An Inter-Institutional Platform
for PhDs, PostDocs and ECRs in
Architectural History and Theory,

Landscape and the City



FALL 2022 PROGRAM
Sessions take place on Tuesdays, 4-6 PM CET
(if not indicated otherwise in the program)

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‘DOCTALKS x MoMA’ PROGRAM

4 October, 4-6 PM CET, 10-12 AM EST 
Rami Kanafani and Eyup Ozkan

25 October, 4-6 PM CET, 10-12 AM EST 
Clemens Finkelstein and Lydia Xynogala

1 November, 3-5 PM CET*, 10-12 AM EST
Maggie Freeman and Sam Grinsell
*please note the different CET time for this session;
on that week, there are only 5 hours time difference between EST and CET.


22 November, 4-6 PM CET, 10-12 AM EST
Manuel Saga and Matilde Igual Capdevila

*Wednesday* 30 November, 3-5 PM CET, 9-11 AM EST

Aleksandr Bierig and Zeynep Ece Sahin Korkan

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6 December 2022

From Pedagogical Revolution
to Revolutionary Pedagogy:
The Politics of Architectural Pedagogy
from the 1963 White Revolution
to the 1979 Revolution in Iran


ALI JAVID
University of Western Australia

Respondent: Farbod Afshar Bakeshloo, The Bartlett UCL



During the Cold War, the Middle East witnessed socio-political reforms or revolutions with different goals and slogans: from the USA-sponsored economic-social reforms of the Point Four Plan, the objective of which was the modernization and development of the societies of the Middle Eastern countries within the Western orbit of influence, to the emergence of anti-colonial and anti-imperialist revolutions with the slogans of independence and Islamism. These radical changes coincided with the emergence of new architectural universities and modern pedagogy, which, along with the goals of reform or revolution, acted as agents of change in society. This thesis focuses on the interaction of revolutions and architecture pedagogy in two contemporary revolutions in Iran, The White Revolution (1963) and The Islamic Revolution (1979). It interrogates the design studio as a backbone of architecture pedagogy, an institutionalized pedagogical framework that forms a socio-political assemblage, in order to identify and translate the spatial network of connections between politics and pedagogy. Accordingly, design studios, consisting of agents such as professors, students, curriculum, design brief, models, drawings, books, magazines, exhibitions, and communities, are politically shaped and transformed by the architecture pedagogy. Indeed, the design studio is a network of actors which is a systematic agenda between pedagogy and politics, and which is changed and developed based on the socio-political aims. This thesis charts a transformation of the structure and content of the architecture pedagogy as it adapts to the socio-political agendas of each revolution, The White Revolution (1963) and The Islamic Revolution (1979). The trajectory of the transformation of the architecture pedagogy started in 1963 when a new system of architecture education, Italian pedagogy, was brought to Iran according to the agenda of development and modernization of the country and decolonized the curriculum from the previous Beaux-Arts-derived pedagogical system; it continued up to the Cultural Revolution (1980-1984) when the new Islamist regime decided to “detoxify” the curriculum from its Western influence and Islamicize it as a utopia of the Future-Past.

***

Yona Friedman and Eda Schaur’s
Self-Help Manuals for India
Architecture and Sustainability
in the Context of “Development Aid”


 FREDERIKE LAUSCH
TU Darmstadt


Respondent: Jesse Lockard, University of Chicago


Friedman, Yona and Eda Schaur, CCSK. 2003. Environment and Self-Reliance. New Delhi: Vigyan Prasser.

