PhD Dissertation & Research Projects

Postdoctoral Research Project at ETH Zürich

mar.jpg

The Travelling Architect’s Eye: Photography and Automobile Vision

This research project aims to investigate the status of the photographs that architects take during their travels by car. It 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. Focusing on the views from the car produced by the architects under study will help us to better understand how this epistemological shift influenced architectural thinking and practice. 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. One must not forget the importance of the car itself: indeed, no other factor changed the city so drastically during the twentieth century as the pervasive presence of the automobile, which had a very important impact not only on the ways one accesses the city, but also on the city’s own relation to its territory. The project will focus on the close examination of photographs taken by architects John Lautner (1911 – 1994), Alison and Peter Smithson (1928 – 1993 & 1923 – 2003) and Aldo Rossi (1931 – 1997), which will contribute to a broader understanding of the process of viewing and photographing scenes from the car, and of its elaboration of a “snapshot aesthetics” to capture contemporary urban life in its ordinariness and banality. A point of convergence between these architects’ approach is the attention they paid to the role played by automobile transport in the reorientation of how we perceive urban landscapes and territories. This project is based upon the conviction that a development of taxonomies of the photographs of these architects, according to scenography and subject matter, for instance, would permit to discern patterns in their approach to urban design, as well as in their conceptions of urban fabric. In parallel, it would help us comprehend how they categorized the elements of the landscapes that captured their attention.

Contact

Dr. ir. Marianna Charitonidou

 


Postdoctoral research project at the National Technical University of Athens

The Fictional Addressee of Architecture as a Device for Exploring Post-colonial Culture: The Transformations of the Helleno-centric Approaches

This postdoctoral research project examines the relationships between architecture’s epistemology within the Greek and international contexts, scrutinizing their interdependences. It is focused on the analysis of three case studies: the travels to Greece of the Villa Medici pensionnaires in the 19th century, the trajectories of the architects of Mataroa, and the different approaches of bridging Helleno-centricism and modernism within the Greek context. The study aims to examine the following hypothesis: in periods of crisis what appears as the main domain of attraction regarding the ‘image’ of Greece is nature and its archetypal character, while in periods of normalization the ancient monuments constitute the main point of reference of the ‘image’ of Greece. Through the juxtaposition of the different ‘images’ of Greece and the way its antiquities and the travel to Greece are conceived as part of the ‘Grand Tour’ by the French, English, Italian and German architects and archaeologists, the project will trace a genealogy of the different conceptions of philhellenism within a transnational context. The understanding of how the conception of philhellenism has been transformed throughout time in relation with the politics corresponding to each era under study will be useful for understanding the different forms that the Helleno-centricism has been taking. Since the exchanges regarding the conception of the ‘image’ of Greece by the Greeks and the non-Greeks are interrelated, the method employed aims to understand both parts in a dynamic way. This methodological choice will offer us the opportunity to better conceive how the addressee of architecture changes throughout time in Greece and how its transformations are related to the different expressions that takes the Helleno-centric approach, which, despite its hybrid nature, can inform us regarding what is at stake at each historical time regarding the relationship of Greece with the exogenous models


Doctoral Degree awarded unanimously for my dissertation entitled The Relationship between Interpretation and Elaboration of Architectural Form: Investigating the Mutations of Architecture’s Scope (Advisors: George Parmenidis (Professor NTUA), Jean-Louis Cohen (Sheldon H. Solow Professor in the History of Architecture Institute of Fine Arts of New York University) and Panayotis Tournikiotis (Professor NTUA). Examiners and readers: George Parmenidis (Professor NTUA), Jean-Louis Cohen (Sheldon H. Solow Professor in the History of Architecture Institute of Fine Arts of New York University) and Panayotis Tournikiotis (Professor NTUA), Pippo Ciorra (Professor School of Architecture of Ascoli Piceno, University of Camerino), Constantinos Moraitis (Professor NTUA), Bernard Tschumi (Professor GSAPP Columbia University of New York) and Kostas Tsiambaos (Assistant Professor NTUA))

My PhD dissertation demonstrated how the mutations of the dominant methods of representation in architecture are linked to the evolution of the significance of the city’s inhabitants. My research showed how the reorientations regarding the dominant modes of representation, corresponding to each generation under scrutiny, depend on the transformations of the way architects conceive the notion of citizenship. I analyzed the mutations concerning the modes of representation that were at the heart of architectural practice and education in each generation under consideration. My doctoral dissertation was based on archival research and detailed examination of primary sources that served to confirm the research hypotheses.

