News

21 November 2020

Today I presented my paper entitled  “The Living Units within the Home-office Conditions: “Tele-work”, “Tele-communication”, and “Tele-education” vis-à-vis the Reinvention of the City and Pandemic Preparednesss”at the 17th Annual International Conference of the Architectural Humanities Research Association ‘Housing and the City’, Nottingham University, UK. 

Link of conference website

Here you can download the programme of the conference

O5 — Live / Work (Chair: Anna Shapiro, Sheppard Robson Architects, Architectural Association)

  • The living units within the home-office conditions: “Tele- work”, “tele-communication”, and “tele-education” vis-à-vis the reinvention of the city and pandemic preparedness Marianna Charitonidou, ETH Zürich
  • Housing typology at fashion kampungs for more sustainable living-working environment in Bandung, Dibya Kusyala, Sri Rahma Apriliyanthi, Adhitya Rizky Isnandya, Institut Teknologi Bandung; and Achmad Syaiful Lathif, Telkom University
  • Working at Home: Architects during the Pandemic in China,Ye Xu, Katharina Borsi, Jonathan Hale, University of Nottingham
  • Open city / closed city, Frances Holliss, London Metropolitan University; and Claudia Dutson, Royal College of Art
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19 November 2020

It sounds like a very busy end of week since I will be presenting two papers (“New Social Housing Models in Sweden: From Folkhemmet to Automobile Perceptual Regimes” & “The Living Units within the Home-office Conditions: Tele-work, Tele-communication, and Tele-education vis-à-vis the Reinvention of the City”) at the 17th Annual International Conference of the Architectural Humanities Research Association ‘Housing and the City’ organised by Nottingham University, a paper entitled “Autopia as a New Episteme and New Theoretical Frameworks: The Car-oriented Perception of the City” at the 37th Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ), and a paper entitled “The Advocacy Planning and the Civil Rights Movement in the United States” at the workshop “Exploring socio-spatial disparities in Western and socialist cities Theoretical challenges and empirical insights” organised by Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space in Erkner


9 November 2020

My article entitled “Simultaneously Space and Event: Bernard Tschumi’s Conception of Architecture” was published in ARENA Journal of Architectural Research: 

Marianna Charitonidou, “Simultaneously Space and Event: Bernard Tschumi’s Conception of Architecture”, in ARENA Journal of Architectural Research, 5(1) (2020).

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5 November 2020

I am very glad to chair a session devoted to the theme ‘Revisiting the History of Participation: Urban Design as Commoning and New Theoretical Frameworks’ at the Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) 2020. I look forward to exchanging with Alfredo Brillembourg Tatjana Schneider Belinda Tato and Pelin Tan.

Here you can read some info about this roundtable

The 1969 «Architecture and Racism» protest organized by TAR in New York City. Pho-tograph by Julie K. Stone

37th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) 2020 “What if? What Next? Speculations on History’s Futures”

Roundtable ‘Revisiting the History of Participation: Urban Design as Commoning and New Theoretical Frameworks’ chaired by Marianna Charitonidou

Under the headers of ‘collaboration’, ‘participatory design’ and ‘co-production’ participation is nowadays at the centre of the debate on urban design. Architects and urban designers are developing new concepts, tools and roles to comply with these new participatory modii operandi. However, it seems that it is sometimes forgotten that the issue of participation has a longstanding history. The roundtable aims to explore this longstanding tradition of experiments with participatory processes in the practice and teaching of urban design.  Departing from the projects of ILAUD (International Laboratory of Architecture and Urban Design) in Italy, the ARAU (Atelier de recherche et d’action urbaines) in Belgium, and the SAAL (Service for Local Mobile Support) in Portugal, the roundtable aims investigate the various forms that participation in urban design practice can take, from collective processes of design, to collaborative construction and common management. Understanding the critical differences between these different approaches can help us to refine our theories and tools of urban design.

The participatory concern in the urban design process has not only a long history in practice but also in urban design education. Various experimental initiatives with participation emerged in the domain of architectural pedagogy in the late sixties, often starting from student initiatives. Good examples are The Architects’ Resistance (TAR), a group formed in 1968 by architecture students from Columbia GSAPP, MIT Department of Architecture, and Yale School of Architecture describing itself as «a communications network, a research group, and an action group … concerned about the social responsibility of architects and the framework within which architecture is practiced», as well as the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS). Many of these groups emerged within the context of the struggles for civil rights and thus made a plea to have non-hegemonic or ‘other’ voices heard in the urban design process. These initiatives explored how new concepts, roles and tools for participation could become part of the education of the architect and urban designer.

The objective of the roundtable is to explore how, within the context of the contemporary interest in new urban design methods that reinvent the relationship between urban design and democracy, the long history of the participation can offer us clues on how civic engagement and social responsibility can be critically conceived. The contemporary interest in methods of ‘collaboration’, ‘participatory design’ and ‘co-production’, can learn from the long history of participation about how urban design can forge a critical relationship with civic engagement and social responsibility. Instead of repeating the concepts, roles and tools that were tested some decades ago, we hope that contemporary urban designers engage more intensively with the historical examples and use them as a base for new critical approaches. Most importantly, historical experiments like The Architects’ Resistance (TAR) and National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS) remind us that the issue of participation in not only a question of urban design practice, but also – and maybe most urgently – requires experiments and changes in urban design education. The roundtable aims to reflect upon such experiments and changes and to explore how new theoretical frameworks concerning the historiography of architecture and urban design could enhance these reinvented conceptions of the notion of participation.

