professionals or as part of the maleruling groups who were often photographed during city-making discussions. The contemporary Constitution of the UAE sustains the principle of equal

treatment of all citizens, however, it contains references that predominantly identify Emirati women as – first and foremost – wives and mothers. As such the Constitution, as well as the Sharia law, seem to reinforce traditional gender roles between Emirati women and men in a rapidly modernising society. However, within these gendered roles, there are Emirati nationals who are empowered and have progressively participated in key societal roles. In contrast, there are others who feel that although they now enjoy access to extravagant lifestyles, they carry an inherent feeling of less independence and less freedom in comparison to their female ancestors who struggled to survive in the pre-oil era. The key inquiry that guides this dissertation consist of questions around the effects of fast urbanisation, learning from indigenous women’s wisdom, indigenous belonging, identity, and developing responses to constructed postcolonial environments.

Emirati traditions as a cover of modern structures (Photograph: Olivia Duncan, 2021)


Conference Participants

Mark Garcia The Bartlett School of Architecture Supervisors: Professor Mario Carpo • Professor Nat Chard

Twenty-First Century Posthuman Spacecraft and Spaceships: The Problems and Prospects of Techno-Aesthetic Transfers Between Space Architectures and Earth Architectures This doctoral study is framed as a posthuman theorisation on the existing and future architectural design of twentyfirst century spacecraft and spaceships. The central argument of this thesis is that posthumanisms have a new, significant, and growing research value not just for architectural design but for space architectures as well as the architectural type of the spaceship/spacecraft itself. Space architectural design innovations in the USA and EU are still architecturally under-theorised. This is exemplified by the 2015 architecturally under-researched completion and subsequent use, impacts, and futures of the International Space Station. In order to theorise, historicise, and investigate the validity, impact, transferrable value, and futures of this unique and recent architectural type, this thesis focusses on a mereological and holonic analysis of two key major case studies: the ISS and the twenty-first century versions of the most design-developed fictional spaceship case study of the last century – the Star Trek Universe’s U.S.S Enterprise (USSE). The study employs original collaborations, interviews, photography, formal and databased technical analyses of various National Aeronautics & Space Administration

(NASA) and European Space Agency (ESA) sources. Through these this thesis evaluates extant design research around contemporary and future possibilities of techno-aesthetic transfers between both vernacular and avant-garde international Earth-architectures, space-architectural design and space-architects. The thesis ultimately aims to produce a new posthuman definition, techno-aesthetic and futurological theorisation of the twenty-first century posthuman spaceship/ spacecraft type as well as a ‘Strategic Research Agenda’ towards posthuman spaceships/spacecraft and architectural design more widely. With an essential focus on the design-research fundamentals of gravity, technology, function and use: the telos of this research is to demonstrate that twenty-first century posthuman spaceships/spacecraft are of intrinsic value and impact, not just to innovative and significant architectural research per se, but to the wider knowledge of ultimate histories, theories, and futures of nothing less than space itself. ISS Model – Approaching Astronaut’s/Spacecraft Under-View. National Space Centre, Leicester, UK. (Photograph: Mark Garcia, 2021)


Conference Participants

Alexandra Lăcătușu The Bartlett School of Architecture Supervisors: Professor Marcos Cruz • Dr Brenda Parker

Biocentric Design: Translating Environmentally Driven Behaviours of Urban Wall-Dwelling Mosses

Bryophyte colonisation of urban anthropogenic surfaces could play an essential role in global carbon sequestration. However, the types of environmental dynamics allowing moss proliferation on building materials are not yet fully understood. Photosynthetic rates in mosses are influenced by humidity, light conditions, temperature, and CO2 availability, and many bryological studies have documented the effects of these environmental parameters on growth rates and gas exchange in different species. Despite this, there is currently no unified method for quantifying environmentally driven surface colonisation. This research project proposes a smallscale monitoring system for tracking moss health and carbon dynamics based on key growth-promoting parameters. A prototype experimental chamber is designed to monitor gas exchange through measuring carbon dioxide and oxygen

levels against changes in temperature, humidity, light intensity, and light colour. Near-infrared image analysis is used as a non-destructive method for determining active photosynthetic areas and quantifying CO2 sequestration. Visual and sensor data captured on a Raspberry Pi module is then analysed with a Python-based program. The results feed into a dynamic model that shows the impact of interacting parameters on net photosynthesis and plant health in real time. On the one hand, this provides a method for extracting the optimal environmental conditions needed for the development of different moss species. On the other, the model defines a strategy for translating plant behaviour into design parameters for achieving biocentric, adaptive, and speciesspecific environments within bioreceptive material scaffolds.

Micrograph of photosynthetic moss gametophytes (Photograph: Alexandra Lăcătușu)


Conference Participants

Xiuzheng Li The Bartlett School of Architecture Supervisors: Dr Clare Melhuish • Dr Tim Waterman • Professor Edward Denison

The Communal Kitchen as an Infrastructure of Care: A Comparative Study Between the UK and China

The close relationship between food activities and the built environment is permanently embedded within everyday life and plays an important role in shaping cities physically and socially. While many scholars and practitioners from different aspects of the whole food-cycle (from food production to disposal) have engaged in this topic – this research focuses primarily on spaces for public culinary-practice, the communal kitchen, from a perspective of care. The institutionalised food-cycle, as understood through current readings of consumerism and capitalism, profoundly influences people’s daily food-practice. This is well documented by contemporary scholars such as Carolyn Steel, the author of Hungry City (2008), who discuss broadly how people are spending less time and effort cooking their food, how people are trapped and cheated by industrialised food products such as ‘ready meals’ sold in the supermarkets, how people eat outside of their homes more than ever before, and how these influences manifest in the related production of culinary spaces such as the kitchen. Since the early twentieth century, mainstream kitchen design has focused on efficiency and hygiene around concerns of ergonomics and domestic science instead

of the social dynamics that surround cooking. The contemporary private kitchen is considered by architectural historian and journalist Peter Davey to be more like a collection of ‘accurate machines’ rather than the ‘heart of the dwelling’, which can lead to a neglect of the labour around realfood operation or a disconnection from the natural systems that support daily food-supply. This study aims to explore how the communal kitchen, as an infrastructure of care, provides people with an alternative food-practice in response to the institutionalisation of ‘food-capitalism’ and allows for a reconfiguration of a connection with communities, as well as with the broader natural environment. Using historical methods and a comparative approach based on two primary case studies, this research will explore the communal kitchen’s significance historically, socio-spatially, and in nurturing new kinds of infrastructures of care.