This postdoctoral research project in architectural history aims to examine the role of architecture in “development aid” and the mutual learning processes between the Global North and South in terms of ecological sustainability, focusing on self-help manuals that were circulated globally, predominantly in the 1970s and 1980s. These manuals which assembled and presented planning, building and survival knowledge in the form of comic strips were produced by the Communication Centre of Scientific Knowledge for Self-Reliance (CCSK). The CCSK, founded in Paris in 1983 by Hungarian-French architect Yona Friedman and Slovenian-born Austrian architect Eda Schaur, was funded by the United Nations University and collaborated with the International Council of Scientific Unions. The manuals were made available for reproduction by individuals or organizations and were distributed with a particular focus on India. The CCSK manuals designed for then-called “developing countries” are compared with Friedman’s manuals and books aimed at individuals in the Global North. Thereby the study addresses questions regarding the conceptualization of the relationship between experts and users and transfers of knowledge. Its underlying proposition is that the CCSK manuals can tell us more about the Global North than the Global South, with the predominant theme being the ecological crisis. The CCSK manuals seem to present a romanticized picture of the mode of survival of slum dwellers in “developing countries” and render it into a model of an alternative lifestyle for the Global North, one that was purportedly better able to adapt to a future life of resource scarcity. This project thus aims to explore how sustainable architectural practices have emerged in the engagement with “developing countries” and so-called “simple technology.”



13 December 2022

The Origins of Architecture,
Nature and Myth:
A Fraught Relationship?


CHRISTIANE MATT
University of York

Respondent: Cara Rachele, ETH Zurich

Marc-Antoine Laugier, Frontispiece to the Essai sur l’Architecture, engraving by Jean-Jacques Aliamet after a drawing by Charles-Joseph-Dominique Eisen, 1755, Cornell University Rare Book and Manuscript Collections, Ithaca (image supplied electronically by ArtStor).

Since its beginnings, constructions of architecture’s origins have played a crucial role for the discursive formation of architectural theory as a discipline and a system of thought. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this has led numerous architects, architectural theorists, and writers to explore notions of architecture’s origins in their work. One of architecture’s most prominent origin myths, which has been retrospectively canonised as the only one of its kind to survive from classical antiquity, was delivered by the Roman military engineer and architect Vitruvius in his treatise De Architectura (c. 30-15 B.C.). Vitruvius’s founding myth constructs the invention of architecture as a result of the ‘community of man’, which emerged in the wake of a kind of ‘civilising catastrophe’, represented by a raging forest fire. My paper offers a critical re-examination of architecture’s founding myths by taking Vitruvius’s myth as a starting point for my inquiry. I draw on Roland Barthes’ and Massimo Cacciari’s work on mythologies in order to interrogate the ways in which architecture’s origins have been imagined and rendered through the framework of mythical speech. Doing this allows me to explore the complexities and idiosyncrasies inherent in constructions of the origins of architecture, especially those relating to representations of nature and the ‘natural.’ My paper gives particular attention to notions of complexity and multiplicity, and the ways in which these have often been systematically glossed over or excised from discussions of the origins of architecture. I explore the complex relationships between architecture and nature in order to dislodge the theoretical hegemony of canonical representations of the origins of architecture, such as the ones articulated by Vitruvius and Leon Battista Alberti. With this paper, I hope to shed new light on the ways in which notions of the origins of architecture have been deployed to guarantee and uphold certain assumptions about architecture as a discipline.

***

Istanbul in the 1740s:
Architecture and Transculturation


ALPER METIN

Sapienza University of Rome


Respondent: Gül Kale, Carleton University


Nuruosmaniye Mosque (1748-1755) seen from the North. From Descrizione Topografica dello Stato Presente di Costantinopoli by Cosimo Comidas de Carbognano (Kozmas Gomidas Kömürciyan), 1794.