  • MARIANNA CHARITONIDOU, BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE ROUNDTABLE
  • BELINDA TATO, “ATMOSPHERES FOR INTERACTION”
  • PELIN TAN, “SCALES OF COMMONS”
  • MARIANNA CHARITONIDOU “URBAN COMMONS AS A BRIDGE BETWEEN THE SPATIAL AND THE SOCIAL: PRO-POOR HOUSING PROGRAMMES IN ADDIS ABABA AND COMMONING PRACTICES”
  • ALFREDO BRILLEMBOURG, “WE NEED TO REORGANIZE THE CITY”
  • EXCHANGE AMONG THE SPEAKERS 

SPEAKERS & ABSTRACTS OF CONTRIBUTIONS 

Belinda Tato, Associate Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, Mass., US. Founding Partner Ecosistema urbano, Madrid, Spain/ FL, US

Email: belindatato@ecosistemaurbano.com / btato@gsd.harvard.edu

Belinda Tato is Associate Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design. Belinda Tato is also founding partner of Ecosistema urbano, a Madrid based group of architects and urban designers operating within the fields of urbanism, architecture, engineering and sociology. Ecosistema urbano defines its approach as urban social design, by which they understand the design of environments, spaces and dynamics in order to improve the self-organization of citizens, social interaction within communities and their relationship with the environment. Ecosistema urbano has used this philosophy to design and implement projects in Norway, Denmark, Spain, Italy, France and China.

Atmospheres for interaction

In today’s connected world, design can no longer be addressed from a singular perspective, but should result from an open and collaborative network of creative professionals, technical experts, citizens and among other stakeholders. Citizens have evolved from consumers to prosumers, producing ideas, knowledge, information, and content. By becoming key players, they are interwoven and augmented in reality.  This new context requires new ways of thinking and working. It becomes necessary to explore the new role of the designer as an activator, mediator and curator of socio environmental processes. We need to conceive, develop and implement the tools that can become the catalyst to spark creativity and multiply the possibilities of interaction and connection among individuals in the search for more healthy and sustainable communities. Tools that enable citizens to be active participants at all stages: before, during, and after the design process.


Pelin Tan, Associate Professor Dr., Fine Art Academy, Batman University, Batman, Turkey, Senior Researcher, the Center for Arts, Design and Social Research, Boston, US, Visiting Researcher, the Human Rights Program, Bard College, New York, US.

Email: pelintan@gmail.com / ptan@bard.edu/ ptan@centerartsdesign.org

Pelin Tan’s current research concerns political movements that focus on climate justice, landscape, agriculture, and indigeneity, and particularly activist projects that put interactions with the non-human world at the forefront of their practice. She asks about how our concepts of justice and rights can be extended to landscape and territory, and about the role that critical artistic and architectural interventions can play in making these claims. Her practice combines scholarship, curating, and artistic and architectural creation. She was Associate Professor and Vice-Dean of the Architecture Faculty at Mardin Artuklu University in Turkey from 2013-2017, and has held visiting fellowship and research positions around the world, from Hong Kong to Cyprus. Most recently she curated the Gardentopia: Cosmos of Ecologies project, in Matera, Italy, a program of European Cultural Capital 2019.

Scales of Commons

How do we build the commons? How do we create the basis for commoning practices in architecture and urban design? How do displacement, migration, and contested spaces affect the notion of the commons? Spaces where commoning practices are developed in relation to design and architecture are often related to physical spaces in the realm of social design. The ultimate role of spatial design is that the physical structure or form at any scale should serve the practice of commons. Commoning practices require a social assembly process, however, including common decision making and non-capitalist accumulation; thus, it is difficult to develop a consistent design program.

The dilemma in design and architecture is rooted in the question of whether an existing act such as squatting in an abandoned building or a temporary self-organised refugee camp is also a practice of architecture or design. Such practices could inform and challenge us to re-think on participatory design practice. For example, as a long topic in architectural history, “participatory design” has been discussed in “Architecture’s Public” (1970) by architect Giancarlo de Carlo. According to De Carlo, there are two types of design processes: the first one is authoritative design and the second one is participatory design. In the former, the architectural project is considered a work of art and the structure of the work does not allow for any comparison. Moreover, in this type of project, there is a shallow approach against criticism. This shallow approach makes it impossible to establish any criteria between the project in the design process and the actual realised state of the design. De Carlo defines the practice of participation as “participation in action”. De Carlo claims that there have been two separate pragmatic criticisms apart from the ideology-based criticisms raised against the practice of participation: The first one is related to the scale of the project and confronts the problems of participatory design practices in large-scale projects; the second one is related to these types of practices and the project process. Consequently, on the one hand, the scale of the project, i.e., largeness and smallness, on the other hand, the length of the project process, both point to the impossibility of the practice of participation.

Participatory design becomes more difficult in cases such as infrastructural operations of large-scale projects and restoration of ecological balance. On the other hand, layered design in a project and operational process might make the communication with individuals and related groups difficult. In order to resist these criticisms, De Carlo states that “participation is a decision-making mechanism” and requires a political position. However, I think that also in this case, cultural relativism (the local identity of each society and community) and the difficulty of taking a political position in the global societies in which we currently live make participation as a decision-making practice difficult.


Marianna Charitonidou, Lecturer Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta) ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Email: marianna.charitonidou@gta.arch.ethz.ch

Marianna Charitonidou is a Lecturer and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Chair of the History and Theory of Urban Design at the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta) at the Department of Architecture of ETH Zürich, where she works on her project entitled “The Travelling Architect’s Eye: Photography and the Automobile Vision”. This postdoctoral project is based on the hypothesis that the view from the car has established a new epistemology of the urban landscape and the territory at large. It explores the views from the car produced by architects and tries to better understand how this epistemological shift influenced architectural thinking and practice. It wants to comprehend how the automobile, since its invention, has reshaped our conceptions of space, revolutionizing the way architects perceive the city and contributing significantly to the transformation of the relationship between architecture and the city. At ETH Zürich, she is teaching a seminar entitled “The City Represented: The View from the Car as a New Perceptual Regime”, and is working on an exhibition project entitled “The View from the Car: Autopia as a New Perceptual Regime”. In September 2018, she was awarded a Doctoral Degree all’unanimità from the National Technical University of Athens for her PhD dissertation “The Relationship between Interpretation and Elaboration of Architectural Form: Investigating the Mutations of Architecture’s Scope”. In her PhD dissertation, she examined the mutations of the modes of representation in contemporary architecture in relation to the transformation of the status of the addressee of architecture. She investigated how the concept of the addressee of architecture has transformed throughout the twentieth century, demonstrating how the mutations of the dominant means of representation in architecture are linked to the evolving significance of the city’s inhabitants. She has presented her research at many international conferences (more than 50) and has published numerous articles in scientific peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes focused on history and theory of architecture and urban planning.

