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PhD Research Projects 2014


PhD Research Projects 2014

Tuesday 25 february 2014 Conference: 9.30am–6.30pm The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL Wates House / 22 Gordon Street / London


contents

5 6

8

Preface

22

Introduction

Learning from Los Santos:

The Spatial Controls and Cultural

Bernadette Devilat

Locomotive of Videogames

Re-Construction and Record: Exploring

as an Architectural Procedure

Alternatives for Heritage Areas after Earthquakes in Chile 10

24

cindy walters

in Formerly Jewish Shtetls 26

Colin Herperger

Aesthetic of (High) Entropy

with Which We Might Play 28

Elo Masing

16

30

Practice: Reading and Writing

Text, Image, Space: A Preliminary Inquiry

John Soane’s Lectures (1810–1836)

into the Architecture of the Philosophical

18

32

Benjamin’s Radio Talks for Children

An Architectural Enquiry into the

34

Theory of Peace-Process Landscapes

Laurie Bamon

Crisis in the Garden?

Wesley Aelbrecht

Photographing Detroit: Decline

in-between Irelands 20

Tom Wilkinson

Architecture on the Radio: Walter

Irene Kelly

Sublime and Beautiful: An Aesthetic

Sophie Read

Architectural History as Performative

Gregorio Astengo

Transactions, 1665–1700

Onya McCausland

Turning Landscape into Colour

Mapping or Choreographing?: Redefining Musical Notation

Niccolo Casas

Catabiosis: Toward an

Making an Architecture

14

Natalia Romik

Memory and Emptiness

Rethinking the Pavilion 12

Luke Pearson

and Renaissance in the 1950s and 1980s 36 38

Biographies Credits


preface

Dr Penelope Haralambidou Co-ordinator, MPhil/PhD Programmes

Professor Jonathan Hill

Director, MPhil/PhD Architectural Design

Dr Barbara Penner

Director, MPhil/PhD Architectural History & Theory

P

hD Research Projects 2014 is the

discussions between presenters, exhibitors,

exhibition related to doctoral research

The conference papers are organised in

seventh annual conference and

at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. The event is open to the public and involves presentations by students undertaking the

MPhil/PhD Architectural Design and MPhil/ PhD Architectural History & Theory with

invited contributions by students from MPhil/

staff, students, critics and the audience.

pairs of thematic or methodological links, while this year’s exhibition considers the relations between doctoral research,

architectural design and expanded notions of drawing and making.

Organised and curated by Dr Penelope

PhD at the Slade and History of Art, UCL.

Haralambidou, PhD Research Projects

by MPhil/PhD students at the Royal

Royal Academy of Music; Dr Emma Cheatle,

This year we have again invited contributions Academy of Music, as part of our continuing collaboration with the school. Leading to

2014 has six invited critics: Dr Sarah Callis,

University of Westminster; Dr Roy Kozlovsky, Tel Aviv University; Professor Perry Kulper,

a PhD in Architecture, the two Bartlett

University of Michigan; Professor John

encourage originality and creativity. Over 70

and Dr Nina VollenbrĂśker, UCL.

School of Architecture doctoral programmes students are currently enrolled and the range

Macarthur, The University of Queensland; Presenting this year are: Wesley

of research subjects undertaken is broad.

Aelbrecht, Gregorio Astengo, Laurie

exhibition focuses on a smaller selection

Colin Herperger, Irene Kelly, Elo Masing,

However, each annual PhD conference and of presentations from students who are starting, developing or concluding their

research. The purpose of the conference

and exhibition is to encourage productive

Bamon, Niccolo Casas, Bernadette Devilat, Onya McCausland, Luke Pearson, Sophie Read, Natalia Romik, Cindy Walters and Tom Wilkinson.

5


Introduction

New Scores, New Events

T

their respective disciplinary procedures

students from the departments of the

not agree? In what ways could concepts

his year’s PhD Research Projects

invites doctoral candidates to

present from the programmes of

Architectural Design and Architectural

History & Theory at The Bartlett, alongside History of Art and the Slade School of

Fine Art at UCL, with researchers from The Royal Academy of Music.

Across the papers, investigations

range from the study of specific landscapes, physical sites and their layered cultural and social histories; to enquiries into

different kinds of photographic records,

What happens when such projects and

come into contact here? What critical and

creative questions could they be said to ask of each other and where do they perhaps and conventions from music inform art,

architectural or historical practice? How

do discourses of materiality, drawing and

from design, history, visual art and

composition, many of the papers presented appear to approach their diverse materials as if live and living – spanning contexts of

political conflict, biological systems, musical development, and historiographies that give access to the past through various transmissions in the present.

6

representation and analysis that chart and describe, whilst simultaneously point to

scoring and shaping future events, buildings and actions.

Concepts of scoring space or the

any means new within architecture, art

notation?