With the advent of the so-called Ottoman Baroque, Istanbul witnessed a unique and rapid process of renewal of its architectural idiom which completely changed the silhouette of imperial capital. Hitherto, this unprecedented phenomenon of transculturation has been insistingly interpretated as the outcome of the longstanding Franco-Ottoman relations. However, most aspects of the architectural production of the period such as the new decorative vocabulary, unique planimetric experimentations, typological inventions, etc. demonstrate a more direct relationship with the Italian cultural sphere rather than what has been pointed out till now. To complete the picture offered by the previous scholarship, this dissertation aimed to explore the genesis of the Ottoman Baroque with a brand-new attention to its ties with Italy especially at the very initial stage. The methodological approach which was adopted also differed from the previously established patterns. On one hand, the main typological novelties were questioned with particular emphasis on significant case studies pointing out at specific Western European models. On the other hand, an in-depth analysis of the single elements composing the column order (such as capitals, shafts, bases, pedestals, and entablatures) interrogated the limits and the nature of the new architectural repertoire with the objective of retracing its possible origins. The presentation at DocTalks will try to give a panorama on this peculiar field of Architectural History and Cross-cultural Studies with a quick overview of the dissertation.



January 24, 2023
Lighting Session

DocTalks Chairs:
Matthew Critchley, ETH & Demetra Vogiatzaki, Harvard
Respondent:
Olga Balaoura, Università IUAV, Venezia

Marginalized Materialities in Athens:
Modern Greece and Postcolonial Europe


ANGELOS CHIOTIS
TU Delft 

Kleanthis & Schaubert Plan, 1833. Αι Αθήναι – από τού 19ου εις τόν 20ον αιώνα [Athens – from the 19th to the 20th Century],
by Kostas Biris, Melissa Publishing House, 1996.


The thesis attempts to use the terms of postcolonialism and decolonization as a critical position for the investigation of the reciprocal relation between modern Greece and postcolonial Europe through the investigation of crucial historical events that determined the built environment of Athens. Prompted by the recent international celebrations of the Greek state’s bicentennial for the War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire of 1821, and the worldwide collective protests against European imperialism, this project aims to explore the long-standing effects of colonialism, racism and xenophobia in the built environment of Greece. The first part focusses on The New City Plan of Athens 1832 and how urban planning formed the tool for the colonization of the Greek territory. The second part focuses on how neoclassical architecture and the museumification of Greece's ancient past were used in order to override and narrate history in the service of creating the Modern Greek collective memory in the general frame of the European “civilizing mission.” The third part studies the role of The Athens Piraeus Railways 1867-1869, constructed by British engineers, who have also developed train systems for colonized countries such as Egypt, South Africa, and Tunisia, introducing new conceptions of social hierarchies. The fourth part studies the impact of polykatoikia, the apartment building, as a key element of the postwar reconstruction strategy of Greece generated by foreign large-scale capital, advancing a pattern of economic colonization. The establishment of the new state and the instigation of numerous acts of ethnic cleansing, the creation and policing of minorities, the denial of identities, and violent homogenization were significantly assisted by “Hellas,” the idealized representation of Ancient Greece that the West has assembled. Thus, this thesis will claim that the reviewing of the built environment in Greece is of key significance for the decolonization of Europe.

***

Forms and Technologies of
Italy’s Villa-mania
(1955 -1970)


MICHELA BONOMO
EPFL


Casa Arosio by Vico Magistretti, Arenzano. Photographed by Filippo Romano and published in Marco Franzone & Gerolamo Patrone “ La Pineta di Arenzano: architettura e paesaggio. Storia di un’utopia mancata”. Milano: Skira 2010

The increasing interest towards the concept of the so called ‘escape from the city’, fueled by the recent pandemic, prompt us to put the holiday villa at the center of research attention.

In the collective imagination the villa is a manifesto of 'the good life’, often representing for architects a laboratory of experimentation and style and an exception in their portfolio.

The fate of the villa in contemporary architecture and research culture reflects its very own position: outside of the ‘urban’ centres of knowledge and critical inquiry, it is still abundantly present as an unexamined source of architectural intelligence, history and ideology. This situation is particularly applicable to Italy, the birthplace of the villa: in histories focusing on Italian Post-war architecture, this type of building is strikingly absent. This thesis wishes to look at the history of this building type in Post-war Italy and to focus on seven buildings taken at different stages of construction, all built by architects for their clients and equipped with a Mediterranean view. This paper argues that the very condition of these architectural masterpieces was the product of an implicit state project enacted by the ruling government of the Christian Democrats through punctual and specific policies. Thorough selected building stories of a specific context, this thesis wishes to answer when and how could this building type finally become truly historical.