 

Urban Commons as a Bridge between the Spatial and the Social: Pro-poor Housing Programmes in Addis Ababa and Commoning Practices

 

The paper presents the reasons for which the issue of providing housing to low-income citizens has been a real challenge in Addis Ababa during the recent years and will continue to be, given that its population is growing extremely fast. It examines the tensions between the universal aspirations and the local realities in the case of some of Ethiopia’s most ambitious mass pro-poor housing schemes, such as the ‘Addis Ababa Grand Housing Program’ (AAGHP), which was launched in 2004 and was integrated in the ‘Integrated Housing Development Program’ (IHDP) in 2006. The paper argues that the quotidian practices of communities and their socio-economic and cultural characteristics are related to the spatial attributes of co-housing practices. Drawing upon the idea that there is a mutual correspondence between social and spatial structures, it places particular emphasis on the analysis of the IHDP, and aims to show that, in order to shape strategies that take into account the social and cultural aspects of daily life of the poor citizens of Addis Ababa, it is pivotal to invite them to take part in the decision-making processes regarding their resettlement.

Departing from the fact that a large percentage of the housing supply in Addis Ababa consists of informal unplanned housing, the paper also compares the commoning practices in kebele houses and condominium units. The former refer to the legal informal housing units owned by the government and rented to their dwellers, while the latter concern the housing blocks built in the framework of the IHDP for the resettlement of the kebele dwellers. The paper analyses these processes of resettlement, shedding light of the fact that kebele houses were located at the inner city, while the condominiums are located in the suburbs. Despite the fact that the living conditions in the condominium units are of a much higher quality than those in the kebele houses, their design underestimated or even neglected the role of the commoning practices. The article highlights the advantages of commoning practices in architecture and urban planning, and how the implementation of participation-oriented solutions can respond to the difficulties of providing housing. It argues that understanding the significance of the endeavours that take into account the opinions of dwellers during the phase of decision-making goes hand in hand with considering commoning practices as a source of architecture and urban planning frameworks for low cost housing in this specific context. The key argument of the paper is that urban planning and architecture solutions in Addis Ababa should be based on the principles of the so-called “negotiated planning” approach, which implies a close analysis of the interconnections between planning, infrastructure, and land.


Alfredo Brillembourg, Professor of architecture and urban design, co-founder of Urban-Think Tank

Email: urbanthinktank@mac.com

Alfredo Brillembourg was born in New York. He received his Bachelor of Art and Architecture in 1984 and his Master of Science in Architectural Design in 1986 from Columbia University. In 1992, he received a second architecture degree from the Central University of Venezuela and began his independent practice in architecture.  In 1998 he and Hubert Klumpner founded Urban-Think Tank (U-TT) in Caracas, Venezuela. Since 1994 he has been a member of the Venezuelan Architects and Engineers Association and has been a guest professor at the University Jose Maria Vargas, the University Simon Bolivar and the Central University of Venezuela. Starting in 2007, Brillembourg has been a guest professor at the Graduate School of Architecture and Planning, Columbia University, where he co-founded the Sustainable Living Urban Model Laboratory (S.L.U.M. Lab) with Hubert Klumpner. From 2010 – 2019, Brillembourg and Klumpner co-held the chair for Architecture and Urban Design at the Swiss Institute of Technology (Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule, ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland. From 2019, Klumpner is solely responsible for the Chair.  As co-principle of U-TT, Brillembourg has received the 2010 Ralph Erskine Award, the 2011 Holcim Gold Award for Latin America, the 2012 Holcim Global Silver Award for innovative contributions to ecological and social design practices, and the 2012 Venice Biennale of Architecture Golden Lion.

We Need to Reorganize the City

People and Cities have responded to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, in the most extraordinary ways. At this very disjointed moment, Cities are faced with deep uncertainties, yet must move forward. The state of our urban research shows that housing has become the frontline defense against the Covid-19 outbreak. Home is a life or death situation.    According to the UN, approximately 1.8 billion people worldwide live in homelessness and grossly inadequate housing. By ensuring access to secure housing with adequate sanitation, governments will not only protect the lives of those who are homeless or living in informal settlements but will help protect the entire world’s population by flattening the curve of Covid-19. I am deeply concerned about two specific populations groups: those living in emergency shelters, homelessness and informal settlements, and those facing job loss and economic hardship which could result in mortgage and rental arrears and evictions.

People affected by humanitarian crises, particularly those displaced and/or living in camps and camp-like settings, are often faced with specific challenges and vulnerabilities that must be taken into consideration when planning for readiness and response operations for the Covid-19 outbreak and possible future pandemics. These are people that are frequently neglected, stigmatized, and may face difficulties in accessing health services that are otherwise available to a general population. In this context, Urban-Think Tank has been working to raise global attention to favelas, slums, and townships for the last 20 years.   The economic consequences for those in informal settlements will be long-lasting. As cities suspend daily activities and restrict movement, day laborers and those in informal employment will lose their income. This can result in people being forced to leave their homes due to their inability to pay rent. Without any social benefits, they will be unable to care for their families. It is of extreme importance from a protection and human-rights and public health perspective, that people affected by humanitarian crises are included in all Covid-19 outbreak readiness and response strategies, plans and operations.