Whether it be a 3D scan of a building,

the form of architectural language that

Through a broad range of methodologies

user to side-step an intended narrative for

that presenters have developed forms of

and question contemporary composition and

behaviours of performers and players of or indeed the process of research itself.

for bringing into focus the differing ways

use of drawings that resemble notation

architectural spaces and experiences inform

a graphic score of a performance, calculus

architecture, a piece of music, a video-game,

in different ways, including through the

‘Mapping or Choreographing?’) are useful

the representation of different kinds of

documents and digital facsimiles of the built environment; to explorations of bodies and

any specific case’ (as well as her paper’s title

the status and subsequent uses of such

translations. Here Elo Masing’s reflections about the ‘choice of notation’ being a

question of determining ‘the nature of information to be transmitted and the

mode of communication to be applied in

memory or through intervening with

constructed imaginaries attached to various imaged versions of a city.

Through such different and varied

databases for future building become

Tschumi’s Manhattan Transcripts, or Fluxus’s

Event Scores – tending to demonstrate

when traditional methods could not do so.

transcription of different kinds of data, and

the land, to the excavation of unformatted

or composition practice – for instance,

interprets the form and content of specific

interrogate processes of transference and

between pigment-‘ochre’ materials and

processes: manifestoes, peace-process

attempts to accommodate and make

to consider just how many of the papers

example, or the uncovering of connections

from music or dance are of course, not by

to analyze a living process, or notation in

historical textual documents, it is interesting

adoption of cheat codes to allow a game

legible aspects of spatio-temporal reality There is perhaps something interesting

to reflect on between the impulse behind

such well known attempts, and that of the motivations of many of the researchers to adopt notations or approaches that seek

to work against or interfere with the thing

infrastructures, transactional fields, and activated, whilst different hidden and

sometimes latent pasts, pleasures and paints are unearthed. The aim of PhD Research Projects is to initiate interdisciplinary

dialogue and critical questioning between

each of the researchers’ objects, approaches to research, and some of these new and

uncovered scores, pointing to new events. Sophie Read

that is being studied, often as a means to

reactivate existing scripted architectures,

historical architectural publics or materials. This dimension manifests in the papers

7


Bernadette Devilat The Bartlett, UCL

Re-Construction and Record: Exploring Alternatives for Heritage Areas after Earthquakes in Chile

E

arthquakes have progressively

third, the design of reconstruction projects

the years. Even though changes in

imitate only the appearance rather than

destroyed Chile’s built heritage over

regulations have led to a safer behaviour of buildings in earthquakes, especially in

urban areas, the built heritage has suffered significant damage, due mainly to the

age of the buildings, lack of maintenance

and accumulated damage over the years.

However, the built heritage has been affected not only by the initial destruction produced

as new ‘heritage’ constructions that try to

understanding that heritage, which, in the cases studied here, includes sustainable

modes of construction in accordance with specific climatic conditions. This occurs in

places where previous records are sometimes non-existent, which poses a question of authenticity.

The objective of this research is

by the earthquake, but also because of

to generate new architectural design

the two selected case studies: the 2005

heritage villages. The visual understanding

applied reconstruction approaches. In

earthquake, that registered a 7,9 in Richter scale and occurred in the northern area

of the country; and the 2010 earthquake,

that registered an 8,8 in Richer scale and occurred in the central-south area of the

alternatives to address re-construction in

of heritage is contrasted with a visual record of the actual built environment, where the material sustainability of historic houses becomes evident.

By enquiring into inhabitants’ social

country, three main issues concerning

perception and by using accurate recording

exist. First, the lack of an integral approach

the role that the record has in the definition

reconstruction approaches continue to

that does not allow for the reconstruction

and repair of whole heritage areas but only of selected buildings in them; second, the

indiscriminate demolition, which takes places usually immediately after the disaster; and

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technologies, such as 3D laser scanning,

of heritage and the design of re-construction projects is explored. This leads to an

understanding of the technologies’ capacity

as a virtual database for memory, preservation, demolition, intervention or replica.

9


Cindy Walters The Bartlett, UCL

Rethinking the Pavilion

M

y central research question relates to the contemporary relevance

of the pavilion as an archetypal

architectural form and how this can mediate between ideal notions of design and the exigencies of architectural practice.

In the work of my practice, Walters

and Cohen, there is a recurrent interest in, and use of, the pavilion as a building type;

this is evidenced in our references, such as

Donald Judd and Walter De Maria, Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House and classical

Greek architecture, for instance the Temple of Apollo at Bassae, and in our projects

for an Art Gallery in South Africa, a visitor centre in West Sussex, an art gallery at

Kew Gardens and a new art school for the

American School in London. Other projects tend to take the form of complex additions

My research is particularly interested

in analyzing how the pavilion type fares within the socio-economic realities of

British architectural practice. Indeed, there is a significant dichotomy in our practice

between those projects commissioned by

clients who select us as architects through design competitions and who encourage

and facilitate conversations about design

intentions, and those for whom the notion of design is less important than political, social and financial considerations. The

process of design review – internal/external, small scale/large scale, and public/private –

mediates between these two circumstances mentioned above, and ensures a successful outcome, irrespective of the ambitions of the client.