Public Kitchen for cancer patients’ relatives in Nanchang, China (Photograph: Courtesey of Zheng Jing Dong Gua Media Group)


Conference Participants

Rebecca Loewen The Bartlett School of Architecture Supervisors: Professor Penelope Haralambidou • Professor Nat Chard

Duchamp’s Inframince and Spatial Practices of Contact

Literally ‘infra-thin’, inframince connotes a real yet barely perceptible condition of thinness. When, in 1980, Paul Matisse published the 46 notes in which his late stepfather Marcel Duchamp had developed the concept of inframince – notes jotted on undated scraps of paper and left amongst Duchamp’s affairs when he died in 1968 – Matisse described inframince as the ‘very last lastness of things… [the] frail and final minimum before reality disappears’. Through a first-hand translation of Duchamp’s notes on inframince, an original interview with Matisse on Duchamp, new archival research, and the use of unique methods of inquiry conceived as ‘inframince operations’ – based on Duchamp’s notes – this research project takes a fresh look at inframince through a lens of perceptual depth. Specifically, this study investigates the history, meaning, and implications of inframince and ask how the sensibility that characterizes these notes might inform spatial practices. By employing operations of translation, transcription, slide-show lecture composition, and performance, this dissertation aims to develop an inframince approach to spatial practices on multiple registers. The author’s own process of

translating Duchamp’s notes clarifies the nature of inframince operations generally, while conversations with Matisse provide affective contact with these notes in the form of an improvisational discursive encounter that – when unleashed through transcription – actualises the idea of inframince as a ‘philosophy for living’. Inspired by archival research into Duchamp’s 1949-1964 lecture scripts, the project mines the potential of the slideshow lecture as a situated-dialectic medium to set up dynamic immersive spaces between isolated images and captions. When Duchamp’s notes on inframince are read in terms of a dynamic perception of lived space, inframince operations constitute novel spatial practices that provoke, respond to, and improvise within the gaps found between text and translation, voice and word, as well as image and caption. Inframince operations produce new points of contact in language, conversation, and dialectic art and architecture. This results in new meanings read between ‘texts’ and a more complex, and nuanced perception of the world. Paul Matisse’s Forest Bells (Photograph: Rebecca Loewen, 2017)


Conference Participants

Irene Manzini Ceinar The Bartlett School of Architecture Supervisors: Professor Alan Penn • Dr Juliana Martins

Community-Centred Approaches to Foster Local Resilience: The Future of the Coworking Economy in Pandemic Recovery

The pandemic caused by the spread of the Covid-19 virus in 2020 has altered work routines worldwide, marking a massive shift in work culture in the contemporary era. Indeed, when the home is not the most efficient workplace and the office cannot host workers due to social distancing limitations, the ‘third place’, such as coworking spaces, represents an alternative for remote workers. Throughout history, the original concept of coworking spaces has been transformed several times: from independent workspaces to increasingly commercial ones to bottom-up and community-centred approaches that benefit their local contexts. Although several studies have examined coworking from different angles, there is limited knowledge on community-centred approaches to coworking that – especially in pandemic times – can support local communities and benefit local development. During the Covid-19 pandemic, several communitydriven coworking spaces embraced the evolution of work towards flexibility, enhancing spill-over and cross-fertilisation effects while contributing as vital spaces of local resilience. This study aims to define the role of community-driven coworking spaces in

peripheral areas as social infrastructure acting for the ‘community good’ during the Covid-19 pandemic. It considers these spaces’ connection with the urban dimension as a critical factor to evaluate their potential for social resilience and local development. The methodology is based on the use of Social Impact Assessment (SIA) to evaluate the role and social sustainability of these spaces, providing robust frameworks and empirical evidence to support their implementation in urban design strategies in the post-pandemic era. Methods and activities are tested through a comparative case study approach in two different neighbourhoods: Finsbury Park (London), and San Siro (Milan), where coworking spaces Space4 and Mare Culturale Urbano are located, respectively. Both are identified as community-driven coworking spaces within their communities, located outside the inner-city centre, foster complex social dynamics, and acted as community hubs of local resilience during the Covid-19 pandemic. Work Heights community coworking space in Brooklyn, New York. (Photograph: Irene Manzini Ceinar)


Conference Participants

Athina Petsou Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering Supervisors: Dr Hector Altamirano • Dr Sung-Min Hong • Dr Robyn Pender

Rethinking Retrofit: Putting the People in the Centre

Climate change is one of the biggest looming threats to our planet. It demands a shift in how we build and intervene on existing buildings. In response to the imminent need to drastically reduce energy and CO2 emissions, strategies like ‘energy retrofit’ of existing buildings could become one of the most relevant actions to be taken, especially in the UK. However, in practice, the design of retrofit interventions is dominated by energy and economic approaches that concentrate on specific standards of U-values and increasing airtightness, neglecting other essential parameters like thermal comfort. This research project has three main objectives: to understand why people feel uncomfortable in existing buildings in the UK, evaluate how retrofit interventions based on thermal comfort could reduce energy consumption and unintended consequences, and identify ways in which thermal comfort can be embedded in existing retrofit processes. Although a

priority requirement for the authorities, practitioners, and users, thermal comfort is not yet considered in practice during the retrofit design process. Research has shown that the retrofit processes applied to existing buildings have resulted in unintended consequences such as overheating, mould growth, and increased indoor pollutants. Embedding thermal comfort in the retrofit process (design, assessment, etc.) could potentially help minimise those unintended consequences as well as reduce energy consumption and embodied carbon from possibly over-specified interventions. It would also secure the satisfaction and the well-being of the buildings’ users. Users’ behaviour has been proven crucial in reaching the energy goals set by practitioners. A retrofit design that considers what people need from their building would help bridge the gap between design targets and real-life results.

Without careful design, external sheet insulation systems can let in water; the result is counterproductive, increasing both energy use and occupant discomfort. (Courtesy: Dr Robyn Pender, Historic England)


Conference Participants

Rachel Valbrun Development Planning Unit Supervisors: Professor Cassidy Johnson • Professor Colin Marx

We Built this City: On Fault Lines and Quicksand

This dissertation explores the role of built-environment professionals in postdisaster reconstruction by looking at urban-design processes and proposals to rebuild the Haitian city of Port-au-Prince after the 2010 earthquake. A key aim of reconstruction is to ‘build back better’, to rebuild, and reduce vulnerability to future disasters. In response, this study seeks to understand how architects, urban designers, and planners influenced such reconstruction efforts. In addition, the study aims to explore how design interventions considered pre-existing vulnerability based on interviews with built-environment professionals, the affected population, and government stakeholders. Without state-supported resources – such as utility infrastructure, public security, land administration, or urban planning – alternative and less formal processes confront globalised standards for building practices towards reconstruction. For instance, the initial study has revealed that built-environment professionals working in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake engaged with customary land tenure systems, and at times, in-place of statutory procedures to influence Port-au-Prince’s reconstruction. Therefore, it can be said

that design interventions should consider the combination of land-tenure practices and their underlying contributions to vulnerability, or risk further adverse impact to the affected population. The study will examine how architects, urban designers, and planners engaged with local builtenvironment professionals and communities to understand the parallel systems that initially created vulnerable conditions and considered these vulnerabilities in the reconstruction process. Understanding how reconstruction plans influence rebuilding can enhance how built environment professionals produce practical proposals that reduce vulnerability. The study suggests that attempts to rebuild Portau-Prince challenged the standardised role of professional approaches to reconstruction based on traditional building construction models. Further, the research proposes that adapting conventional education and business models for disaster-prone contexts can reinforce the contribution of architects, urban designers, and planners in postdisaster reconstruction.