Regarding the first generation, examined in the first part of the PhD dissertation entitled “The Homogeneous Aesthetes: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier’s Addressees”, I demonstrated that what was at the center of interest during the modernist era was the individuality of architecture’s addressees and their bourgeois identity. Architecture, in this case, symbolized the property value. I examined the reasons for which Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier attached particular importance to the use of the perspective representation. The analysis of the particular features of these architects’ construction of perspective representations for their architectural projects was treated as a diagnostic mechanism. What my research diagnosed was how the above-mentioned architects conceived the relationship between universality and individuality, which was of particular importance not only to the above architects but also to the architectural modernist discourse in general.

The second generation is examined in the second part of my PhD dissertation, entitled “Post-war Engaged Users as Activators of Change: Ludovico Quaroni, Ernesto Nathan Rogers and Team 10’s Addressees”. What was at the core of architectural epistemology in these creators’ work were the intensification of interest in the concept of user and the impact of the standardization of architecture on the concept of mass-production. The emergence of models such as Ernst Neufert’s Bauentwurfslehre (1936) played an important role in the reinforcement of concerns about the concept of the user. The shift from an understanding of architecture’s addressee as individual towards its understanding as user occurred progressively. I could refer to the emergence of Neufert as a first sign of such a reorientation, but the most significant mutations occurred after WWII and are related to the ambiguity between citizenship and consumerism.

In the third part of the PhD thesis entitled “Subjects as Interpreters of Signs: Peter Eisenman, John Hejduk, Aldo Rossi and Oswald Mathias Ungers’s Addressees”, I examined yet another shift in the understanding of architecture’s addressee: this time, rather than being apprehended as a user, he became a subject. I demonstrated how this conception implies that the meaning or signification of architecture cannot but be co-constructed by the architect and the addressee. The term subject implies the complementarity between object and subject and the complementarity between the architect and the addressee for the establishment of the meaning of architecture, reminding us the important fact that the interpretation of architecture depends on the de-codification of architecture by its addressee.

In the fourth part of the PhD thesis entitled “The Fragmented Subjects as Actors of Programmatic Devices: Rem Koolhaas and Bernard Tschumi’s Addressees”, I analysed the processes through which Koolhaas and Tschumi converted the concept of program in architecture into a design strategy, taking as a starting point of the design process the dynamic nature of urban conditions. It turns out that in Koolhaas and Tschumi’s approaches, the importance attached to the kinesthetic experience of architecture is based on the assumption that within the same subject there exist opposing tendencies and forces.


Society.jpg

phd certificate.jpg


phd poster.jpg

Advisors:
Georgios Parmenidis, Professor NTUA
Jean-Louis Cohen, Sheldon H. Solow Professor in the History of Architecture, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
Panayotis Tournikiotis Professor NTUA

Dissertation’s Examination Committee:
Pippo Ciorra, Professor School of Architecture of Ascoli Piceno, University of Camerino
Constantinos Moraitis, Professor NTUA
Bernard Tschumi, Professor GSAPP Columbia University of New York
Kostas Tsiambaos Assistant Professor NTUA

You can download the poster of my public PhD thesis defence here


books of PhD.jpg

εξώφυλλο τόμος 2_Μαριάννα Χαριτωνίδου


The Relationship between Interpretation and Elaboration of Architectural Form: Investigating the Mutations of Architecture’s Scope

The Ph.D. dissertation is structured in four parts that correspond to four generations of architects, highlighting the conceptual tools and the epistemological concerns at the centre of the architectural discourse and the design strategies at each historical moment. It investigates the transformation of the epistemological object of architecture through the analysis of the mutations of the modes of representation that are at the centre of interest in each generation being considered. the work of Ludovico Quaroni, Ernesto Nathan Rogers and Team 10, modernist era was the individual and the bourgeois character of architecture’s In the first part of the dissertation, it is demonstrated that what was at the centre of interest in the so-called addressees, and architecture symbolised the value of its property by the addressee. The dissertation examines the reasons for which the architects Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier paid particular attention to the use of perspective representation. In the second part of the dissertation, which is focused on two issues that are closely analysed are the intensification of the interest in the concept of user and the relationship between architecture’s standardisation and mass-production.