Through this investigation I am

to campuses such as Bedales School in

seeking to develop my critical thinking

Mercers’ Company in London and South

Rather than the more traditional historical,

Hampshire, or cities such as offices for the Camden Community School in Somers

Town, London. All these schemes contain examples of my interest in exploring the

possibilities of the pavilion as a fundamental architectural type.

10

Image: Dennis Gilbert

and contextualise the work of our practice. technological or sociological discourse, I

am particularly interested in investigating the complex and evolutionary process of architectural practice, a relatively unexplored field of academic study.

11


Colin Herperger The Bartlett, UCL

Making an Architecture with Which We Might Play

A

n inquisitive sense of play may

begin to foster a curiosity that can

grow and extend itself throughout

I wonder, what role does architecture hold in this progression? What role might it offer? My research is focused upon better

a lifetime. As Philip Beesley discusses in

understanding the role of the unspeakable

looking past man as the pinnacle of the

architecture and the process of making.

his lecture on the Hylozoic Ground Project, world with everything else being a servant and suggests the opportunity of striving towards creating a mutual relationship

with the environment. In such a condition, architecture might have a range of

performance that is outside the bounds of supporting known programs. I would

also argue that far too often architecture is conceived of as a device to serve our

desires, simply making life easier and more comfortable. In doing so, it begins to take

on the role of anaesthetic.  Floors are flat, temperature is controlled and moderate,

and unanticipated stimulation is removed in favour of the constant and comfortable.  We

dimension of tacit engagement within

From this inquiry, the greater questions the PhD seeks to engage are:

1) How can play and the pleasure of

uncertainty become a vital part of the process for making architecture?

2) What role could the tools, discrete material behaviours and built assemblages of our

surroundings hold in engaging the realm of the unspeakable spatial experience? 3) How might one design for a curious

sense of existence? And might this tease at the edge of perception?

The work begins with the consideration

of a very simple question: How do I play?

may be unwittingly removing the pleasures of the uncertain and the possibility of

discovery. As a child, one tends to possess a

tremendous curiosity for the world yet as we get older it seems too often these wide eyes begin to shift towards a more closed mind.

12

13


Elo Masing The royal academy of music

Mapping or Choreographing?: Redefining Musical Notation

T

his paper deals with certain aspects

determine the nature of information

to my compositional practice, which

communication to be applied in any

of musical notation that are relevant

casts the physicality of instrument playing as one of the basic starting principles of

compositional work. It can be argued that the choice of a notation belongs directly to the process of musical creation. It is a question

of defining, for each composition, the areas of interest the composer is dealing with in

that particular piece. The composer has to

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to be transmitted and the mode of

specific case. Based on these views, the

process of physicality-centred composition can be defined as both mapping musical

instruments and also choreographing the movements of the performer. The ideas

discussed in this paper are primarily based

on the doctoral research I have done so far at the Royal Academy of Music.

15


Gregorio Astengo The Bartlett, UCL

Text, Image, Space: A Preliminary Inquiry into the Architecture of the Philosophical Transactions, 1665–1700

T

he Philosophical Transactions of

journal are studied as an expression of spatial

a periodical publication created in

images and architectural contents were

the Royal Society of London was

1665, in order to publish accounts of the

activities in the newly established Royal

Society. The Transactions were intended to

create a network of international knowledge and information that could be quicker and more effective than any other means of

communication. As a unique product of the

XVII Century and a highly creative material

entity, its influence could go beyond written words. The journal itself, an innovative way of delivering and presenting information,

can reveal its nature as a physical and, more specifically, as a spatial and architectural environment for scientific experiences. The Philosophical Transactions can be

understood as a space, meant to deliver information on an architectural level. The research aims to offer an

architectural reading of the Transactions

creativity, examining how its structure, text,

designed to offer a visible place for scientific enquiry. Thus, the character of the journal is revealed as ‘architectural transactions’,

a textual and visual ‘building’ for scientific

enquiry, a pre-modern architectural ‘review’ and an early modern ‘laboratory’. It is

suggested that the spatiality of the written page was designed in order to ‘build’ an

architectural space in which early modern

scientists could express their activities in a

three-dimensional way – meaning with this a communication that could go beyond the

spatiality of words or images, towards a more complex multi-directional involvement of

the subjects. The Philosophical Transactions

constitute a primary environment and an architectural ‘Manifesto’ for early modern science.

during their first 35 years of publishing. The study stresses the architectural substance of the journal as a ‘transactional field’

(Ackerman, 1979), both informative and

interactive. The material features of the

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Irene Kelly The Bartlett, UCL

An Architectural Enquiry into the Sublime and Beautiful: An Aesthetic Theory of Peace-Process Landscapes in-between Irelands