20 September 2020

Getting prepared for a seminar entitled “The City Represented: The View from the Car as a New Perceptual Regime” that I will teach this spring at the Department of Architecture of ETH Zürich.

Below you can read an excerpt from the handout of the seminar:

The automobile has reshaped our conceptions of space and our modes of accessing and penetrating the urban and non-urban territory in multiple ways, revolutionising how architects perceive the city and contributing significantly to the transformation of the relationship between architecture and the city. The seminar will examine the architects’ automobile vision. Its main objective is to help students understand how the automobile influenced the architects’ perception of the environment and how its generalized used provoked the emergence of new theoretical concepts and eventually led to new design perspectives. It aims to untie the specificity of car travel as a new episteme of the urban landscape. One of the main learning objectives of the seminar will be to help students understand that the emergence of the generalised used of the car is related not only to a new epistemological regime, but also a new representational regime. The new representational regime, which relies upon photography, film, new modes of visual mapping and particular diagrams, serves to capture this new epistemological regime. The seminar will make students aware that there is an agency and an intentionality behind this new representational regime. The themes addressed will be grouped per means of visualisation including four sections:

  • “Drawing and the View from the Car”
  • “Film and the View from the Car”
  • “Photography and the View from the Car”
  • “Cross-fertilisation between the View from the Car and the Design Strategies”

The structure of the seminar is organised in clusters of architects that were interested in similar questions related to the emergence of the new perceptual regime due to the generalised use of the car. Telling regarding the understanding of car travel as a new episteme is Reyner Banham’s following remark, in Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies: “like earlier generations of English intellectuals who taught themselves Italian in order to read Dante in the original, [he] learned to drive in order to read Los Angeles in the original”[1]. In the second half of the  twentieth century, architects became increasingly aware of the impact of the car. Particular emphasis will be placed on the fact that the new perceptual regime related to the generalised use of the car became more apparent within the American context. Some seminal books in which this becomes evident are Donald Appleyard, Kevin Lynch, and John Myer’s The View from the Road (1964), Reyner Banham’s seminal book Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies (1971), and Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour’s Learning from Las Vegas (1972). For instance, in the latter, it becomes evident that one cannot make sense of Las Vegas by walking. Special attention will be paid to the analysis of cases that render explicit that the view from the car as a new perceptual regime, instead of functioning simply as a tool serving to document the visual impressions during the travel, it plays an important role in shaping the architects’ own architectural and urban design strategies.

[1] Reyner Banham, Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies (1971), introduction by Anthony Vidler (Berkeley, California; London: University of California Press, 2000), 5.


9 September 2020

In the framework of the courses “Fundamentals of the History and Theory of Architecture I” (Fall Semester) and “Fundamentals of the History and Theory of Architecture II” (Spring Semester) I co-taught with Professor Tom Avermaete and Dr. Hans Teerds, we published a booklet of which the introduction you can download using the following link: 

Tom Avermaete, Marianna Charitonidou, Hans Teerds, “Street Corners. A Zurich Lexicon”, in idem., Street Corners. A Zurich Lexicon. Zurich: Chair of the History and Theory of Urban Design/Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (GTA), 2020, 17-29.


10 August 2020

My paper “The Living Units within the Home-office Conditions: “Tele-work”, “Tele-communication”, and “Tele-education” vis-à-vis the Reinvention of the City and Pandemic Preparedness” was selected to be presented at the 17th Annual International Conference of the Architectural Humanities Research Association ‘Housing and the City’, which will be held between 19 and 21 November 2020 at the University of Nottingham, UK

Link to conference website


23 July 2020

I am very happy to have contributed with a chapter entitled “Alison and Peter Smithson and their Travels to Greece: The Search for an Open-ended Morphology” to the forthcoming collective volume Viaggi e Viste. Mediterraneo e modernità, edited by Stamatina Kousidi (Firenze: Altralinea edizioni/Momenti di architettura moderna, 2020).


13 July 2020

I am very glad to have been awarded a honourable mention by the Fondazione Zevi for my essay “Simultaneously Space and Event: Bernard Tschumi’s Conception of Architecture”!
The members of the jury were Donatella Calabi, Claudio Gamba, Lindsay Harris, Rosario Pavia and Paolo Scrivano.


4 June 2020

Due to the disruptions many researchers have experienced in their work patterns and daily lives in recent weeks and months, the Fabrications editors, in consultation with guest editor of this special issue, Marianna Charitonidou, have decided to extend the deadline for 31:1, Writing Automobile Histories. The new deadline for the issue is Monday 29 June.