In the third part of the dissertation, which is focused on the work of Peter Eisenman, John Hejduk, Aldo Rossi and Oswald Mathias Ungers, the analysis is focused on the shift from an understanding of architecture’s addressee as user towards an understanding of architecture’s addressee as subject. In parallel, it is presented how an understanding of architecture’s addressee as subject instead of its understanding as user implies that architecture’s meaning or signification cannot but be co-constructed by both the architect and the addressee of architecture. In the fourth part, the dissertation scrutinises the processes through which both Rem Koolhaas and Bernard Tschumi transformed the concept of program in architecture into a design strategy taking as a starting point of the design process the dynamic nature of urban conditions. It turns out that in Koolhaas and Tschumi’s approaches, the importance attached to the kinaesthetic experience of architecture is based on the assumption that within the same subject there exist opposing tendencies and forces.

The Ph.D thesis demonstrates how the mutations of architecture’s epistemological object of architecture is related to the transformations of the status of architecture’s addressees at each historical time as well as to the shifts concerning citizens’ identity from generation to generation. The choice to use a means very specific to architecture, such as its very modes of representation, in order to diagnose the mutations of the way architecture incorporates or responds to situations that belong to different spheres, such as the social and political domains, reveals the articulations between architecture’s specificity and its social and institutional context. It also males explicit that the connections between architecture’s means and the larger sphere can only be captured if one’s analysis takes as starting point the examination of what is at stake in specific architectural projects. The dissertation establishes a methodological through the real and fictional transformation of the status of architecture’s addressees.

The PhD dissertation is based on a generational organisation and unfolds around four generations. For each generation, the research focuses on emblematic architects that affected significantly the epistemology of architecture of the corresponding generation. The narrative unfolds around two axes: one diachronic and one synchronic. The synchronic axis serves to shed light upon the different interpretations of similar concepts by the architects belonging to the same generation, while the diachronic axis permits to grasp the transformations and the ruptures regarding the conception of the “fictive user”. The means that are used in order to diagnose these mutations are the modes of representation employed by the architects under study, on the one hand, and the way the relationship between the discourse on architecture, the representation of architecture and the fabrication of architecture changes, on the other hand. Two aspects that are at the heart of the analysis are: how each of the architects under study conceive the “observers”, who interpret their architectural representations; how through the design of buildings they shape a model of “users”, who are to inhabit the spaces they conceive. In each representation, because of the fact that the conception of form in architecture addresses to a use, the construction of a “fictive user” takes necessarily place. In other word, the architects, during their endeavour to represent an eventual space formation, they fabricate a relationship between a fictive and a real user.

The first generation, which includes Le Corbusier and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, is characterised by the tendency to define in a holistic and homogenised way the “fictive user” and the “other”. The analysis shows how, during this period, the construction of the “fictive user” is focused on the assumption of the existence of a “universal user”. In the case of the second generation, which begins in 1945 and includes Ludovico Quaroni, Ernesto Nathan Rogers and Team 10, the concept of the “fictive user” is defined according to national contexts. In this period, we can discern the development of ethnocentric models not only in architecture but also in cinema as in the case of Neorealist Italian cinema. For the third generation, the analysis focuses on the modes of representation of John Hejduk, Peter Eisenman, Aldo Rossi and Oswald Mathias Ungers and shows how their approaches are related to the tension between the individual and the collective. An aspect that is also examine how the architects under study corresponding to the third generation introduce the critique of functionalism in their design process. The fourth generation, which includes Rem Koolhaas and Bernard Tschumi, is characterised by the effort to reveal that within the same “fictive user” there are opposing trends and forces. The “fictive user”, therefore, is perceived as a fragmented and multidimensional subject. The thesis unfolds the reasons for which in each generation a mode of representation is privileged and shows how the primacy of specific modes of representation is linked to the way the “observers” of architectural drawings and the inhabitants or architectural artefacts are conceived.

My PhD dissertation demonstrated how the mutations of the dominant methods of representation in architecture are linked to the evolution of the significance of the city’s inhabitants. My research showed how the reorientations regarding the dominant modes of representation, corresponding to each generation under scrutiny, depend on the transformations of the way architects conceive the notion of citizenship. I analysed the mutations concerning the modes of representation that were at the heart of architectural practice and education in each generation under consideration. My doctoral dissertation was based on archival research and detailed examination of primary sources that served to confirm the research hypotheses. Regarding the first generation, examined in the first part of the PhD dissertation entitled “The Homogeneous Aesthetes: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier’s Addressees”, I demonstrated that what was at the centre of interest during the modernist era was the individuality of architecture’s addressees and their bourgeois identity. Architecture, in this case, symbolized the property value. I examined the reasons for which Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier attached particular importance to the use of the perspective representation. The analysis of the particular features of these architects’ construction of perspective representations for their architectural projects was treated as a diagnostic mechanism. What my research diagnosed was how the above-mentioned architects conceived the relationship between universality and individuality, which was of particular importance not only to the above architects but also to the architectural modernist discourse in general.

The second generation is examined in the second part of my PhD dissertation, entitled “Post-war Engaged Users as Activators of Change: Ludovico Quaroni, Ernesto Nathan Rogers and Team 10’s Addressees”. What was at the core of architectural epistemology in these creators’ work were the intensification of interest in the concept of user and the impact of the standardization of architecture on the concept of mass-production. The emergence of models such as Ernst Neufert’s Bauentwurfslehre (1936) played an important role in the reinforcement of concerns about the concept of the user. The shift from an understanding of architecture’s addressee as individual towards its understanding as user occurred progressively. I could refer to the emergence of Neufert as a first sign of such a reorientation, but the most significant mutations occurred after WWII and are related to the ambiguity between citizenship and consumerism.

In the third part of the PhD thesis entitled “Subjects as Interpreters of Signs: Peter Eisenman, John Hejduk, Aldo Rossi and Oswald Mathias Ungers’s Addressees”, I examined yet another shift in the understanding of architecture’s addressee: this time, rather than being apprehended as a user, he became a subject. I demonstrated how this conception implies that the meaning or signification of architecture cannot but be co-constructed by the architect and the addressee. The elaboration of the term “subject” implies the complementarity between object and subject and the complementarity between the architect and the addressee for the establishment of the meaning of architecture, reminding us the important fact that the interpretation of architecture depends on the de-codification of architecture by its addressee. In the fourth part of the PhD thesis entitled “The Fragmented Subjects as Actors of Programmatic Devices: Rem Koolhaas and Bernard Tschumi’s Addressees”, I analysed the processes through which Koolhaas and Tschumi converted the concept of program in architecture into a design strategy, taking as a starting point of the design process the dynamic nature of urban conditions.


Η διάσταση ανάμεσα στην ερμηνεία και στη διαχείριση της αρχιτεκτονικής μορφής: διερευνώντας την αλλαγή του αντικειμένου της αρχιτεκτονικής

H διατριβή δομείται σε τέσσερα μέρη που αντιστοιχούν σε τέσσερις γενιές αρχιτεκτόνων, αναδεικνύοντας τα εννοιολογικά εργαλεία και τις μεθόδους προβληματοθεσίας που βρίσκονται στο επίκεντρο του αρχιτεκτονικού λόγου και της συνθετικής διαδικασίας κάθε ιστορική στιγμή. Διερευνάται ο μετασχηματισμός της αλλαγής του αντικειμένου της αρχιτεκτονικής μέσα από την ανάλυση των μεταλλαγών των μέσων αναπαράστασης που βρίσκονται στο επίκεντρο του ενδιαφέροντος σε κάθε γενιά που εξετάζεται και του στόχου απεύθυνσής τους.