T

he thesis begins with making a space

an alternative to the ‘mise-en-abyme’ effect,

common ground through dispelling

into an enquiry to be continued. The chapter

for a methodology that constitutes

binary myths as part of the workings in

the Northern Ireland Peace Process. I then

undertook three traverses from different sites – Shannon-Erne Waterway, Divis Mountain next to Belfast City and the watchtower

landscape between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland – exploring the

physical altering of boundaries, and gathered film footage on route. This paper is the

final chapter of my PhD thesis. It borrows Edmund Burke’s enquiry as a medium to

corral thoughts and to position the gathered

footage as a cohesive part of the thesis – that is as a medium to construct a Peace-Process

Infrastructure.

Active politicians during the height of the

troubles now admit that the Northern Ireland ‘situation’ was exacerbated and made to last

for so long because the place was interpreted as remote/insignificant and as a result no imagination was applied.

This paper analyses the ‘enquiry’ as a

mode of investigation of the past in the

Northern Ireland context, while offering

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that is the inevitable enquiry into an enquiry also questions one final binary myth of the thesis; that is Burke’s absolute distinction between the sublime and the beautiful.

The ‘push/pull’ dynamic of experiencing the sublime within these sites works to

reconfigure what is considered remote from a geographical standpoint, by re-gauging distance through the physiological and a

reinterpretation of the ‘time’ of an enquiry.

As ultimately, the ‘hairs on the back of your

neck’ require a present ‘presence’ to stand-up. In overcoming geographical distance, the footage piques involvement in a greater catchment of audience.

This ‘architectural’ enquiry – in

conversation with Hannah Arendt, Yve

Lomax, Luce Irigaray, Judith Butler, Rosi Braidotti – ultimately binds its aesthetic

theory of peace-process landscapes with a

spatial construction, the in-between rather than the territorial line. This infrastructure makes room for Arendtian action – both deed and word – to positively influence the peace process.


Laurie Bamon The royal academy of music

Crisis in the Garden?

‘T

exture’ is a familiar term that

have been established: one explores texture

all levels. Ordinarily, it is used to

of ideas and experiences rooted in the visual

appears in music literature at

describe how the constituent – particularly linear – elements in a piece of music relate to one another. The potential for further

investigation into the relationships between texture and other aspects of music, such as rhythm and form, are often overlooked.

My research examines how texture is

defined, what texture is, and how it may be

used as a critical device to refine and expand my work as a composer. Two methodologies

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by casting it as a metaphorical expression arts and natural environments; the other focuses on texture as a practical tool to

provide me with a perspective from which

I can challenge my pre-existing ideas about the nature of musical development.

This paper draws on my research to show

how these methodologies interact with my compositional practice by discussing how I came to compose two versions of Urn

Garden, for string ensemble.

21


Luke Pearson The Bartlett, UCL

Learning from Los Santos: The Spatial Controls and Cultural Locomotive of Videogames as an Architectural Procedure

T

he project is concerned with the

the quasi-photography of screenshots and

and by extension a manifesto,

be analysed as a further act of ‘nomadology’.

production of a visual cartography,

towards an architecture interrogating

and exploiting the spatial and aesthetic

translation into architectural drawing will

Beginning with a form analysis of Grand

Theft Auto V and its city of Los Santos,

possibilities offered by contemporary

the research seeks to investigate how

Venturi, Scott Brown’s conception of the

such as ‘procedural rhetoric’ or ‘ludonarrative

videogames. I will propose that the spirit of

analytical theories from games criticism,

‘cultural locomotive’ through their Las Vegas

dissonance’ – the difference between

paradigmatic media of our age. Following

experience and those conveyed through its

fieldwork re-emerges through games as the Atkinson and Willis, who argue that ‘our

interpretation of real urban space may be

warped, or, more subtly, influenced, by the

depth that gaming experiences now offer’ –

what they call the ludodrome – I will consider

a ludodromic architecture.

These investigations will be predicated

on the notion of ‘nomadism’ as defined by

Dyer-Witheford and de Peuter via Deleuze

and Guattari, where the ‘line of flight’ away

from an intended media experience becomes a resistance within machinic subjectivity, such as exploiting cheat codes for

generating new spatial phenomena within game worlds. The relationship between a

messages imparted by a game’s narrative

mechanics – will be used to interrogate the game as an architectural system of irony in relation to a digital facsimile of a real city.