***

Our Grand Domestic Revolution:
(Re-)making home from Jaffna, Sri Lanka
to the Greater Toronto Area


MAYURI PARANTHAHAN
University of Waterloo


A young palmyra palm tree found sprouting behind my father’s childhood home in Jaffna, Sri Lanka from a fallen seed.
Photo by Mayuri Paranthahan, 2022.


Displacement, describing a sense of uprootedness, is seemingly irreconcilable with th grounding quality of domestic space. However, the practice of housework and homemaking allows forcibly displaced people to reconstruct home elsewhere.
Historically, Western feminists have advocated for a radical socialization of housework in an effort to extend its visibility to the public realm. This is evident in urbanist Dolores Hayden’s The Grand Domestic Revolution (1981), which archives proposals by 19th-century material feminists for communal kitchens, laundries, dining halls, childcare centres, and other collectivizing strategies. Lacking in this socializing approach, however, is the consideration of housework as necessary private placemaking for racialized people living in a world made white, or a world shaped by histories of colonialism. This paper, entitled ‘Our Grand Domestic Revolution,’ turns to a personal family history in search of a more inclusive model for housework's liberation.
Centring the context of migration, this paper analyzes the makings of home upon displacement as experienced by my family, who were uprooted from a village in Jaffna, Sri Lanka to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in Canada during the height of the 26-year Sri Lankan Civil War in the 1980s. Using five family homes as case studies and drawing from oral history interviews and secondary social and feminist theories, the research re-frames housework as an act of resistance through the making of an affirmative domestic sphere where racialized refugees and diasporas can be subjects. The research explores where liberation and oppression take place across the five homes of study, each presenting unique social, economic, and spatial conditions. The findings reveal how the architecture and urban design of homes in the GTA, influenced by ideals of whiteness, become tools for negotiating insecure identities upon and after displacement.



January 31, 2023
Lighting Session

DocTalks Chairs:
Linda Stagni, ETH & Silvia Balzan, University of Basel
Respondent:
Nina Zschocke, ETH/gta

EURO—VISION:
Critical Raw Materials Unsung


FRAUD
Francisco Gallardo and Audrey Samson
Artists Duo

EURO⁠—VISION: Critical Raw Materials Unsung, FRAUD (Audrey Samson & Francisco Gallardo), 2021. Design and development: Liebermann Kiepe Reddemann.

FRAUD proposes a performative talk around their project EURO⁠—VISION; an inquiry into the extractive gaze of European institutions and policies. Initiated in 2018 in collaboration with Btihaj Ajana as an investigation into the collusion between border securitisation and resource management, the project examines the many entangled modes of extraction that Europe enacts on "third countries" with its Critical Raw Materials Initiative. This initiative brings into focus the covalence among international relations, trade, economic policy and border security, and forces us to understand extraction beyond the removal and displacement of minerals – to encompass policies, international treaties and regulations that impose controversial forms of stewardship of natural resources on communities. FRAUD will introduce some of the strands of research which have stemmed from resource categories such as phosphate, fish(eries), sand and carbon. Challenging how architecture modulates what is now considered a critical material with such categories helps to elucidate how these are managed as resources to be extracted, as well as how their plunder is mobilised and institutionalised. More importantly, this framework aims to enable looking beyond these practices to the possibility of thinking and doing otherwise.

***

A Plea for Patchy Architecture


HELENE ROMAKIN
ETH/gta

https://raumlabor.net/floating-university-berlin-an-offshore-campus-for-cities-in-transformation/

Architecture has a modernist tradition of world-building visions that seeks to imagine the future of the planet through world-scale projects. Naturally being dependent on building materials, architectural practice is deeply entangled with industries that live from the extraction and exploitation of natural resources themselves entwined and framed by capitalist urbanization processes. “Progress felt great.... The problem is that progress stopped making sense,” writes the anthropologist Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing. Without the belief in progress, we can no longer project into a future with straightforward trajectories. In the era of the Anthropocene, the grand narratives of ceaseless progress and growth are being replaced by marginal yet multiple narratives still to be told. Subsequently, the relationship between the built and natural environment and the role of architectural practice have to be questioned.
Borrowing the term “Patchy Anthropocene” from Feral Atlas, this paper seeks to develop a concept for patchy architecture. The paper argues that the debate over the Anthropocene is able to push the field of architecture in new directions—an opportunity that should be fully embraced. Patchy architecture is about identifying uneven conditions without distinction within increasingly contaminated landscapes that have been modified by industries.
Architecture as a discipline is well equipped to analyze damaged landscapes and their structures, if it permits transdisciplinary approaches to be involved in the process. The paper looks at projects such as Devenir Universidad (Becoming University), an indigenous university in Columbia’s rainforest initiated by the artist Ursula Biemann, and the Floating University established by raumlabor, as potential alternatives in architectural building processes.

***

Ordinary Architecture:
Learning from the Existing


HELENA CAVALHIERO
FAU-USP

The Big Duck Ranch, Flanders, NY, US. Photo by Helena Cavalheiro, 2022

Ordinary Architecture: Learning from the Existing”is a research that began as a teaching activity and became, in 2022, my PhD research. The term “ordinary” in the title is used in the sense of “common”, “everyday”. In other words, “ordinary architecture” is that which is responsible for the very feature of our cities, and which the discipline of Architecture often proclaims as something outside its limits. This is a particularly fertile field of study in Brazil, since academic discussions are still largely focused on Modern Architecture.
In the research I have been carrying out a theoretical and practical approach to the theme, interconnecting the fields of architecture, art and anthropology.
I have been studying bibliography from the fields of theory and history of architecture, as well as art researches that approach the theme of the “ordinary” in architecture.
In the practical sphere, I have been conducting experimental field research related to the theme. Among the activities already carried out, in 2021 I taught a course at Escola da Cidade (School of Architecture and Urbanism, São Paulo), whose results are currently being edited as a publication. Another activity was a solo walk of about 40 kilometers, in which I crossed the city of Berlin from west to east, making photographic and written records. An essay on this work will be published soon in the magazine Acto & Forma, edited by the Escuela de Diseño y Arquitectura of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, and also presented in an exhibition format in the 3rd International Seminar of Architecture and Ethnography, promoted by the Universidad de Las Americas, next October, in Santiago, both in Chile.

***

Circular Strategies:
Egg Shell Waste as a
Potential Building Material


ESTHER CLIFFORD
Independent Researcher

Egg Waste from the Food and Agriculture sector
as potential building materials.


USA, India and China are the three largest producers of eggs and annually India produces an average of 83 billion eggs. The egg waste generated from this massive production is sent to either land-fills or incinerators. The EPA declared eggs as the 15th largest waste causing pollution. Companies pay up to $100,000 to dispose of egg waste in the form of landfills and this is an unsustainable and expensive way of disposing of waste. Egg waste in the form of shells and whites can be rather used as a building material that is cost-efficient and energy-efficient. Eggs have been used as a building material in the past millennia throughout Asia, Africa and parts of Europe. In the local vernacular architecture of India, its properties have been known to help in cooling the built-up environment and also provide a smooth finish to walls. In modern usage, egg shells have been used as an additive in concrete and have proven to add strength to the concrete admixture. Rethinking the way egg waste is repurposed can help in creating resilience through building materials. This paper will help understand the scope and viability of using egg waste in architecture by studying and recording the amount of egg waste generated and the logistics involved to help procure and use egg shells and white waste. This study will take an example of an Indian city to help demonstrate the viability of the practical usage of egg waste in the built-up environment.




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