Στο πρώτο μέρος της διατριβής αναδεικνύεται ότι αυτό που ήταν στο επίκεντρο του ενδιαφέροντος ήταν ο ατομικός και αστικός χαρακτήρας του αποδέκτη της αρχιτεκτονικής και η αρχιτεκτονική συμβολίζει την αξία της κατοχής της από τον αποδέκτη. Εξετάζονται οι λόγοι για τους οποίους οι αρχιτέκτονες Ludwig Mies van der Rohe και Le Corbusier προσδίδουν ιδιαίτερη σημασία στη χρήση της προοπτικής αναπαράστασης. Στο δεύτερο μέρος της διατριβής, που εστιάζει στο έργο των το έργο των Ludovico Quaroni, Ernesto Nathan Rogers και Team 10, εξετάζεται η εντατικοποίηση του ενδιαφέροντος για την έννοια του χρήστη και η επίδραση της τυποποίησης της αρχιτεκτονικής στη διαμόρφωση της έννοιας του μαζικού χρήστη. Στο τρίτο μέρος της διατριβής, που εστιάζει στο έργο των Peter Eisenman, John Hejduk, Aldo Rossi και Oswald Mathias Ungers, εξετάζεται η μεταστροφή από την κατανόηση του αποδέκτη της αρχιτεκτονικής ως χρήστη προς την κατανόηση του αποδέκτη της αρχιτεκτονικής ως υποκειμένου. Παράλληλα, αναδεικνύεται πως η μετάβαση από την κατανόηση του αποδέκτη της αρχιτεκτονικής ως χρήστη στην αντίληψή του ως υποκειμένου υποδηλώνει ότι η σημασιοδότηση της αρχιτεκτονικής συν-διαμορφώνεται από τον αρχιτέκτονα και τον αποδέκτη. Επιχειρείται μια διεξοδική διερεύνηση των επιστημολογικών μεταλλαγών που συνοδεύουν τον παραπάνω αναπροσανατολισμό της κατανόησης της έννοιας του αποδέκτη της αρχιτεκτονικής. Στο τέταρτο μέρος της διατριβής εξετάζονται οι διαδικασίες μέσω των οποίων οι αρχιτέκτονες Rem Koolhaas και Bernard Tschumi μετατρέπουν την έννοια του προγράμματος της αρχιτεκτονικής σε μηχανισμό αρχιτεκτονικής σύνθεσης, λαμβάνοντας ως σημείο εκκίνησης της σχεδιαστικής διαδικασίας τον δυναμικό χαρακτήρα των αστικών συνθηκών. Αναδεικνύεται ότι οι προσεγγίσεις των παραπάνω αρχιτεκτόνων και η σημασία που προσδίδουν στην κιναισθητική εμπειρία της αρχιτεκτονικής βασίζεται στην παραδοχή ότι εντός του ίδιου υποκειμένου υπάρχουν αντιμαχόμενες μεταξύ τους τάσεις και δυνάμεις.

Στα πλαίσια της διατριβής, παρουσιάζονται τα κύρια σημεία του μετασχηματισμού του αντικειμένου της αρχιτεκτονικής, που ακολουθούσε τον μετασχηματισμό αυτού στον οποίον απευθύνεται η αρχιτεκτονική σε κάθε εποχή. Η επιλογή να διερευνηθεί ένα ειδικό μέσο για την αρχιτεκτονική, όπως οι τρόποι λειτουργίας της αναπαράστασης, έγινε προκειμένου να διαγνωσθούν οι μεταλλάξεις του τρόπου με τον οποίο η αρχιτεκτονική ενσωματώνει ή ανταποκρίνεται σε καταστάσεις που ανήκουν σε ευρύτερες σφαίρες, όπως οι κοινωνικοί και πολιτικοί τομείς, οι αρθρώσεις μεταξύ της ειδικότητας της αρχιτεκτονικής και του κοινωνικού και θεσμικού πλαισίου της. Επίσης, αναδεικνύεται ότι οι σχέσεις μεταξύ των μέσων της αρχιτεκτονικής και της ευρύτερης σφαίρας μπορούν να γίνουν κατανοητές όταν η ανάλυση έχει ως αφετηρία την εξέταση του τι διακυβεύεται σε συγκεκριμένα αρχιτεκτονικά έργα.

Η διατριβή συστήνει ένα μεθοδολογικό εργαλείο κατανόησης των επάλληλων μετασχηματισμών του αντικειμένου του αρχιτεκτονικού σχεδιασμού μέσα από τον πραγματικό και φαντασιωτικό μετασχηματισμό αυτού στον οποίον απευθύνεται. Ιδιαίτερη έμφαση έχει δοθεί στην ανάλυση των μεταλλαγών των μεθόδων διδασκαλίας στις σχολές αρχιτεκτονικής που εξετάζονται και στη σχέση των μεταλλαγών αυτών με τους μετασχηματισμούς του επιστημολογικού αντικειμένου της αρχιτεκτονικής. Παράλληλα, διερευνάται η εξέλιξη της σχέσης της φιλοσοφίας με την αρχιτεκτονική κατά τον 20ο και 21ο αιώνα.


PhD Defence.jpg
Photo taken during my public PhD defence on September 13, 2018

http://www.efrome.it/fileadmin/res/Rapports_activites/Rapport_EFR_2017_version_interactive_br_VF.pdf


e3wfullo1.jpg

 

 

Penone.jpg

περιεχόμενα πενονε 2.jpg

olo to er.jpg

pen.jpg
Giuseppe Penone, “Albero di dodici metri”, 1970