Learning From Los Santos will use

critical drawings and a visual manifesto to propose a series of design projects

examining the urban and ludic strategies

of videogames as an architectural project. The research will ultimately propose that a new ‘cultural locomotive’ is emerging

and that architectural approaches may be

derived from the strategies of control, flow and spatial manipulation that videogames regularly implement.

dynamic media and their transcription into

22

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Natalia Romik The Bartlett, UCL

Memory and Emptiness in Formerly Jewish Shtetls

T

explore specific questions involved in the

and Eastern Europe. Before the Second-

interventions as an attempt at architectural

his presentation explores the architecture of memory and

emptiness in the contemporary

urban reality of shtetls, which is the name

given to formerly Jewish towns in Central

World-War the majority of the shtetl

inhabitants were Jews, sharing space

with other ethnic groups such as Poles or Ukrainians. After the war, the social and

urban voids left by the Holocaust meant these towns came to be filled by a new

population who inhabited and adjusted the Jewish architecture according to their own needs. Currently the architectural memory of this post-Jewish property is overlaid

by numerous transformations, whether

it is state-imposed or created by private

owners, with the most recent adjustments being caused by the wave of capitalistic

development in Eastern Europe during the 1990s and 2000s.

and Nomadic Shtetl Archive from 2014)

architectural conversion of previously Jewish property into new functions. Instead, I

consider my own vernacular architectural homeopathy. By this I mean that my

designs try to excavate the layers of existing urban reality to uncover the continuity of

unformatted architectural memory. Hence my projects adjust to the local conditions, contingent with the changing of weather

and seasons, patterns of shades and light, soundscapes and palettes of fragrances.

My own architectural actions embrace these

fundamentals as a catalyst for contemporary development in reviving derelict urban

identity. Can architectural memory therefore change the quality of everyday life through a process of public experimentation with abandoned architecture?

My research merges architectural design,

artistic experimentation and theoretical

research. Spatial and design projects that I have created (such as JAD from 2011,

Signboard from 2012, Cloud from 2013,

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25


Niccolo Casas The Bartlett, UCL

Catabiosis: Toward an Aesthetic of (High) Entropy

C

atabiosis is the process of aging,

leads to the generation of a new and

It comes from the Greek word

Consequently, catabiotic design is the

declining and physical degradation.

kata, ‘down, against, reverse’ and biosis,

‘way of life’. It is generally used to describe

aging, senescence and degradation in living organisms and biophysics. The aim of this study is to understand the causes and the principles that lie behind catabiosis, to

analyze the aesthetic characteristics of this process, and finally to define the concept of ‘catabiotic design’. Through this research it

has become clear how catabiosis is associated

more probable whole (state of equilibrium). creative process that aims to investigate

new configurations via fragmentation and

decomposition of the object, increasing its entropy and complexity. The interchange

between catabiosis, entropy and complexity

implies how a new aesthetic tending toward high entropy is emerging in contemporary

design thanks to unprecedented computer calculus possibilities.

In order to develop a theory to support

with the second law of thermodynamics, and

and explain the notion of ‘catabiotic design’, I

entropy and complexity.

incorporating a number of instruments

how this process engenders an increase of Charles Baudelaire, Paul Bourget and

Vladimir Jankélévitch first dealt with the implications of the second law of

thermodynamics in art. In an attempt to

transpose this theory into an aesthetic code/ language, they gave birth to the ‘style of

Décadence’. Catabiosis may be defined as

the process of fragmentation of the social

and biological whole; a transitional process that through the intensification of the

singularities and the increase of complexity

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produced a series of design experimentations and techniques to analyze, reproduce and simulate catabiotic processes. I used 3D macrophotography, 3D photo-scanning (PhotoScan), 3D fractal software for

construction and exploration of fractal geometries (Xenodream), procedural

software for the simulation of fragmentation processes (Autodesk Maya with FractureFX

plugin), and procedural modelers combining volumetric modifiers with multi-octave 3D noise sampling (Acropora Voxelogic).

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Onya McCausland Slade, UCL

Turning Landscape into Colour

T

   urning Landscape into Colour is

an investigation into the origins of neglected earth pigment-‘ochres’

in the landscape that considers their

significance as contemporary cultural

materials. Locating, mapping and extracting ochre from the land, and their processing, manufacture and presentation as colour

are explored as vehicles for re-integrating people’s experience of place and aims

to establish new connections between landscape and painting.

The names of pigments can provide

insight into the chemistry and physics of

materials as well as revealing the geology and geography of their origins and social importance. Oxford earths (historically produced by Winsor & Newton) were

sought after by painters across Europe, and Raw Umber and Burnt Siena, for example, embody cultural developments and trace a

very particular journey through landscapes

and art. Now synthetic versions have largely

replaced many of these original earths, their names only fabricate a connection with

Ochre is the generic name used for

natural earth pigments. The colour of an ochre deposit is as varied as the possible mineral constituents and variety of

settings in which it can occur; each ochre has a different chemical composition and physical characteristic. The differences

between ochres have determined their

use both as an historic material and can shape their potential uses in the future.

These differences in the past have been perceived as a disadvantage as artists

demanded consistency in their colours (the W&N factory were pioneering in providing that consistency). Now, with a renewed

interest in natural colour, those variables are seen as less problematic, and can even be presented as a distinguishing quality that

connects particular colours with particular places. The research focuses on the origins

of ochre pigments and their contemporary significance through tracing their journey from origins in the landscape into usable paint.

place that has been lost.