31:1 WRITING AUTOMOBILE HISTORIES

Fabrications: The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand invites papers for a special issue (volume 31, no.1) on Writing Automobile Histories edited by Marianna Charitonidou, ETH Zürich, National Technical University of Athens and Athens School of Fine Arts. Papers are due by 29 June 2020 (EXTENDED).
The point of departure for this special issue is the hypothesis that the view from the car has established a new epistemology of the urban landscape. Focusing on the views from the car produced by architects will help us better understand how this epistemological shift influenced architectural thinking and practice. The automobile reshaped our conceptions of space revolutionizing the way architects perceive the urban environment and contributing significantly to the transformation of the relationship between architecture and the city. Automobiles transformed the ways in which we access and move around in cities, but also the city’s own relation to its territory. No other factor changed the city so drastically during the twentieth century. Many architects and architectural critics and theorists have been attracted to ‘automobile vision’. But in the field of history and theory of urban design many questions concerning the impact of the automobile on our perception of the city and its territory have not been explored in depth.
This issue of Fabrications intends to explore the theories and methods most suitable for understanding how the automobile has transformed our perception of urban conditions. It will investigate which visual means and artefacts are most significant for the way we comprehend the snapshot aesthetics which is related to car travel. Journeys have always been a source of inspiration for architects, playing a significant role in shaping their design strategies. The issue aims to grasp the specificity of car travel as a new episteme. Using the writings of Donald Appleyard, Kevin Lynch, John Myer, Reyner Banham, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown as a key reference and also considering John Lautner, Alison and Peter Smithson, Denise Scott Brown and Aldo Rossi’s practice of taking photographs from cars, the issue aims to establish a broader conceptual framework for tackling issues related to the impact of the automobile on architectural and urban thought. Papers that treat the different aspects of architects and urban designers’ automobile vision as expressions of the emergence of a new episteme are especially encouraged. Papers might also address, for example, the different ways that photography and film capture the snapshot aesthetics related to the automobile. The issue seeks papers aiming to address issues related to the emergence of the new perceptual regimes that emerged thanks to the automobile, focusing on a wide range of geographical and cultural contexts. To this end the issue, encourages articles that address places and perspectives from beyond the Euro-American context, such as those concerning the feral auto-tectonics of ‘Mad-Max’, or the great road trips and peripatetic architectures of Australasian grey nomads, referring to the phenomenon of retired people who take long – sometimes permanent – road trips.

3 June 2020

On 9 June 2020 I will deliver a lecture entitled “Autopia as New Perceptual Regime: Mobilized Gaze and Architectural Design” in the framework of the Architecture Foundation ‘100 Day Studio’ initiative

19:00 -20:00 British Summer Time (BST)

Here you can download the abstract of my talk 

You can watch the video of my talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oUpio5aZJo&t=524s

im

Autopia as New Perceptual Regime: Mobilized Gaze and Architectural Design

The automobile has reshaped our conceptions of space in multiple ways and our ways of accessing and penetrating the urban and non-urban territory, revolutionizing the way architects perceive the city and contributing significantly to the transformation of the relationship between architecture and the city. The presentation focuses on the examination of photographs taken by architects John Lautner, Alison and Peter Smithson and Aldo Rossi while travelling by car. Its aim is to contribute to a broader understanding of the process of viewing and photographing scenes from the car, and of the elaboration of a “snapshot aesthetics”. The interexchange between the ways of capturing the views from the car and the formation of new design methods can explain the necessity to establish a new theoretical framework offering the possibility to historians of architecture and urban design to address in a sharp and concrete way the reciprocal relation between automobile vision and design approaches.

image 4
Pages from Alison Smithson, AS in DS: An Eye on the Road (Baden: Lars Muller Verlag, 2001). Original edition: AS in DS: An Eye on the Road (Delft: Delft University Press, 1983), p. 20, p. 21, p. 74, p. 75.

19 May 2020

My book chapter “Alison and Peter Smithson and their Travels to Greece: The Search for an Open-ended Morphology” has been selected to get published in the book Viaggi e Viste. Mediterraneo e modernità, ed. Stamatina Kousidi (Firenze: Altralinea edizioni/Momenti di architettura moderna)

Here you can download the abstract of this chapter

Alison and Peter Smithson and their Travels to Greece: The Search for an Open-ended Morphology

The chapter examines to what extent Alison and Peter Smithson’s approach to architecture and urban design were influenced by their travels to Greece. The aforementioned architects admired the social spontaneity of the traditional Greek villages and the fortification walls and believed that in them one can find a response against the rigidness to the functionalist doctrine that many architects of the early CIAM generation supported. During the last CIAM congress in Otterlo in the Netherlands in 1959, Peter Smithson introduced his presentation with slides of his journeys to Greek coastal villages. He was especially interested in the relationship between the aggregation of Greek villages and the social and cultural patterns of quotidian life of their inhabitants. The chapter examines how the concept of “cluster city” in the work and thought of Alison and Peter Smithson is related to the impact that their encounter with the forms of the Greek villages had on their design approaches. Special attention is paid to analysing how the continuity between streets and houses characterising the traditional Greek villages is related to the main ideas behind the “Urban Reidentification” grid presented during the ninth CIAM.

Departing from Peter Smithson’s remark that “[o]ne of the observations [they] […] made in Greece was whether, in the formulation of the defensive walls, there was any relationship between the wall geometry and the street geometry”, the chapter presents how the study of their writings on Greece, as well as of their photographs and sketches made during their stays in Greece exemplifies that they were interested in simultaneously  exploring the relation between architecture and territory and the capacities of morphology.  Particular emphasis is placed on the analysis of two articles by Peter Smithson: “Space and Greek Architecture”, published in The Listener in October 1958, and “Theories Concerning the Layout of Classical Greek Buildings”, published in Architectural Association journal in February 1959. Alison and Peter Smithson’s thought and practice are characterised by the intention to investigate the following three fields simultaneously: firstly, the relationship between architecture and territory; secondly, morphology and its “open-endedness”; and, thirdly, the relationship between the social and the spatial dimension of architecture and urban design.

Keywords: travel to Greece, Alison and Peter Smithson, cluster, fortification walls, ancient monuments, human association, open-ended patterns, aggregation, morphology

Figure 1_Smithsons
View of the Erechtheion and of Alison Smithson on the foreground as seen entering through the Propylaea; Acropolis, Athens, Greece, 1951 (photograph Peter Smithson; Smithson Family Collection)

18 May 2020

This Wednesday on 20 May 2020, I will deliver a lecture entitled “The Balcony as An Urban Element:Threshold, Common World and Rythmanalysis” in the framework of  the SToA Stuttgart Talks on Architecture: Facing Covid-19 – (Politics of) Elements of Architecture 

Link to the event

You can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_XTuaJr_vk

poster


14 May 2020

CALL FOR PAPERS

I will be the editor of an issue of Fabrications: The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (volume 31, no.1) on Writing Automobile Histories

Papers are due by 1 June 2020.