Reclaimed Territory, Port-au-Prince, Haiti (Photograph: Rachel Valbrun, 2011)


Conference Participants

Katerina Zacharopoulou The Bartlett School of Architecture Supervisors: Dr Robin Wilson • Professor Sophia Psarra

Designing for Amusement: Expressions and Repressions of Humour in Postmodern Architectural Culture (Britain, 1977-1990)

Humour is often seen as a quality designed to provoke amusement in an artwork, such as a novel or a painting. Since the emergence of humour studies as a field during the 1970s, the role of humour in the critical discourse of several arts such as literature, painting, performance, or even music has been widely researched. The discipline of architecture, however, still occupies a marginal position in this interdisciplinary discourse around the topic of humour. Currently this dissertation explores humour as an intended quality of architectural work. It addresses the literature gap regarding the topic: asking how humour has been used by architects in design and how it has been received in architectural criticism. It aims to explore this relationship between architectural design and criticism within the disciplinary discourse. The thesis engages with the historical conditions that influenced the rejection of humour in Western architectural history and theory since the Renaissance. It connects this rejection to an enduring opposition between the philosophical interpretation of humour as incongruity or accident and the concepts of order and the ‘all knowing’ architect-author.

The study claims that the discourse on architectural Postmodernism, featuring a shift towards the idea of complexity, allowed a rudimentary acceptance of humour – albeit still in a suppressed manner. A more regular emergence of humour in the discourse around the architectural discipline can be located in Britain, specifically between the late 1970s and the 1990s. Such references can be found both in general conceptualisations of Postmodernism and in the reviews of individual buildings, but usually constitute quick comments rather than an in-depth analysis. This thesis argues that a close reading of specific buildings in their urban context, where intentional and unintentional incongruities blur, can reveal issues which are not addressed in the current discussions on architectural humour: such as ‘what is the value of humour?’ and ‘how does humour constitute a distinct category of meaning?’.

Manipulated photograph of James Stirling (Courtesy: Canadian Centre for Architecture, James Stirling/Michael Wilford fonds, AP140.S2.SS7.D1.P11.5)


Conference Participants

Azadeh Zaferani The Bartlett School of Architecture Supervisors: Professor Barbara Penner • Dr Nina Vollenbröker

Home [Un]Making: Objectified Interiors, Tehran 1963–2013

This research presents the process of homemaking in Tehran (Iran) from 1963 to 2013 when the exercise of extreme ideological paradoxes shaped the quotidian life of civilians. 1963 to 1979 marks the beginning and end of Mohammad Shah Pahlavi’s White Revolution, which promulgated social and economic reforms in favour of the working class. Similarly, 2005 to 2013 defines Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency and the announcement of the most ground-breaking welfare programme in the country’s history. Corporatist governance systems underpin both periods, impelled by high oil prices and the unique global economy of their time. While the White Revolution ended with the 1979 revolution, the post-revolutionary quest for welfare ended with mass privatisations. Nonetheless, comparing and contextualising these two distinct historical periods within a broader history clarifies hitherto unexplored relations. This thesis explores the domestic realm in Iran through the medium of dowry objects. Through this exercise, domestic

objects are examined according to their materials, scales, brands, aesthetics, and technology. On the one hand, microanalysis reveals strong ties between domestic production and consumption at different scales: from domestic objects to domestic spaces to urbanisation strategies to infrastructural developments. On the other hand, macro-analysis unpacks the impact of Iran’s prevailing international affairs on domestic matters as the country made its way towards modernisation. Consequently, this research sets out to unpack the masked relationship between the objectified domestic interiors in Iran and the aftermath of WWI, WWII, and the Cold War in western contexts. In this journey, we walk through forensic studies of individual dowry lists as ‘home-making’ manuals prior to the 1979 revolution in Iran. This study helps us understand ‘mass dowries’ as both material representations of post-revolutionary ‘welfarism’ and as manuals for ‘home unmaking’ after the revolution.

Dowry registry of Riza Quli Mirza’s daughter, 1914 (Courtesy: Manutchehr Malekqasemi’s collection; Women’s World in Qaja Iran Digital Archive. Harvard University, Middle Eastern Division, Boston, USA)


Recent Graduates

The Bartlett School of Architecture Supervisors: Professor Marjan Colletti • Professor Stephen Gage

Scripting Errors: A Taxonomy of Architectural Bodies’ Deviations as a Response to Uncertainty and Infinite Future Scenarios

This design research focuses on the importance of error in the evolution of form and the logic of matter distribution, describing its relationship to randomness and repetitive behaviour. While considering error as the path and the necessity for optimization, the question that arises is whether we can invent a process for creating an error system as a response to maximum efficiency and variation in architectural design, implemented in structural, fabrication, and formal research. How can we construct things when everything is possible/uncertain in the future by planning a malleable present with various scales of built elements that can adjust, adapt, and co-inhabit their environment? Through an analogy to the development process of an embryo into a full figure – and using computation and Cellular Automata systems as a model of growth and matter distribution combining randomness with finite data – a series of experiments establish a taxonomy of architectural bodies’ deviations and morphological

errors. This results in a ‘toolbox system’ that can be applied in various scales and conditions according to specified parameters, providing alterations to bodyform and varied possibilities for interaction with the context, environment, and other bodies while responding to uncertainty and infinite future scenarios. Different ‘body typologies’ are created, starting from linear structural elements to space dividers and to larger surface components providing detail, intensity, perforation, and lighting. Their proliferation – guided through assemblage sets of differential grids – leads to the build-up of big span structures and edifices such as a cathedral, drawing a reference to the detail resolution and the sculpting methodologies of Gothic architecture and Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. The research results are communicated through drawings, 3D visualizations, and fabrication prototypes, such as, one to one 3D printed components/tiles and a largescale robotic 3D printed concrete column prototype.

Space Distributors (Photograph: Yota Adilenidou)


Recent Graduates

Dr Yota Adilenidou

The Bartlett School of Architecture Supervisors: Professor Peg Rawes • Professor Mario Carpo

Architectural Transactions. Architecture in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (1665-1700)

This thesis investigates early modern architecture in the Philosophical Transactions, the monthly journal of the Royal Society of London. The journal, founded in 1665, is considered the first ‘scientific’ periodical in history as it focused on original empirical investigations informed by the Royal Society’s nascent culture of experiment. The thesis identifies the Transactions during its first 35 years of publication as a significant ‘site’ for studying seventeenth-century architecture as part of the journal’s experimental interest. On the one hand, the research examines the Transactions’ vast primary material as an original source for architectural history; on the other hand, it identifies the journal as a form of early modern architecture. The thesis argues that architecture in the journal emerges through forms of ‘transaction’, i.e. systems and networks of relations between authors, objects, and places; design practices and trade; writing and drawing; travelling and building; copying, editing, and printing. These are examined through the Transactions’ local

and international modes of production, such as its manufacturing process, and in the journal’s vast amount of written and drawn contents, such as experimental reports, image-making and travel narratives. Through these aspects, early modern architecture in the Transactions appears as a system of processes through primarily lesser-known practices and authors, expanding on existing scholarship on late seventeenth-century English architecture and architects (e.g. Wren and Hooke). The thesis is divided into four chapters. First, it investigates the journal’s material production and its relationship with architectural practices in post-1666 London. Then it examines the strategies for making and composing the journal’s vast visual apparatus. Successively, it studies the written contents of the journal as a way to present architecture through modes of writing and transmitting distant information. Finally, it traces the European dimension of the Transactions, especially concerning France and the Netherlands.

Martin Lister, View of the Multangular Tower in York, in Philosophical Transactions, vol. 13, n. 149, 1683


Recent Graduates

Dr Gregorio Astengo

Supervisors: Professor Jonathan Hill • Professor Christine Hawley

Landscapes From Within: Architectural Engagements and Speculations with Urban Trees

This thesis explores trees as a vehicle for discussing and designing urban spaces. Green spaces and trees have been approached in their capacity to help cities cope with the urgent environmental challenges of climate change. Additionally, the unique performative qualities of trees – which include their spatial complexity – allow them to trigger processes of architectural and urban imagination. A multidisciplinary approach to trees, focusing on their roles in the city and in architecture, introduces spatial, ethical, cultural, environmental, and aesthetic modes of engagement. The design projects aim to capture specificities of trees in an array of urban contexts, from dense cityscapes to newly appropriated spaces and park landscapes. The exploratory approach to the spatial, narrative, cultural, and aesthetic complexity of these landscapes allows me to ‘design from within’. The design methods, which unfold the spatial and architectural framework of the research, range from architectural drawings and performative exercises to terrestrial three-dimensional

scanning technology. Informed by these modes, my heuristic process explores the articulation between natural elements and built structures in urban contexts. Ultimately, the thesis highlights the potential of terrestrial three-dimensional scanning in formulating original design responses that enable a speculative interpretation of trees in the city. The research explores both direct aspects of trees and the speculative potential of the urban landscapes in which they are integrated. Historical, analytical and associative accounts, alongside a fictional narrative, incorporate findings while immersing the reader into the ‘unconscious’ of the landscapes. The design process opens the path to an architecture that establishes spatial and metaphorical relationships with trees and the landscape. The multidimensional perspective on trees and their contexts alongside the original procedures of designing from within a landscape are an argument for a profound integration of the ‘natural’ and the ‘urban’ in the future design of cities.


Recent Graduates

Dr Inês Dantas The Bartlett School of Architecture

Supervisors: Professor Iain Borden • Professor Jane Rendell

Finding the Island of Imbros: A Spatial History of Displacement and Emplacement

The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne was the final peace treaty that concluded the First World War. In recognising the borders of the new Republic of Turkey, this treaty also determined that only two islands – Imbros and Tenedos – from among the hundreds which populated the Aegean would henceforth belong to Turkey under special conditions. These conditions stipulated by the Lausanne Treaty ensured that the native Rum (Anatolian Greek) communities – the main ethnic groups inhabiting both islands – would henceforth be acknowledged as an ethnic minority of Turkey and would be duly protected with administrative autonomy. In the meantime, a widespread and compulsory population exchange between Turkey and Greece began. Until the 1960s the Rum on Imbros led their life on the island as a quiet minority within the Republic of Turkey, but as the majority group on the island itself. This was a situation unprecedented among the other settlements within Turkey that held a Rum population after the 1923 exchange. However, during the 1960s and

1970s, the Turkish state embarked upon an ambitious restructuring process on Imbros. This involved the construction of various public institutions and new settlements on expropriated Rum lands and resulted in a vigorous displacement of the Rum on Imbros from their island. Reshaped by such a multi-layered process, the island of Imbros has become a highly illustrative case in revealing how the phenomenon of displacement is entangled within the concepts of emplacement, diaspora, and return. This thesis examines the spatial history of Imbros in order to unpack the nature of this entanglement in detail by examining the three different names for the island: İmroz, Gökçeada, and Imbros. Each name is currently employed by a different interest group involved in the island’s history of displacement and emplacement – meaning that each name presents an additional spatio-temporal layer that can be associated with certain architectural and historical practices, and for this study a tool for conducting research.

Dami buildings, traditional summerhouses of the Rum, no longer occupied


Recent Graduates

Dr Sevcan Ercan The Bartlett School of Architecture

The Bartlett School of Architecture Supervisors : Professor Iain Borden • Professor Murray Fraser

The History of the Socialist City of Yekaterinburg: Planning, Construction, Social Urban Development, and Architectural Design (1920s–1980s)

The thesis explores the Soviet history of urban growth and architectural change of Yekaterinburg: an industrial city situated on the eastern side of the Ural Mountains in Russia, formerly known as Sverdlovsk. While taking into account the spatial and social transformations of Yekaterinburg, as well as the theoretical and ideological premises, the research draws attention to a less acknowledged – but essential – attribute of the Soviet socialist city: namely the industrial constituent. The study unveils the prerequisites for the utilised schemes of spatial facilitation for industrial and residential infrastructure by analysing the Soviet architectural discourse, the related theoretical propositions, and by exploring the creation of Soviet city planning policies and practices of construction. Through the development of an understanding of the significant role of the industrial component in the planning and development of a specific Soviet socialist city, more complex and hidden processes of the physical and

social construct are allowed to emerge. Thus, the research traces how the spatial relations of a city and an industrial enterprise were initially envisioned and predicted in the early Soviet projects by architects and planners, what problems they were preparing to address, and how these urban industrial relations were realised in practice. The study demonstrates and focuses on how industrial construction and industrial growth shaped the form and plan of an industrial city, how tensions between industrial sites and the city escalated throughout the Second World War, and how this led to serious spatial and ecological problems in the later Soviet years. The study also addresses the themes of conflict in planning, the unequal distribution of power and control over the organisation and construction of the urban-industrial environment, and the subsequent attempts to mitigate the consequences of such unbalanced development.

First residential quarters of Sotsgorod Uralmash, 1930s (Courtesy: GASO)


Recent Graduates

Dr Nadezda Gobova

The Bartlett School of Architecture Supervisors: Professor Peter Bishop • Professor Iain Borden

Productive Urban Landscapes: Everyday Rhythms Surrounding Sites of Urban Agriculture in Havana, Cuba

Sites of urban food-production in the Cuban city of Havana are an adaptable land resource that support food sovereignty and access to green-medicine. They are part of an everyday urban complexity that involves the social, economic, and ecological. While this is hard to describe when viewed from a distance, it is important to get close to such sites in order to better understand how they are made and re-made, and whether there are lessons to be found within that could inform this ever-evolving city. Henri Lefebvre made the powerful supposition that cultures dynamically produce space over time – which in turn shapes society. To further explore this, he developed the concept of ‘rhythmanalysis’ as a tool to understand the relationship between society and space. Rhythmanalysis offers this study a means of interpreting the everyday, heterogeneous, and evolving urban narratives of the city. It provides an important tool for interrogating these food-production sites as a means of challenging how they could be re-imagined within Havana. Focusing on sites of cultivation across different parts of the city, this research engages with how social, economic, and ecological rhythms entwine over time to create the oeuvre

of everyday life. It concentrates on beats that are particular to Havana such as: the quotidian, the seasonal, the slow decay of infrastructure, the collapse of buildings, and the resourcefulness of invention. The study documents these ways in which the urban everyday is continually reproduced and important to this city. Since 2011, reforms have been made by the Cuban government to expand selfemployment and to incrementally move Cuba towards a freer market-economy. Capturing this period of transition (20122019), a form of rhythmanalysis was used to listen, while drawing and mapping were used to record. These served as both analytical and illustrative tools to examine the evolving socio-spatial practices of these urban-agriculture sites. These rhythmanalysis-based studies have developed into an architectural proposition that seeks to intercede in the everyday urban complexity – not as a means to change life, but to accomplish a tiny revolutionary transformation in the city.

Site Urban Agriculture, Cayo Hueso, Centro Habana (Photograph: Susan Anne Mansel Fitzgerald)


Recent Graduates

Dr Susan Anne Mansel Fitzgerald

The Bartlett School of Architecture Supervisors: Professor Peter Bishop • Professor Claire Colomb • Professor Yeoryia Manolopoulou

Infrastructures of Caring Citizenship: Citizen-Led Welfare Initiatives in CrisisRidden Athens, Greece

The thesis presents an ethnographic and practice-based investigation on Infrastructures of Caring Citizenship (ICCs). ICCs refers to self-organised initiatives of provision of welfare and social protection, as well as of struggle against processes of dispossession (of the means of subsistence and rights) in urban contexts in crisis. The concept is developed through four situated case studies in Athens, Greece, which emerged during the austerity regime (2010–2018) imposed in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis. Crisis defines the empirical context of this thesis but also constitutes a site of conceptual interrogation. Four dimensions of crisis are distinguished: imaginary, empirical-experiential, subjective, and critical-insurgent. The concepts of care, citizenship, and infrastructure are used as lenses through which to examine contemporary crises as well as the four

ICCs that comprise the field of this thesis. This two-level theoretical framework articulates the construction – and de-construction – of ‘Athens-in-crisis’, a backdrop as much as a medium for many of the transformations in the city during this period. By means of an ‘Expanded Ethnography’, an approach that combines ethnographic fieldwork with creative collaborative exercises, this research shows how ICCs enact a citizen-led counterresponse to The Crisis and the way it has been managed by both government and non-government institutions. This thesis argues that certain aspects of the ICCs concerning forms of organising, doing politics, articulating collective bonds and representations, and producing space contribute to a radical imagination of care linked to citizenship with potential implications for urban change beyond crisis.

City Plaza Kitchen (Isabel Gutiérrez Sánchez, 2016)


Recent Graduates

Dr Isabel Gutiérrez Sánchez

The Bartlett School of Architecture Supervisors: Professor Yeoryia Manolopoulou • Professor Jonathan Hill

Leftover City. Alternative Uses of Leftover Sites in Amsterdam (1952–1978) and Nicosia (1974–2014)

The thesis introduces the term ‘Leftover City’ in order to investigate the presence of leftover sites in urban environments and the impact that these sites had historically and still have in the work of architects, critical theorists, artists as well as policy makers and city users. The term ‘leftover’ describes sites that are abandoned, underused and, usually, neglected by the dominant patterns of use in the city. To understand the phenomenon of leftover sites, this research considers both the historical conditions and the mechanisms that are responsible for their production. It investigates the varied forces, circumstances and actions that create leftover sites, and explores the similarities and differences between leftover sites from various places and eras. The thesis is divided into two parts that are respectively related with two cities and two different parts of the twentieth century. The first is dedicated to

Amsterdam, focusing on the post-war rise of the welfare state and urban regeneration through the case study of Aldo van Eyck’s Playgrounds project. The second part is dedicated to Nicosia and investigates the ‘hidden gardens’ as a historical typology of domestic architecture that has survived the changes of the twentieth century. Whereas the first part takes an analytical approach, the second part adopts a propositional approach. The research question is whether leftover sites can act as a resource for urban life by hosting temporary or alternative uses. The ‘Leftover City’ is a term that describes the possibilities that the sum of leftover sites can have for the city when they are acknowledged as resources, and when they are documented and treated as a network parallel to the dominant routine networks of the city.

Nicosia Islands (Models of the leftover sites as islands with a natural context at their core and framed by a programmatic zone)


Recent Graduates

Dr Christos Papastergiou

Supervisors: Professor Iain Borden • Professor Adrian Forty

Shells and Architecture

Mollusc shells have featured in Western architecture since Antiquity, as a readily available natural material, as decoration, as symbols, as metaphors, as inspiration for forms and structures. In the twentieth century architecture, shells were also present, but little acknowledged. My thesis was a historical enquiry into the diverse ways that shells operated in twentieth century architectural culture, their trivialization, and the possible reasons for their absence from most accounts. No precedent for such a study exists, and the thesis provided an overview, more complete than any existing, of a wide range of twentieth century architects, and buildings in Europe and North America within which shells appear. Treating their use with reference to the written and spoken record of architects, critics and thinkers of many descriptions, both presences and absences are illuminated. Among thinkers, particular attention was paid to Paul Valéry, not simply because of his possible influence

upon Le Corbusier, but for the force and resonances of his 1936 essay ‘L’homme et la coquille’ for the topic as a whole. The study of shells in architecture presented a difficulty in that, to a greater extent than with any other architectural element, shells alternate between actual things and ideas, sometimes both simultaneously. Detaching the two aspects would be to lose sight of the particularity of their operations in architecture. The thesis adopted a structure intended, so far as was possible, to prevent such a separation, and to avoid privileging any one manifestation of shells over another. Five loose shell features – ‘encrustation’, ‘subaquatic’, ‘rubbish’, ‘spirals’, and ‘exoskeleton’ – were taken as ‘traits’ through which to catch their occurrence within twentieth century architecture as both things and ideas. Included was a study of shells as linguistic and design metaphors, incorporating one of the principal structural innovations of the twentieth century, so-called ‘shell structures’.

Renaat Braem, Els Severin and an unidentified friend, Caribbean or Mexico, c.1970s (Courtesy: Stadsarchief Antwerpen, 2345#0)


Recent Graduates

Dr Freya Wigzell The Bartlett School of Architecture

Supervisors: Professor Stephen Gage • Professor Hugo Spiers

Doppelkopf Neuroarchitecture. A Wicked Threshold Space

The relationship between built architecture and spatial perception is central to architectural practice and thinking and an interrelation between architecture and the humanities and sciences interested in human experience can be traced historically. Following a primarily phenomenological tradition, the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century have evolved a marked intersection between architecture and neuroscience, commonly known as neuroarchitecture. This PhD situates its research within neuroarchitectural discourse to explore reciprocities and parallels between neural constructions of a cognitive map and architectural thinking about design focusing on the experiential qualities of built architecture. This interstitial exploration is done through the invention of the character of the Doppelkopf [‘doubleheaded’ in German] who enacts the position of a researcher in both architecture and neuroscience. The work takes a critical view of neuroarchitecture and questions

contemporary approaches that are focused on often solipsistic and predetermined, outcome-driven design validation. The thesis explores three questions: (1) What sensible potentials does neuroarchitecture hold? How might architecture and neuroscience operate and mutually produce and integrate knowledge? (2) How do spatial cells in the hippocampal formation construct the cognitive map and scaffold the experiential qualities of built architecture and does this relate to the way that architects think about design? (3) How valuable is the ‘Doppelkopf’ as a method of personal, transdisciplinary research? The thesis develops an open, threshold system of thinking and practice where neuroarchitectural potentials inform and enrich both design and neuroscientific research by proposing the notion of ‘Wickedness’ as integral to creative movement. ‘Wickedness’ and the notion of the threshold as a dynamic space of change offer potential for discovery rather than delivery of (pre)set outcomes. Distorting Space (Experiment in collaboration with Spierslab, Institute for Behavioural Neuroscience, UCL)