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Sophie Read The Bartlett, UCL

Architectural History as Performative Practice: Reading and Writing John Soane’s Lectures (1809  –1836)

M

y thesis proposes architectural

environment and afterlife of the words and

and explores the critical value of

shown in such events. In turn, I consider the

history as a performative practice

this approach in developing a contemporary understanding of the architectural object. I

do this in two linked ways: firstly through an investigation of the role of the lecture in the performance, production and circulation of

architectural knowledge in early 19th century London; and secondly, through analysis and

interpretation of existing performative work in the field of architectural history (Jane Rendell 2013 & 2010, Alan Read 2013 &

2000, Ines Weizmann 2012, Katja Grillner 2011, 2003 & 2000, Hélène Frichot 2010,

Katerina Bonnivier 2008). The concept and

act of transcription, in particular, is developed as a performative architectural historical

practice, operating as a reflexive technique for collecting data, a reenactive mode for

scholarly enquiry, and a critical, performative methodology for writing the role of the 19th

century architectural lecture and its afterlife. Using the case study of the architect

Sir John Soane’s lectures at the Royal

Institution and Royal Academy of Arts

in London (1809–1836) I explore the oral

delivery, visual/verbal performance, physical

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drawings reported to have been said and

effects these performative dimensions had

on the ways architecture was communicated, experienced and remembered by Soane’s

(and later?) audiences. I draw from recent

performance and theatre historiography and concepts of performativity and reenactment (Amelia Jones 2007, Joseph Roach 1996,

Rebecca Schneider 2011), largely neglected by the canon of architectural history, as

well as pay attention to both primary and

secondary evidence for an early 19th century understanding of performative utterance and active speech (John Thelwall 1810,

Angela Esterhammer 2008). This work

shifts the focus of existing scholarship on Soane and his lectures: from a discussion

of his intellectual journey in writing them and their formal content and discourse

about architecture (David Watkin 1996,

Arthur Bolton 1929), to one that considers the significance of the lecture events and

their preparation in terms of being a form of performative architectural practice, reception and transmission.

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Tom Wilkinson History of Art, UCL

Architecture on the Radio: Walter Benjamin’s Radio Talks for Children

W

alter Benjamin made over eighty

typologies). He uses the disaster to warn

1932 – the majority of them

failure to grasp the historical moment.

broadcasts between 1929 and

on the children’s hours of the Frankfurt

his audience of the risks resulting from a

Benjamin’s theoretical texts on radio

and Berlin stations – speaking on such

reveal that he hoped to forge an oppositional

artists, and puppet theatre. In this paper

However, the political and technological

diverse topics as Russian literature, con I will consider two talks he gave on the

subject of structures: the first concerned

Berlin’s notorious Mietskaserne, or ‘rental

barracks’ – the enormous unsanitary

tenements in which the majority of the

city’s proletarian population lived, and which Berlin city architect Martin Wagner was

seeking to replace. The second recounted the catastrophic collapse of the bridge

over the river Tay in 1879, which Benjamin said was caused by the application of

new technologies (steel construction)

to anachronistic forms (wooden bridge

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public sphere using the new medium.

status of radio in the Weimar Republic

rendered such an attempt Quixotic, to say

the least. Oskar Negt and Alexander Kluge

warn that ‘In wanting to use the mechanisms of the bourgeois public for their cause

[representatives of the labour movement] become, objectively, traitors to the cause that they are representing.’ In this paper I will reflect on the strategies by which

Benjamin sought to work around the media’s structural bias in order to develop a critical architectural public.

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Wesley Aelbrecht The Bartlett, UCL

Photographing Detroit: Decline and Renaissance in the 1950s and 1980s

F

rom pictures of major transport

renaissance from the 1950s urban renewal

to drug rehabilitation centres, vacant

in the 1980s. While in the 1980s renaissance

infrastructures and housing blocks,

lots and abandoned industrial warehouses, the City of Detroit has since the 1950s

been one of the most imaged of all cities.

Debates about the visualisation of Detroit,

programs to the era of the urban boosters and decline were two separate discourses –renaissance was constructed by the City

of Detroit and decline by the self-employed independent photographer JosĂŠ Camilo

however, do not reflect the complexity of

Vergara– during urban renewal in the 1950s

focus on two modes of visual production,

were built around one and the same style

these depictions. Instead, they primarily decline and renewal. Photographers of

decline are blamed for their lust for ruins

and detachment from the city and its history, while those focusing on renewal are equally

accused of misrepresenting reality with their abstracted messages and utopian promises. Although much has been written about

the historical legacies of urban change, far less is known about the complex practices of production, reproduction, consumption

both the discourse of decline and renaissance of photographs by the media, citywide

organisation and city government together. By discussing two discourses of the city at

two distinct moments in the development of

the city, this exposition wants to demonstrate that the discourses of renaissance and

decline have been in continual dialogue in

Detroit with photography assigned a leading star role.

and display of photographs of Detroit. This

presentation offers therefore a history of an

overlooked factor in the development of the city of Detroit, namely the role played by and given to photographs.