Click this link to read the call for papers.

I look forward to reading your articles!

Here you can read and download the call for papers

Photograph by Denise Scott Brown.jpg
Photograph by Denise Scott Brown, Las Vegas, c. 1966.

13 May 2020

I am very happy that my article entitled “The Images of Postmodernism as Symbolic Capital: L’Esprit du Temps or Un Projet Inachevé?” was selected for publication in Wolkenkuckucksheim | Cloud-Cuckoo-Land | Воздушный замок no 41, 2020.

Here you can download the abstract of this article

Link to the Editorial Board of the journal 

image 1


23 April 2020

My paper “New Social Housing Models in Sweden: From Folkhemmet to Automobile Perceptual Regimes” was selected to be presented at the 17th Annual International Conference of the Architectural Humanities Research Association ‘Housing and the City’, which will be held between 19 and 21 November 2020 at the University of Nottingham, UK

Link to conference website

You can download my abstract here

Housing and the City AHRA 2020 conference logo


15  February 2020

I am very happy that my paper entitled “The aesthetics of travel in the thought of architects: urban space in movement as new perceptual regime concerning the dynamics of landscape” has been selected to be presented at the 8th MEDITERRANEAN CONGRESS OF AESTHETICS INTERIM CONFERENCE OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR AESTHETICS, which will take place in Delphi, Greece from 10-12 September 2020

Conference website

CfP on the website of the International Association for Aesthetics

Conference venue: European Cultural Centre of Delphi


6 February 2020

I am very happy and honoured that my article “Revisiting László Moholy-Nagy and Alvar Aalto’s Connections: Creative Process as Broaden-ing of Individual’s Freedom” has been accepted for publication in the special issue of Tahiti Journal “Bauhaus vs. Nordic Design and Architecture”.

You can read the abstract of my article here


3 February 2020

My article entitled “Το όραμα ανοικοδόμησης του Κωνσταντίνου Α. Δοξιάδη και του Adriano Olivetti: μεταξύ συγκεντρωτικής και μη συγκεντρωτικής πολιτικής” was published in Archetype on 3 February.

You can read it here

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Χάρτες που περιλαμβάνονταν στην στατιστική έκθεση των πολεμικών καταστροφών της Ελλάδας, την οποία επιμελήθηκε ο Κωνσταντίνος Α. Δοξιάδης © Ίδρυμα Κωνσταντίνου και Έμμας Δοξιάδη

20 January 2020

CALL FOR PAPERS

Fabrications: The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand invites papers for a special issue (volume 31, no.1) on Writing Automobile Histories edited by Marianna Charitonidou, ETH Zürich, National Technical University of Athens and Athens School of Fine Arts. Papers are due by 1 June 2020.

The point of departure for this special issue is the hypothesis that the view from the car has established a new epistemology of the urban landscape. Focusing on the views from the car produced by architects will help us better understand how this epistemological shift influenced architectural thinking and practice. The automobile reshaped our conceptions of space revolutionizing the way architects perceive the urban environment and contributing significantly to the transformation of the relationship between architecture and the city. Automobiles transformed the ways in which we access and move around in cities, but also the city’s own relation to its territory. No other factor changed the city so drastically during the twentieth century. Many architects and architectural critics and theorists have been attracted to ‘automobile vision’. But in the field of history and theory of urban design many questions concerning the impact of the automobile on our perception of the city and its territory have not been explored in depth.

This issue of Fabrications intends to explore the theories and methods most suitable for understanding how the automobile has transformed our perception of urban conditions. It will investigate which visual means and artefacts are most significant for the way we comprehend the snapshot aesthetics which is related to car travel. Journeys have always been a source of inspiration for architects, playing a significant role in shaping their design strategies. The issue aims to grasp the specificity of car travel as a new episteme. Using the writings of Donald Appleyard, Kevin Lynch, John Myer, Reyner Banham, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown as a key reference and also considering John Lautner, Alison and Peter Smithson, Denise Scott Brown and Aldo Rossi’s practice of taking photographs from cars, the issue aims to establish a broader conceptual framework for tackling issues related to the impact of the automobile on architectural and urban thought. Papers that treat the different aspects of architects and urban designers’ automobile vision as expressions of the emergence of a new episteme are especially encouraged. Papers might also address, for example, the different ways that photography and film capture the snapshot aesthetics related to the automobile. The issue seeks papers aiming to address issues related to the emergence of the new perceptual regimes that emerged thanks to the automobile, focusing on a wide range of geographical and cultural contexts. To this end the issue, encourages articles that address places and perspectives from beyond the Euro-American context, such as those concerning the feral auto-tectonics of ‘Mad-Max’, or the great road trips and peripatetic architectures of Australasian grey nomads, referring to thephenomenon of retired people who take long – sometimes permanent – road trips.

For more info check this link

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Photograph by Denise Scott Brown, Las Vegas, c. 1966.

8 January 2020

I am very delighted that my proposal for an article entitled “Gottfried Semper’s Perplexity Before the Crystal Palace: Stoffwechsel as Osmosis between Decorative Objects and Architecture” has been selected by the committee of the journal FACES. My article will be published in the forthcoming 77th issue of FACES! https://www.facesmagazine.ch/numeros/ 

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Gottfried Semper’s Perplexity Before the Crystal Palace: Stoffwechsel as Osmosis between Decorative Objects and Architecture 

This paper examines how Gottfried Semper’s approach triggered the shift from an understanding of ornament as artefact to an experimental model. In parallel, it reveals the implications of such a reorienta- tion of the concept of ornament for both design and architecture. Pivotal for this shift was Semper’s “On the Formal Principles of Adornment and its Meaning as a Symbol in Art” (1856), which marks, firstly, a relocation of the quest for demonstration to theorisation, and, secondly, an intensification of the interaction between graphic illustration and abstract speculation. What is argued here is that Semper’s cosmological inquiries on ornamentation enacted a comprehension of ornaments as non-autonomous objects, upgrading them into reflective devices. 

Semper was in exile in London between 1850 and 1855, after his escape from Dresden on 9 May 1849 when Prussian and Saxon troops defeated the revolt in which he had participated in support of democratic rights and the unity of the German state. The presentation will focus on Semper’s comments on the 1851 Great London Exhibition, and especially on his critical remarks regarding Sir Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace whose design for the Great Exhibition had been accepted in the summer of 1850. Some months later, in February 1951, Semper drafted a school programme including lessons for engineers and architects. In March of the same year, Edwin Chadwick invited Semper, on behalf of Paxton, to become an assistant of the latter while working on the Crystal Palace. Semper rejected this offer, presenting as an excuse his involvement in the establishment of a school for architects in London, which, as he stated, had garnered publicity in the German and Swiss newspapers. Despite the fact that Semper interpreted the Great London Exhibition as a “world phenomenon” representing contemporary cultural conditions, he described the sentiments that a walk through it provoked as a “Babylonian confusion”, claiming that the perplexity it induced prevented an intelligible perception of the exhibited objects, making the impression they instigated non-compatible with his aspiration for a “practical heuristics” system. 

My objective is to examine whether the questions that arose in Semper’s mind when experiencing the Crystal Palace pushed him to question the understanding of architecture that he had previously developed in The Four Elements of Architecture , which was published shortly before his arrival in London, according to a distinction into four elements: the hearth, the roof, the enclosure and the mound. Additionally, I will investigate the extent to which his encounter with the Crystal Palace played a role in his use of the concept of stoffwechsel, which Semper introduced from biology in order to describe the material transformation of artistic forms. The elaboration of this notion allowed Semper to argue for replacing the conception of ornament as artefact by its understanding as architectural element. In other words, it is through this concept that Semper defended his integration of the decorative object into the history of architecture. These questions will be discussed in relation to an analysis of why Practical Art in Metal and Hard Materials (1852) was pivotal for the re-invention of decorative objects’ meaning.


26 December 2019

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19 December 2019

I am really honoured and happy that the Editorial Board of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand has selected my proposal for a guest-edited issue of its journal, Fabrications: The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand to be published in January 2021 (volume 31, no. 1) on the topic “Writing Automobile Histories”. I will be the editor of this issue! Stay tuned for more details!

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11 December 2019

Below you can see some of the slides of my presentation “Bernard Tschumi’s Manhattan Transcripts as an Exploration of Unlikely Confrontations: Spatial Praxis as a Dispositif Agencing Spaces and Events” at the third international conference on Deleuze and Artistic Research “MACHINIC ASSEMBLAGES OF DESIRE” at the Orpheus Institute in Ghent:

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10 December 2019

I am very happy to have in my hands this freshly printed volume that included a piece I have written on the Greek composer Iannis Xenakis, the role of Le Corbusier’s Modulor in his thought and the relationship between architecture, music and mathematics.


8 December 2019

I am very happy to present a paper entitled “Bernard Tschumi’s Manhattan Transcripts as an Exploration of Unlikely Confrontations: Spatial Praxis as a Dispositif Agencing Spaces and Events” in the framework of the third international conference on Deleuze and Artistic Research “MACHINIC ASSEMBLAGES OF DESIRE” at the Orpheus Institute in Ghent this Wednesday at 15:00 (11 December)

Link to the book of abstracts of the 

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20 November 2019

I am presenting a paper titled “From Harlem to New Haven: The Emergence of the Advocacy Planning Movement in the late 1960s”  at around 10:30 (20 November) am at TU Delft. The topic of the conference is “Architecture and Democracy 1965-1989: Urban Renewal, Populism and the Welfare State”
Link to TU Delft announcement

Link to the conference programme

Some of the slides of my presentation:

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19 November 2019

Link to archive of news 

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14 November 2019

I am happy to work on the manuscript of a single author book entitled The Travelling Architect’s Eye: Photography and Automobile Vision.

I will be organising more collective projects, such as conferences, symposiums and colloquiums, closely connected to this project as well soon. Stay tuned!

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10 October 2019

I am very happy to have contributed with a chapter on Xenakis to this forthcoming volume by KU Leuven Press.

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Link to publication’s announcement


22 August 2019

I am excited to have contributed with a chapter entitled “Music as a Reservoir of Thought’s Materialization: Between Metastasis and Modulor,” in Paulo de Assis, Paolo Giudici, eds., Aberrant Nuptials: Deleuze and Artistic Research 2. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2019.
https://lup.be/…/imprint-leuven-university-…/products/125968
Thank you Paulo de Assis and Paolo Giudici and looking forward to meeting you soon in Ghent! 😁


20 May 2019

My essay entitled  “Music as a Reservoir of Thought’s Materialisation: Between Metastaseis and Modulor?” will be published in the edited volume Aberrant Nuptials: Deleuze and Artistic Research 2, edited by Paulo de Assis and Paolo Giudici. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2019.

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17 May 2019

I am happy to have just been informed that my proposal to chair a session entitled “Migration as a Gendered Process: Redefining Domesticity and Displacement” at the 15th Conference on Urban History in Antwerp in September 2020 has been selected!

Stay tuned!


30 March 2019

I am very happy to have had the chance to design this poster for the international conference “Bauhaus and Greece: The New Ideas of Synthesis in Art and Architecture”, which will be held at Benaki Museum (Peiraios Str.) and the Athens School of Fine Arts between 30 May and 1 June 2019. Conference conveners: Andreas Giacumacatos and Sokratis Georgiadis. Looking forward to it.

Link to conference website

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20 March 2019

Μy paper “The Travelling Architect’s Eye: Photography and the Automobile Vision” has been selected to be presented at the IX Aisu Congress of the Associazione Italiana di Storia Urbana “The Global City. The Urban Condition as a Pervasive Phenomenon”, which will be hled at the University of Bologna. My paper will be part of the Session “The photographic experience of the city” coordinated by Federica Muzzarelli and Claudio Marra


5 March 2019

I am happy to participate to the journée d’étude “Les Leçons de Rome”, which will be held at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon on March 22. My talk is entitled “Suburbanization and ugliness: the aesthetic appropriation of the postwar urban reality in the work of Aldo Rossi, Bruno Zevi and Ludovico Quaroni” and will be part of the session “Ville et architecture, entre mémoire et projet” coordinated by Federico Ferrari (eNSA Paris-Malaquais). Benjamin Chavardes, thank you for the organisation of this journée d’étude

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12 February 2019

Forthcoming Publication of my article “The Immediacy of Urban Reality in Postwar Italy: Between Neorealism and Tendenza’s Instrumentalization of Ugliness,” in Architecture and Ugliness. Anti-Aesthetics in Postmodern Architecture, edited by Thomas Mical and Wouter van Acker, London and New York: Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2020.

ISBN: 9781350068230

Link to publication

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Table of contents

Introduction
SECTION 1: MONSTROUSLY UGLY
1. Ugliness, Postmodernism and the Anti-aesthetic, John Macarthur
2. Disgusting Architecture?, Bart Verschaffel
3. Becoming-Imperceptible: Ethico-Aesthetic Antidotes Against the Platitudes of the Postmodern Sublime, Heidi Sohn
4. Dusty and Formless, Teresa Stoppani
5. Ugly Exchanges: How the High Victorian Informed Brutalism, Timothy M. Rohan
6. CCTV Tower Debate, Thomas Mical
7. Post-communism and the Monstrous: Skopje 2014 and Other Political Tales, Mirjana Lozanovska
8. Making Monsters, Caroline O’Donnell
SECTION 2: UGLY AND ORDINARY
9. Baroque, Kitsch, Ugly, Andrew Leach
10. Camp Ugliness, Patricia A. Morton
11. The weak aesthetics of New Andean Architecture, Elisabetta Andreoli
12. From Radical Design to ‘Radical Evil’: the Italian Design of Alchimia and Memphis, AnnMarie Brennan
13. Ugly Architecture: The Work of Venturi and Scott Brown, Deborah Fausch
14. The Australian Ugliness. Likes (Peter Corrigan) and Dislikes (Robin Boyd), Wouter Van Acker
15. The Immediacy of Urban Reality in Postwar Italy: Between Neorealism and Tendenza’s Instrumentalization of Ugliness, Marianna Charitonidou
16. I Don’t See Your Bad Aesthetics, Jonathan Solomon
17. Follies, Ugliness and the Sublime, Iain Jackson
18. Ugliness as Aesthetic Friction: Renewing Architecture Against the Grain, Lara Schrijver

5 February 2019

I am very glad to get informed that my paper “Suburbanization and Ugliness: The Aesthetic Appropriation of the Postwar Urban Reality in the Work of Aldo Rossi, Bruno Zevi and Ludovico Quaroni” has been selected to be presented at the fourth edition of the Leçons de Rome, which will be held at the musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon on March 22, 2019

The Lessons of Rome aim at providing a space for reflection for anyone who grasps Italy as an architectural, urban and landscape research laboratory. Defining Italy as a laboratory involves analyzing contexts of urban policies but also as design expériences, theories as well as practices, legacies, mutations and prospects. It means building knowledge and culture, but also learning and developing tools to conceive the present and enrich contemporary practices. The Lessons of Rome provide the opportunity to be kept up to date on current and upcoming researches, to share existing and generate new knowledge and dialogues with Italy.


January 2019

Best wishes for the New Year 2019!

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January 2018

Στο νέο μου άρθρο που μπορείτε να βρείτε στο #Archetype παρουσιάζω πως το αρχιτεκτονικό σχέδιο λειτουργεί ως μηχανισμός διερεύνησης των επιστημολογικών μεταλλαγών της αρχιτεκτονικής. Σημείο εκκίνησης της προβληματικής που αναπτύσσεται σε αυτό το άρθρο είναι η υπόθεση ότι οι μέθοδοι αρχιτεκτονικής αναπαράστασης αποτελούν ένα γόνιμο πεδίο, εντός του οποίου μπορεί να διαγνώσει κανείς πώς μετασχηματίζεται η έννοια του παρατηρητή και του χρήστη στην αρχιτεκτονική. Ο κύριος στόχος του άρθρου είναι να παρουσιάσει τους μετασχηματισμούς της έννοιας του αποδέκτη της αρχιτεκτονικής σε έναν διαχρονικό άξονα #Architecture #Tschumi #Eisenman #AldoRossi #drawing #exhibitions#architecturalhistory #architecturaltheory

Link to article


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December 2018

We are embarking on a new research project entitled “The Fictional Addressee of Architecture as a Device for Exploring Postcolonial Culture: The Transformations of the Helleno-centric Approaches”!

Stay tuned!


November 2018

Publication of “Some thoughts on the lecture cycle of Andreas Giacumacatos ‘Traveling in 6 Cities: Six Lectures on Architecture’” (“Κάποιες σκέψεις με αφορμή τον κύκλο διαλέξεων του Ανδρέα Γιακουμακάτου ‘Ταξίδι σε 6 πόλεις: Έξι διαλέξεις για την αρχιτεκτονική”) in Archetype

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You can download the article here