Recent Graduates

Dr Fiona Zisch The Bartlett School of Architecture

Conference Participants’ Biographies

Alexandra Lăcătușu completed her Bachelor’s

with the Study Society in London, where she

degree at University of Kent (2013) and Master’s

participated in public ceremonies. She is also

at Oxford Brookes University (2018). Following

a facilitator of ‘Yoga Nidra’; an ancient practice

both practice and research work, she began

that stimulates a liminal state of consciousness.

her PhD at The Bartlett School of Architecture in 2020. Her research explores environmental

Athina Petsou is a chemical and materials

dynamics and moss-microbe interactions as

engineer trained by the National Technical

parameters for curating moss ecologies within

University of Athens (2015). She specialises

architectural materials. Based on in-vivo

in restoration and conservation of historic

observational studies, laboratory experiments

buildings and is currently doing her PhD at

and in-situ interventions, the aim is to quantify

the Institute of Environmental Engineering

pollutant absorption by wall-dwelling bryophytes

& Design, The Bartlett, in cooperation with

grown on bioreceptive scaffolds. She is currently

Historic England. Her research interests focus

Teaching Assistant in the Bio-Integrated

on sustainability, conservation of historic

Design MArch/MSc at The Bartlett School of

buildings, using interdisciplinary methods. In

Architecture and Associate Lecturer for the

her work, she aims to challenge the one-fits-all

RIBA Studio programme at Oxford Brookes

approach around thermal comfort toward a

School of Architecture.

new paradigm with a user-centric perspective to contribute to a more holistic and sustainable

Atheer Al Mulla Architect by UAEU (2009) and

retrofit design and interventions.

founder of Barzakh ( ‫ ) خزرب‬an online platform devoted to philosophical and theoretical

Azadeh Zaferani holds a BA in Architecture

inquiries. Her work focuses on exploring

from American University of Sharjah (2004)

notions of ‘liminality’ and ‘embodiment’ within

and an MA in Urban Design from University

modern architectural space. In addition to her

of Toronto (2013). She is the founder and

architectural education and training, which

director of a non-profit research platform for

spanned 17 years, Atheer has trained in several

art and design: Platform 28 and a gallery for

transcendental and meditative practices which

contemporary art: Ab-Anbar, where her interest

highly influenced her take on space-body

in spatial discourses meets artistic productions.

constructs. She trained as a whirling dervish

She has practiced as an architect and urban


designer and is currently a PhD candidate at

architecture and humour, which she explores

The Bartlett School of Architecture. Her research

in her doctoral studies at UCL, supported by the

focuses on exploring domesticity through the

London Arts & Humanities Partnership. Katerina

medium of listed objects in Iran, an exercise

has talked about this topic at conferences,

that enables her to bring to light the many ways

lectures, and public events internationally, and

in which homes are subject to planning from

is the first architect to have presented a paper

above. She currently teaches at University

at the International Society for Humor Studies

of Ravensbourne, De Montfort University in

Conference, on its 30th anniversary.

Leicester, and University College London.

Mark Garcia Irene Manzini Ceinar is an urban designer with

Mark teaches at The Bartlett School of

a background in architecture. She holds a BSc

Architecture and the Department of History of

and an MSc in Architecture from the Politecnico

Art at University College London. He has worked

di Milano, and an MRes from The Bartlett School

as an academic at St. Antony’s College (Oxford

of Planning. Currently, she is a PhD candidate at

University) and as Deputy Head and Head of

The Bartlett School of Architecture funded by

Research (2003-2010) in the Department of

ESRC and Visiting Assistant in Research (VAR) at

Architecture and Interiors at the Royal College

Yale School of Architecture. Along with teaching

of Art. He has worked in practice at Branson

roles at Politecnico di Milano, The Bartlett School

Coates Architecture and Skidmore Owings and

of Planning, and the LSBU, Irene is Research

Merrill. Mark has guest-edited three issues of

Fellow at the COST Action CA18214 European-

Architectural Design and is currently working on

funded project “The geography of new working

his fourth Posthuman Architectures AD (Wiley,

spaces and impact on the periphery”.

2023). He is the editor of The Diagrams of Architecture (Wiley, 2010). He has lectured and

Jhono Bennett has been practicing

exhibited his work around the world and his 2017

architecture since 2008 in South Africa. He is

solo show of photographs on the models of Zaha

co-founder of 1to1 – Agency of Engagement,

Hadid was exhibited at Cornell University (School

a design-led social enterprise formed in

of AAP) in the USA.

Johannesburg in 2010 to support the multiscalar work being done to redevelop post-

Rebecca Loewen is a PhD Candidate in

Apartheid southern African cities in the face of

Architectural Design at The Bartlett School of

systemic spatial inequality. Jhono is currently a

Architecture, UCL and a practicing architect

doctoral candidate in the TACK / Communities

based in Winnipeg, Canada. Rebecca’s

of Tacit Knowledge: Architecture and its Ways

research draws from architectural design, art

of Knowing network at The Bartlett School

practice, art history and theory, filmmaking

of Architecture. His practice-led research

and architectural history and theory. Her

interests include issues of spatial justice, critical

doctoral research applies Marcel Duchamp’s

positionality, inclusive design approaches, and

concept of inframince to spaces in architecture,

urban planning in South African cities.

performance, and writing. Rebecca is a former Akademie Schloss Solitude architecture fellow

Katerina Zacharopoulou holds an Architect

and a founding member of the Film Place

Engineer Diploma from the Aristotle University

Collective, an interdisciplinary research

of Thessaloniki and an MA in History &

collective working in curation and publication.

Critical Thinking from the Architectural Association, where she now teaches. Since

Olivia Duncan is an architect and urbanist

her undergraduate studies Katerina has

holding an MSc from Oxford University in

developed an interest in the connection between

Sustainable Urban Development and is now a


PhD Candidate at The Bartlett School

Rachel Valbrun received her Bachelor’s

of Architecture. She has dedicated the last

in Architecture from the University of Miami,

twelve years of her career to the Abu Dhabi

Florida and a Master’s in Environmental and

government and has served multiple sectors at

Urban Planning from the University of Virginia.

the Department of Municipalities and Transport.

She is currently a PhD candidate at The Bartlett

She is currently part of the Department of

Development Planning Unit. Her research

Municipalities and Transport’s Urban Design

focuses on how architectural and urban

Studio working on a variety of urban and

design influence land tenure for vulnerable

strategic assignments. Olivia has also been

communities affected by disasters. She is

lecturing in parallel to her practice work. Prior

also studying the role of built-environment

to her experience in the UAE, Olivia worked with

professionals in Port-au-Prince’s post-disaster

architects in New Zealand, Australia, and Brazil.

reconstruction. Rachel has practiced as an architect, urban designer, and construction

Olivier Bellflamme is a Belgian architect based

project manager and taught undergraduate

in London. After working in Mexico City for Frida

architectural design studio courses in the

Escobedo he graduated from the MA History and

United States of America.

Critical Thinking at the Architectural Association in 2018. He is also the founder of Lucrèce Project:

Xiuzheng Li is an architectural and landscape

an art residency programme that invites artists

designer. He is currently a PhD student at

to realise in-situ artworks in remote areas

The Bartlett School of Architecture, studying in

around the globe. During a project on the

the Architectural and Urban History & Theory

Parícutin volcano in Mexico, he discovered

program. His research concentrates on food-

the books of ethnographer Carl Lumholt

activity spaces exploring the socio-cultural

that led to his current doctoral project.

significance of spaces in different contexts, as well as the interdisciplinary study of architecture, landscape, anthropology, and everyday practice. He was awarded a BArch and MArch degree from Tsinghua University, and in 2020 he completed an MLA degree from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.


Recent Graduates’ Biographies

Dr Yota Adilenidou holds a Diploma in

Christiana Ioannou, he has received awards

Architecture from AUTh, an MSc AAD from

in architectural competitions and his work

GSAPP, Columbia University and a PhD in

has been widely exhibited and published. He

Architectural Design from The Bartlett School

currently teaches architecture design studios

of Architecture. Yota is the director of Arch-

at the University of Cyprus and University

hives Ltd., a practice that focuses on the

of Nicosia.

research of computational methodologies and digital fabrication for the evolution and

Dr Fiona Zisch studied architecture at the

activation of matter and form. She has worked

University of Innsbruck, Austria and Lunds

with renowned architectural practices, co-

Tekniska Högskola, Sweden. She is a Lecturer

curated international exhibition and lectures,

at The Bartlett School of Architecture and a

and designed experimental installations for

Visiting Lecturer at the University of Innsbruck.

numerous exhibitions. She was Adjunct Lecturer

She is part of the UCL research group Spierslab

at AUTh and Visiting Lecturer at Hertfordshire

and the Interactive Architecture Lab. Fiona’s

University, London College of Contemporary

research explores cognitive ecologies with a

Arts, Central Saint Martins, and University of

focus on intuition and radical embodiment and

Brighton. She is currently a Lecturer at University

how ‘neuroarchitecture’ as a transdisciplinary

of Westminster and Chelsea College of Arts

threshold might develop more critical and

and Theory Tutor at the MA AD at The Bartlett

progressive thinking. Her work has been

School of Architecture..

published in journals like Architectural Design and Nature Communications.

Dr Christos Papastergiou holds a Diploma / MArch in Architecture (2002), an MSc in

Dr Freya Wigzell is an architectural historian.

Architecture Design Theory (2004) from the

She works as an associate lecturer at Oxford

National Technical University of Athens (NTUA),

Brookes and Greenwich. Currently she is

and a PhD in Architectural Design from The

completing research on an eighteenth-century

Bartlett School of Architecture, which he

shell house which she has been studying,

completed with a scholarship from the Hellenic

intermittently, for nearly ten years. She has

Republic (IKY). He is co-founder of the practice

also been studying the French author Paul

draftworks*architects. In collaboration with

Valéry, amongst others, for what he might


offer towards a resistance to overly systematic

within experimental frameworks. Her work has

tendencies in architectural criticism and history.

been exhibited at the London Design Festival,

One attraction of Valéry is his respect for

Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology

and understanding of the classical tradition,

Lisbon (MAAT), and Unfolding Pavilion in

while attempting something modern and

Venice. She teaches at the Technical University

revolutionary, rethinking everything from

of Munich where she is Chair of Architectural


Design and Participation. Inês has taught at the Institute for Experimental Architecture, Innsbruck

Dr Gregorio Astengo is an architect and

University, University of Brighton, Architectural

historian. He holds an MA from Politecnico di

Association Visiting School Singapore and has

Torino (2012) and Postgraduate Certificate

lectured at Lisbon Triennale, Milan Polytechnic,

in Advanced Architectural Research from

Mumbai Rizvi College of Architecture, and San

The Bartlett School of Architecture (2014). In

Francisco Academy of Art University.

2019 he completed his PhD at The Bartlett, funded by the London Arts and Humanities

Dr Isabel Gutiérrez Sánchez is an architect

Partnership. Gregorio has lectured and

(ETSAM, 2012) and anthropologist (UCM, 2014).

published internationally on early modern and

She completed the MSc City Design & Social

modern architecture. He has been teaching

Science (LSE, 2015) and did her PhD at The

assistant at UCL and Queen Mary (University

Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL, 2020) on

of London), adjunct professor at Syracuse

crossings among care, citizenship, commoning

University London and lecturer at the New

and space in self-organised initiatives in Athens

College of the Humanities. Gregorio is currently

(Greece) during the austerity regime. She

Wissenschaftlicher Assistent at the Institute for

teaches at The Bartlett School of Planning and

the History and Theory of Architecture, ETH

has previously taught at the UCL Department


of Art History and the DPU. Her work explores practices and spaces of life in common

Dr Inês Dantas is a Portuguese-born architect,

and collective care within contemporary

co-founder of WUDA* Wurfbaum Dantas

urban contexts marked by processes of

Architects. Inês engages in housing and urban

neoliberalisation and crisis.

schemes, cultural projects and green networks


Dr Nadezda Gobova has recently completed

in the Architecture Department of Istanbul

her PhD at The Bartlett School of Architecture,

Medeniyet University.

where she researched design, planning, and construction of Soviet industrial cities with a

Dr Susan Anne Mansel Fitzgerald is an

focus on Yekaterinburg (formerly Sverdlovsk).

Assistant Professor of Architectural Design and

Previously, Nadezda studied architecture

Practice at Dalhousie University’s Faculty of

at the Academy of Art University in San

Architecture and Planning in Halifax, Canada,

Francisco, as a Fulbright Scholar, and at the

as well as the Design Director of the architectural

Ural State Academy of Architecture and Arts

practice FBM. Her book entitled Havana:

in Yekaterinburg. She practiced architecture

Mapping Lived Experiences of Urban Agriculture,

in Russia, in the USA, and in the UK. She was

for Routledge Press, is forthcoming in Spring

involved in a wide range of projects including

2022. Her design work has been the recipient

residential and public developments as well

of many accolades including the Canada

as larger schemes of urban regeneration in

Council for the Arts Professional Prix de Rome,

Moscow and Kaliningrad.

the Canadian Architect Award, the Governor General’s Medal in Architecture, the Wood

Dr Sevcan Ercan initially trained as an

Design Award, the EnRoute Air Canada Award,

architect, receiving her BA in Architecture

several Lieutenant Governor’s Awards, and

from the Middle East Technical University in

the SABMag Canadian Green Building of the

Turkey. After working on several archaeological

Year Award.

sites and conservation projects across Turkey, Sevcan relocated to London in order to pursue an MA in Architectural History, followed by a PhD in Architectural History and Theory at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. Her doctoral research is focused on the island of Imbros/Gökçeada/İmroz in the North Aegean, examining spatial histories of displacements and emplacements in relation to the island’s communities. Sevcan is currently a lecturer



MPhil/PhD supervisors:

Professor Jane Rendell (Bartlett), Harriet

Dr Allen Abramson (Anthropology), Professor

Richardson (Bartlett), Professor Kerstin Sailer

Robert Biel (Bartlett), Professor Peter Bishop

(Bartlett), Professor Lara Schrijver (University

(Bartlett), Professor Iain Borden (Bartlett),

of Antwerp), Dr Tania Sengupta (Bartlett),

Roberto Bottazzi (Bartlett), Jos Boys (Bartlett),

Professor Bob Sheil (Bartlett), Professor Mark

Dr Eva Branscome (Bartlett), Professor Victor

Smout (Bartlett), Colin Thom (Bartlett), Dr

Buchli (UCL Anthropology), Professor Ben

Nina Vollenbröker (Bartlett), Dr Tim Waterman

Campkin (Bartlett), Professor Mario Carpo

(Bartlett), Dr Robin Wilson (Bartlett), Professor

(Bartlett), Professor Nat Chard (Bartlett),

Oliver Wilton (Bartlett), Dr Fiona Zisch (Bartlett).

Professor Marjan Colletti (Bartlett), Professor Marc-Olivier Coppens (UCL Chemical

MPhil/PhD Architectural Design Students

Engineering), Professor Marcos Cruz (Bartlett),

Abdullah Al-Dabbous, Ava Aghakouchak,

Professor Edward Denison (Bartlett), Dr Simon

Lena Asai, Paul Bavister, Richard Beckett, Olivier

Donger (Royal Central School of Speech and

Bellflamme, Jhono Bennett, Matthew Butcher,

Drama), Professor Adrian Forty (Bartlett),

William Victor Camilleri, Niccolo Casas, Ting

Professor Murray Fraser (Bartlett), Professor

Ding, Killian Doherty, Daniyal Farhani, Judit

Stephen Gage (Bartlett), Dr Jane Gilbert (SELCS),

Ferencz, Pavlos Fereos, Fernando P. Ferreira,

Dr Ruairi Glynn (Bartlett), Dr Liza Griffin (Bartlett),

Naomi Gibson, Felix Graf, Danielle Hewitt,

Dr Sam Griffiths (Bartlett), Peter Guillery

Zhenhang Hu, Jesicca In, Nina Jotanovic,

(Bartlett), Professor Sean Hanna (Bartlett),

Nikoletta Karastathi, Paul King, Dionysia Kypraiou,

Professor Penelope Haralambidou (Bartlett),

Alexandra Lacatusu, Rebecca Loewen, Elin

Professor Neil Heyde (Royal Academy of Music),

Eyborg Lund, Shneel Malik, Emma Kate Matthews,

Professor Jonathan Hill (Bartlett), Dr Rebecca

Hamish Muir, Chi Nguyen, Phuong-Trâm Nguyen,

Jennings (UCL History), Dr Jan Kattein (Bartlett),

Aisling O’Carroll, Daniel Ovalle Costal, Annarita

Professor Susanne Kuechler (UCL Anthropology),

Papeschi, Thomas Parker, Arthur Prior, Zoe Quick,

Dr Guan Lee (Bartlett), Dr Chris Leung (Bartlett),

Sarah Riviere, Ramandeep Shergill, Alexandru

Dr Jerome Lewis (UCL Anthropology), Professor

Senciuc, Wiltrud Simbuerger, Elin Soderberg,

CJ Lim (Bartlett), Professor Christoph Lindner,

Sayan Skandarajah, Sam Van Strien, Jonathan

Dr Barbara Lipietz (Bartlett), Professor Yeoryia

Tyrrell, Anna Wild, Henrietta Williams, Eric Wong,

Manolopoulou (Bartlett), Dr Clare Melhuish (UCL

Sandra Youkhana, Seda Zirek, Nona Zakoyan.

Urban Lab), Professor Mark Miodownik (UCL (School of Slavonic and East European Studies),

MPhil/PhD Architectural and Urban History & Theory Students

Professor Sharon Morris (Slade), Dr Brenda

Omar Abolnaga, Yahia Abulfadl, Alena

Parker (Biochemical Engineering), Dr Luke

Agafonova, Atheer Al Mulla, Vasileios Aronidis,

Pearson (Bartlett), Professor Alan Penn (Bartlett),

Sebastian Buser, Thomas Callan-Rilley,

Professor Barbara Penner (Bartlett), Professor

Paola Camasso, Chin-Wei Chang, Mollie

Ioannis Papakonstantinou, (Electronic and

Claypool, Miranda Critchley, Kerri Culhane,

Electrical Engineering), Professor Sophia Psarra

Sally Cummings, Olivia Duncan, Kirti Durelle,

(Bartlett), Dr Caroline Rabourdin (University

Tom Dyckhoff, Pol Esteve, Christiane Felber,

of Greenwich), Professor Peg Rawes (Bartlett),

Stephannie Fell, Harry Foley, Clemency Gibbs,

Mechanical Engineering), Dr Michal Murawski


Ryan Kearney, Thomas Keeley, Xiuzheng Li,

This catalogue has been produced to accompany

Yiming Liu, Te-Chen Lu, Duy Mac, Kieran

PhD Research Projects 2022, the sixteenth annual

Mahon, Soledad Perez Martinez, Ana Mayoral

conference devoted to doctoral research at

Moratilla, Carlo Menon, Papavarnavas Michail,

The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL,

Matthew Poulter, Anthony Presland, Patricia

22 – 24 February 2022.

Rodrigues Ferreira Da Silva, Diana Paola Salazar Morales, Saptarshi Sanyal, Petra Seitz, Lina

Edited by Nina Vollenbröker, Stephannie Fell

Sun, Alessandro Toti, Claire Tunnacliffe, Maria

and Jhono Bennett.

Venegas Raba, Adam Walls, Azadeh Zaferani,

Designed by Avni Patel |

Katerina Zaharopoulou.

Printed in England by Pureprint Ltd.

Submitted and/or completed doctorates 2021-22

Copyright © 2022 The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.

Ruth Bernatek, Giulio Brugnaro, Bill Hodgson, Ifigeneia Liangi, Thomas Pearce, Amy Spencer,

All rights reserved. No part of this publication

Dimitrie Stefanescu, Quynh Vantu, Daniel

may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or


by any means, electronic or mechanic, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the publisher. PhD Research Projects 2022 is supported by The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, UCL.


Past PhD Research Projects Conference and Exhibition


Micrograph of photosynthetic moss gametophytes (Photograph: Alexandra Lăcătușu)

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.