This paper seeks to chart and unravel

changing depictions of cycles of decline and

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BIOGRAPHIES

Luke Pearson is a designer who has taught

Camden Arts Centre. Her research is funded by

at the Bartlett since 2009, running BSc Unit 4

the AHRC with paint manufacturer Winsor &

and on the MArch Architectural Design

Newton as collaborative partner.

programme. His research is serialised onto his website Alephograph, which investigates

Sophie Read has an MA in Architectural History

architectural arguments formed through

from The Bartlett, UCL, and a BA in Drawing from

delineation, and the agency of representation in

Camberwell College of Art, UAL. Her research

the face of ubiquitous digitality. Luke is recipient

explores architectural history as a performative

of a Graduate Research Scholarship, UCL.

practice, situating and arguing the critical value of this approach in developing a contemporary

Natalia Romik graduated from political studies at

understanding of the architectural object and role

Bernadette Devilat holds a MArch from the

Elo Masing is an Estonian composer/free

the Warsaw University. Since 2007 she has worked

of the archive. Sophie’s PhD is funded by the Arts

Catholic University of Chile. She has been studying

improviser based in London. Her music has

as an architect designing exhibitions and buildings.

and Humanities Research Council (2012–16).

re-construction after earthquakes in Chilean

been performed internationally by renowned

She has authored numerous artistic activities,

heritage areas since the 2005 earthquake, when

soloists and ensembles. Her research explores

installations and performances. Her projects

Tom Wilkinson is studying at the department

she co-founded Tarapacá Project. She taught

the physicality of instrumental performance in

explore problems of cultural memory, ephemeral

of the History of Art, UCL. His research

architectural design at the Catholic University

chamber music. She is mentored by Professor

aspects of architecture and urban emptiness.

concerns the mediatisation of art history during

of Chile between 2009–10 and worked in the re-

Simon Bainbridge, and with support from the

construction process after the 2010 earthquake at

Royal Academy of Music receives private

Niccolò Casas investigates the possible

and Mortals: Ten Great Buildings and the

the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development

tuition from Rebecca Saunders.

applications of digital techniques in the fields

People they Made, and is History Editor

of architecture, design and fashion design. He

of the Architectural Review.

of Chile.

the Weimar Republic. He is the author of Bricks

Irene Kelly is an architect (RIAI/RIBA – B.Arch.

graduated with a Master en Architecture at UCL,

Cindy Walters worked for Norman Foster for

1H, University College Dublin, Ireland). She has

ISA St Luc Bruxelles, after having previously

Wes Aelbrecht holds a MA Architectural History

four years after graduating and then established

worked both in public and private practice in

studied in Italy at the Università degli Studi di

from the Bartlett School of Architecture,

Walters and Cohen with Michal Cohen in London

Paris and in Dublin, and taught in South Africa.

Firenze. He has been part of international research

UCL, a Bachelor in Art History and Diploma

in 1994. The ethos of the practice encourages a

As a Fulbright Scholar, she subsequently obtained

programs at Sci-Arc, UIC and Architectural

in Architecture from KU Leuven. He currently

broad conversation about architecture and their

an MSc in Architecture and Urban Design at

Association. Niccolò is Professor of Digital

teaches a course at the department of the

buildings convey a raw sense of place and reduce

Columbia University, New York. Irene’s PhD is

Modeling Techniques Accademia di Belle Arti di

History of Art, UCL, and leads seminars on the

the complexities of site and programme to simple

funded by the EPSRC.

Bologna and he has previously taught as professor

contemporary city at the Bartlett School of

of Project Laboratory at Università di Bologna.

Planning, UCL. He is also the faculty editor of

architectural expression.

architecture at Opticon1826, a UCL peer reviewed

Laurie Bamon’s doctoral research is supported by Colin Herperger studied architecture at the

an Arts and Humanities Research Council Award.

Onya McCausland is a practicing artist based

academic journal. His PhD research is funded by

University of Manitoba. He is a BSc Unit tutor

She was commissioned to write a site-specific

in London. Between 2011–12 she was Honorary

the Arts and Humanities Research Council (2010–

at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL,

work for the Dartington International Summer

Research Associate at the Slade School of Fine

13) and a Fulbright Grant (Columbia University,

with Rhys Cannon, as well as Diploma Unit tutor

School in 2013, and is currently working with

Art, which led towards her current practice-

2012–13).

at University of Brighton, with Nat Chard. His

Canadian artist, Janice Kerbel, on her new work,

led PhD research. Onya has shown her work

research explores the possibilities of play and

DOUG, which will be premiered in Glasgow

extensively including in public spaces such as

misbehaviour within the processes of design

in May 2014.

Newlyn Gallery, Kettle’s Yard, the Walker Gallery,

and making.

36

and she is currently working on a project at

37


credits

MPhil/PhD supervisors:

Rilling, Tea Lim, Jane Madsen, Samar Maqusi,

This catalogue has been produced in an edition

Dr Jan Birksted, Professor Peter Bishop, Dr Camillo

Igor Marjanovic, Matteo Melioli, Oliver Palmer,

of 300 to accompany PhD Research Projects

Boano, Professor Iain Borden, Dr Victor Buchli,

Christos Papastergiou, Luke Pearson, Mariana

2014, the seventh annual conference and exhibition

Dr Ben Campkin, Dr Marjan Colletti, Professor

Pestana, Henri Praeger, Felix Robbins, David

devoted to doctoral research at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, Tuesday 25 February 2014.

Sir Peter Cook, Dr Marcos Cruz, Dr Julio Davila,

Roberts, Natalia Romik, Merijn Royaards, Wiltrud

Michael Edwards, Professor Penny Florence,

Simbuerger, Eva Sopeoglou, Camila Sotomayor,

Professor Adrian Forty, Professor Colin Fournier,

Ro Spankie, Theo Spyropoulos, Theodoros

Edited by Penelope Haralambidou and

Professor Murray Fraser, Professor Stephen

Themistokleous, Quynh Vantu, Cindy Walters,

Sophie Read.

Gage, Professor Ranulph Glanville, Dr Sean

Stefan White, Michael Wihart, Alex Zambelli,

Designed by Avni Patel | www.avnipatel.com

Hanna, Dr Penelope Haralambidou, Professor

Seda Zirek, Fiona Zisch.

Printed in England by Aldgate Press Limited. Published by the Bartlett School

Christine Hawley, Professor Jonathan Hill, Dr Adrian Lahoud, Dr Ruth Mandel, Dr Carmen

MPhil/PhD Architectural History

of Architecture, UCL.

Mangion, Dr Yeoryia Manolopoulou, Professor Ruth

& Theory students:

Wates House, 22 Gordon Street,

Morrow, Dr Hayley Newman, Jayne Parker, Dr

Wesley Aelbrecht, Tilo Amhoff, Kalliopi Amygdalou,

London WC1H 0QB

Barbara Penner, Dr Sophia Psarra, Dr Peg Rawes,

Sabina Andron, Pinar Aykac, Tal Bar, Eva

Professor Jane Rendell, Professor Bob Sheil, Dr

Branscome, Eray Cayli, Stylianos Giamarelos,

Copyright © 2014 the Bartlett School of

Stephanie Schwartz, Mark Smout, Professor Philip

Kate Jordan, Irene Kelly, Jeong Hye Kim, Claudio

Architecture, UCL. All rights reserved. No part of

Steadman, Dr Hugo Spiers, Professor Neil Spiller,

Leoni, Abigail Lockey, Kieran Mahon, Carlo Menon,

this publication may be reproduced or transmitted

Professor Philip Tabor, Dr Claire Thomson.

Dragan Pavlovic, Matthew Poulter, Regner Ramos,

in any form or by any means, electronic or

Sophie Read, Sarah Riviere, Ozayr Saloojee,

mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any

MPhil/PhD Architectural Design students:

Huda Tayob, Amy Thomas, Freya Wigzell,

information storage and retrieval system without

Yota Adilenidou, Luisa Silva Alpalhão, Nicola

Danielle Willkens.

permission in writing from the publisher. www.bartlett.ucl.ac.uk

Antaki, Anna Andersen, Alessandro Ayuso, Jaime Bartolome Yllera, Katy Beinart, Joanne Bristol,

Submitted and/or completed doctorates 2013:

David Buck, Matthew Butcher, Niccolo Casas,

Adam Theodoros Adamis, Rachel Armstrong,

PhD Research Projects 2014 is supported by the

Ines Dantas Ribeiro Bernardes, Bernadette

Emma Cheatle, Nicholas Jewell, Catja de Haas,

Bartlett School of Architecture and the Graduate

Devilat, Pavlos Fereos, Pablo Gil, Ruairi Glynn,

Guan Lee, Suzanne Macleod, Thomas-Bernard

School Skills Development Programme, UCL.

Polly Gould, Mohamad Hafeda, Colin Herperger,

Kenniff, Torsten Lange, Constance Lau, Malca

Popi Iacovou, Christiana Ioannou, Nahed Jawad,

Mizrahi, Maria del Pilar Sanchez Beltran, Brent

Tae Young Kim, Dionysia Kypraiou, Felipe Lanuza

Pilkey, Ben Sweeting, Nina Vollenbröker.

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On the cover: Luke Pearson, Learning from Los Santos: Long Zoom Landscapes, 2014.


PhD Research Projects 2014 | Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL