Author Archives: AAPC


A week of seminars, lectures and presentations organised and hosted by Projective Cities MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design

13-17 DECEMBER 2021 

Athens as a case study, and specifically the neighbourhood of Kaisariani, is the focus of the programme term 2 design exercise. A series of collaborations with the local municipality and various stakeholders, academic institutions, practitioners and activists, present and expose AA students in the city’s complex urban and social history, aiming to rethink urban and architectural design practices within the context of 21st century ecological, social, economic and political challenges.

The city and the neighbourhood of Kaisariani serve as sites of research and design experimentation, focusing on the development of new housing typologies, renovation projects and various public and collective equipments, while rethinking and promoting the legacy of the refugee population and its social, cultural and political histories and their registry in spatial and design protocols.

This third field trip is part of the three-year, model research and design project developed as a collaboration between Projective Cities MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design (Architectural Association, School of Architecture) and the Faculty of Architecture of University of Cyprus, and is focused on studies of renovation, adaptation, and promotion of the historic and the current urban and building fabric of Kaisariani.

The programme will conclude with an exhibition, a publication, and a conference, with the overall title ‘1922-2022: Refugee Neighbourhoods. Sustainability, and Cultural Heritage: The Case of Kaisariani’ due in September and December 2022 respectively.


Mon      DEC 13:          

Introduction, Athens as a case study. 10am, Platon Issaias (AA/PC).

Parasitic [Infra]structures: The Kaisariani Case. 11am, Konstantinos Avramidis (UCY).

zoom link, Meeting ID: 825 2750 4967, Passcode: 831334

Contemporary Urbanism and Planning in Athens: Key Trends and Challenges. 12pm, Loukas Triantis (School of Architecture, Technical University, Chania).

zoom link, Meeting ID: 899 4819 0751, Passcode: 230615

Agrarian Hinterlands: The Humanitarian Garden, the Self-help House, and the Resettlement of Refugees in South Macedonia, 1923-1030. 4pm

Theodossis Issaias (Heinz Architectural Center, Carnegie Museum of Art).

zoom link, Meeting ID: 834 7400 9614, Passcode: 519399

Tue      DEC 14:          

Kaisariani: An Urban Community in the City of Athens. 4pm, Olga Balaoura (NTUA/DUTh).

zoom link, Meeting ID: 846 5709 3843, Passcode: 387898

Wed     DEC 15:          

Co-designing in the City of Multiple Crises. 10am, Thanos Andritsos, Dimitris Poulios, Sofia Tsadari (Commonspace/Participatory Lab).

zoom link, Meeting ID: 831 1738 3138, Passcode: 118488

Builders, Housewives, and the Construction of Modern Athens. 4pm, Ioanna Theocharopoulou (Cornell), Tassos Langis, Yiannis Gaitanidis.       

zoom link, Meeting ID: 828 8404 1236, Passcode: 474585

Thu      DEC 16:          

The Filmed Apartment. 10am, Panos Dragonas (University of Patras).

zoom link, Meeting ID: 860 8398 1514, Passcode: 666528

Fri        DEC 17:          

Towards an Urban Typology: Concept, Structure, Form. 10am, Sofia Tsiraki (NTUA).

zoom link, Meeting ID: 826 2030 9352, Passcode: 761347

Making Neighbors. 6pm, AREA, Architecture Research Athens.

zoom link, Meeting ID: 839 4005 3435, Passcode: 098945

NOTE: times above are GMT.

– In English, via Zoom, follow Projective Cities website and social media for more information.

Detailed Schedule, Seminars/Lectures:

Mon      DEC 13:          

Parasitic [Infra]structures: The Kaisariani Case. 11am, Konstantinos Avramidis (UCY).

This talk critically re-examines a series of student projects produced around Michel Serres’s concept of ‘parasite’ in the context of a diploma design unit organised at the University of Cyprus in collaboration with the Projective Cities Programme at the Architectural Association. The studio focuses on social subjects and groups considered ‘parasitic’ and designs their [infra]structures. The goal is for these parasitic [infra]structures to act as catalysts for the cultivation of complex forms of social relations in the historic neighbourhood of Kaisariani in Athens. Special emphasis is given to the overview and promotion of the unique refugee heritage in the social, cultural and political history of the district, as well as its registration in spatial and design protocols. By taking the parasite as a starting point, the talk aims to rethink the relationship between social and spatial structures. The so considered social parasitism becomes an opportunity to reflect on innovative housing models, new forms of care and welfare in the community.

Konstantinos Avramidis is a Lecturer in Architecture and Landscapes at the University of Cyprus. He holds a DipArch from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, an MSc in Architecture and Spatial Design from the National Technical University of Athens with distinction, and a PhD in Architecture by Design from the University of Edinburgh, where he was awarded the Edinburgh College of Art scholarship. He has taught extensively at various institutions in Greece and the UK, most recently at Drury University and the University of Portsmouth. He co-founded the architectural design research journal Drawing On and is the principal editor of Graffiti and Street Art: Reading, Writing and Representing the City (Routledge, 2017).

Mon      DEC 13:          

Contemporary Urbanism and Planning in Athens: Key Trends and Challenges. 12pm, Loukas Triantis (School of Architecture, Technical University, Chania).

The presentation gives an overview of Athens’s contemporary urbanism and planning. It brings together path dependencies, formal and informal modes of urban development, with current trends and challenges. The city’s social geography links to urban morphology, patterns of mixed uses and social and spatial divisions. Key challenges in the aftermath of Greece’s debt crisis involve housing affordability, urban tourism and short-term rentals, greening and public space, new urban infrastructures, and mega-projects underway. Urban planning forms troubled relations to current urban transformation and development trends, which open up various fields of intervention.

Loukas Triantis is an architect-planner based in Athens. He currently teaches urban theory and planning in the School of Architecture, Technical University of Crete. He also coordinates a research initiative of LSE Cities about Athens in collaboration with the City of Athens. He has practiced urban and regional planning in the private and the public sectors in Greece and is a board member of the Greek Association of Urban and Regional Planners. His interests touch upon the social, political, and institutional aspects of planning, development, and governance.

Mon      DEC 13:          

Agrarian Hinterlands: The Humanitarian Garden, the Self-help House, and the Resettlement of Refugees in South Macedonia, 1923-1030. 4pm, Theodossis Issaias (Heinz Architectural Center, Carnegie Museum of Art).

The presentation charts the precarious refugee and minority regime put in place by the League of Nations and the humanitarian response to the violent uprooting and resettlement of populations in the aftermath of the 1923 Lausanne Convention on the Exchange of Population between Turkey and Greece. It focuses on the extraterritorial Refugee Settlement Commission of the League, which operated as humanitarian-cum-development agency responsible for the resettlement of 1.22 million refugees in Greece, and pays particular attention to its rural rehabilitation program in South Macedonia. As a spatial program par excellence, this rural settlement utilized land reform and mass homeownership – the smallholding and the rural house – as its primary instruments. In this process, humanitarian relief and nation-building as well as the imperatives of the post-war international peace system converged and at times conflicted. Farm sizes, construction materials, manure types, food ratios, and seed varieties that were suspended between peace treaties and ethnostates, international loans and national debt, native antagonism and refugee dissent.

Theodossis (Theo) Issaias is an architect and educator, and recently joined the Heinz Architectural Center at the Carnegie Museum of Art as Associate Curator. He earned his diploma of Architecture at the National Technical University of Athens and an SMarchS degree from MIT. Since 2009, he has been practicing as a founding member of Fatura Collaborative, an architecture and research collective. His PhD dissertation, “Architectures of the Humanitarian Front” (Yale University), explores the nexus of humanitarian organizations and architecture and their relation to conflict, displacement and the provision of shelter.

Tue      DEC 14:          

Kaisariani: An Urban Community in the City of Athens. 4pm, Olga Balaoura (NTUA/DUTh).

The lecture focuses on the urban and residential development of Kesariani from 1922 to the present, examining its architectural, spatial and social characteristics that led to its current urban identity. Through the analysis of the urban trajectory of the area, it investigates the spatial and typological characteristics, as well as its human geography, as these are constantly enriched by changes that take place over time. Kaisariani is an urban community, in which special urban, social and cultural characteristics may be identified within the wider geography of the city of Athens. The area comprises a cultural and historic urban landscape due to the tangible expressions of its urban environment composed by several historical layers of public and private interventions and the intangible values and ways of life of its residents distinct and relatively common to other neighborhoods in Athens that embody such a condensed political history.

Olga Balaoura is an architect and an urban planner. He holds a diploma in architecture from the School of Architecture of the Democritus University of Thrace, a Master’s degree (MSc Post-graduate Master in Urbanism) from TU Delft in the Netherlands and a PhD from IUAV in Venice. She has systematically dealt with issues of urban and spatial planning and the economic and social geography of the cities, on issues regarding the urban development, sustainability and social and environmental justice, at different scales and various spatial realities in Greece and abroad. She is teaching at the School of Architecture of NTUA and at Democritus University of Thrace, School of Architecture.

Wed     DEC 15:          

Co-designing in the City of Multiple Crises. 10am, Thanos Andritsos, Dimitris Poulios, Sofia Tsadari (Commonspace/Participatory Lab).

Thanos Andritsos studied Architecture at the University of Thessaly and Urban and Regional Planning at the National Technical University of Athens. He has more than ten years of experience in studies and projects related to Urban Design, Sustainable Urban Development, Integrated Territorial Investments, Project Management and Planning Legislation. As a researcher, he is interested in socio-spatial inequalities, sustainable urban development and the challenges of climate breakdown.

Dimitris Poulios is an Architect-Urban Designer with studies in Greece (University of Thessaly) and UK (Cardiff University). Since 2021 he holds a PhD in Urban Planning and Urban Geography form the National Technical University of Athens. His scientific interests lie in the field of Geography, Urban Studies, Political Economy and Architecture. He has won Architectural and Urban Planning competitions and has experience working in Greece and abroad.

Sofia Tsadari a qualified Architect / Urban and Regional Planner (MEng, MSc, PHD – National Technical University of Athens), with 15-year experience in multi-scale architectural / urban design and planning, which also includes site / project management and awards in architectural competitions. She was worked on several participatory planning projects, integrated urban strategies, and studies related to climate change adaptation. Her academic interest focuses on the aftermath of crisis upon urban landscapes.

Sofia, Dimitris and Thanos are founding members of Commonspace and Participatory Lab. They have more than a decade of experience in participatory planning and community engagement/ development projects in Greece.

Commonspace is a collaborative – interdisciplinary planning and design group operating since 2012. It provides high quality services in the fields of Spatial Strategies, Architecture, Social Research, Urban and Environmental Design and Participatory Planning. It seeks to be a link between citizens, social institutions and public authorities, a hub for the exchange of knowledge, ideas and practices among citizens, experts and decision-makers.

Participatory Lab (Laboratory of Spatial, Urban and Environmental Participatory Planning for Climate Change Adaptation) is an initiative of Commonspace funded by the Greek Green Fund.  It aims to create an active, interdisciplinary community that studies, documents, learns, disseminates, and implements participatory planning processes for the climate change adaptation of cities.

Wed     DEC 15:          

Builders, Housewives, and the Construction of Modern Athens. 4pm, Ioanna Theocharopoulou (Cornell), Tassos Langis, Yiannis Gaitanidis.

A documentary exploring the particular history of the Athenian “polykatoikia” [a small-scale multi-story apartment block] and the city’s reconstruction through the anonymous lives of everyday people in the time of “antiparochí” [an apartments-for-land exchange system]. The work is based on Ioanna Theocharopoulou’s book of the same title. The film is an Onassis Culture production.

Who were the rural men that came to Athens with their wives after the Greek Civil War and “swamped” the city in cement? Who “tore down” all the neoclassical buildings and why did they flood the Attic basin with apartment blocks? How did they learn and develop their craft? Where did they come from? What know-how and techniques did they bring with them?

Athens lies at the heart of everything the Onassis Foundation does. Culture that reaches out to journey through the urban fabric, descending on the city center to champion Athens as a time-honored place still very much alive – a space of great ferment where ideas are exchanged. The Onassis Foundation is pursuing lasting investment in Greek cinema and playing an active role in artistic creation. It is supporting established filmmakers and rising talents through screenplay development and the production of both shorts and features, and embracing creative processes, research approaches, and artistic development by offering scholarships and fellowships.

Athens is our city – where we were born, where we live – and we love it like its “our ancestral village”. It is, however, a contradictory and almost anonymous place, the repetitive textures of the apartment blocks extending out in all directions like clones. A space like a text, impenetrable in its generality, unintelligible, and lacking clear historical references besides the landmark that is the Acropolis and a smattering of unconnected monuments. You might ask yourself: “How did all this get built?” It certainly wasn’t put together by architects and urban planners.

Motivated and guided by Ioanna Theocharopoulou’s book, we sought out the cracks in our modern urban history to find out who these rural migrant men and women were – the co-creators of our built environment. And set out with all the standard preconceived notions – that they were the ones who destroyed Athens, that the Karamanlis administration’s “antiparochí” system was to blame, and so on.

We don’t know if these biases and myths about Athens will ever cease to exist. It’s just that now, yet another story has been added to the mix – about the creation of the oldest new capital in Europe.

Ioanna Theocharopoulou is an architect and architectural historian whose research focuses on cities and the histories, theories, and evolving concepts of post-carbon architecture and society. Her writing has appeared in numerous journals as well as book chapters, and she has collaborated on curating and chairing several academic conferences, including “Ecogram: The Question of Sustainability at Columbia University” (2008–11), and “Cities and Citizenship” (2014) with the Goethe-Institut and New York University. She is the author of Builders, Housewives and the Construction of Modern Athens (Artifice, 2017). Theocharopoulou is currently preparing a new edition of the book with the support of the Onassis Foundation and Cultural Center in Athens. She has taught at the Cooper-Hewitt Master’s Program for Design and Curatorial Studies, at Columbia University Graduate School for Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and at Parsons School of Design at the New School in New York City. Theocharopoulou studied at the Architectural Association in London and holds a master’s degree in advanced architectural design and a Ph.D in architecture from Columbia University.

Tassos Langis studied film at Long Island University in New York and the Hellenic Film and Television School Stavrakos in Athens. In 2008, he was selected to take part in the Berlinale Talent Campus in Berlin. His research focuses on symbiotic narrative forms in various media.

Yiannis Gaitanidis lives in Athens, Greece. His work and creative output shares between short films, documentaries, tv commercials, and street photography. His four short films and some of his TV documentaries have participated and been awarded in several international film festivals. Αt the moment he works in the development of a script for a feature film.

Thu      DEC 16:          

The Filmed Apartment. 10am, Panos Dragonas (University of Patras).

Urbanization in Greece was not based on top-down urban planning but on the ad-hoc repetition of a single building type. The polykatoikia had a significant contribution in the urban and economic development of the country. Moreover, it had a dominant role in the formation of modern subjectivity in Greece. The lecture focuses on the development of Greek modernism through the architecture of middle class housing and the representations of urban dwelling in cinema. The urban analysis takes into consideration the layout of the typical apartment and the way that the repetition of a single building type has produced the city. The film analysis takes place in three ways: As a cinematic archaeology that renders visible social and urban transformations of the past; through the understanding of the methods that cinema has promoted, or put into question, specific lifestyles and ideologies; and finally, through film form and the analysis of its cultural significance.

Panos Dragonas is an architect and professor of architecture and urban design at the University of Patras. In 2012 he was joint commissioner of the Greek participation entitled “Made in Athens” at the Venice Biennale of architecture. He has also co-curated the exhibitions “Adhocracy [Athens]” (2015) and “Tomorrows – Urban fictions for possible futures” (Athens, 2017 & Nantes-FR, 2019). He has published extensively on issues of Greek city and architecture. His research and design activities focus on the transformations of the Greek cities during the economic and social crisis, and the connections between cinema, architecture and the modern city. His design work in “dragonas architecture studio” has been published in international reviews and exhibitions.

Fri        DEC 17:          

Towards an Urban Typology: Concept, Structure, Form. 10am, Sofia Tsiraki (NTUA).

I believe that establishing correlation between practicing and teaching architecture is difficult and complex. Is it important that the work of an architect (theoretical, tutorial and practical) must be traced, analyzed and evaluated in reference to a common ethical and methodological basis?

Is it also significant that different projects of an architect follow a common path concerning compositional process, syntactic systems or morphological vocabulary which constitute architecture an aesthetic, scientific, structural and essentially, social entity?  

In an attempt to approach the aforementioned matters, I will present part of our work, in particular projects mostly located in the center of Athens in characteristic neighborhoods, within the dense tissue. These examples, negotiate the concept, structure and form of habitable space as an “archetype life container” aiming to constitute an urban typology.

Sofia Tsiraki is Associate Professor of Architectural Compositions (School of Architecture, NTUA). Architect Engineer NTUA and permanent member of Anastasios Biris Architectural Office& Associates. She is co-author of three collective books and has edited various publications. She has participated in architectural exhibitions. She has been awarded first prizes in Panhellenic Architectural competitions and has collective and individual architectural work. Her completed projects have won awards, while others, such as the project “The house-box: Residence and space for cultural activities in Koukaki” had been nominated for the Mies Van der Rohe Awards 2013. The project “The dissolution of the box: Apartment building in Gazi” was honored with the A’ award 2009-2013 of the Hellenic Institute of Architecture, while the “Industrial Building in Kifissia” was awarded in 2016 by “Domes”. She was recently awarded the first prize in the Panhellenic Architectural Competition for the “PEDA Services Building”, in Eleufsina.

Fri        DEC 17:          

Making Neighbors. 6pm, AREA, Architecture Research Athens.

In the aftermath of the social state, and no less in the age of Covid-19, ‘crisis’ within the contemporary city is necessarily a social crisis, where various forms of human collectivity emerge in response to the lack of available resources. The question of context becomes a question of ‘neighbors’, transcending the digital era, while the desire for [or fear of] physical proximity redefines the concept of human density in cultural terms. The implications for architecture of “making neighbors” is thus as much about projecting a politics of cohabitation as it is about the renegotiation of physical form through an ongoing dialectic of public and private space. “Neighboring”, in this sense, can be seen not only as an evaluative criterion of successful design, but also as a strategy for the design process itself.

AREA (Architecture Research Athens) is an award winning design practice established in Athens by architects Styliani Daouti, Giorgos Mitroulias and Michaeljohn Raftopoulos. The team’s approach actively engages experimental design methodologies in pursuit of the relationship between culture, form and context, with a particular interest in public space. AREA’s theoretical and built work ranges across multiple scales, from furniture to urban design, and has been published and exhibited in Greece, Europe, Asia and North America, with numerous prizes in competitions for public and private projects. AREA teaches architecture at the University of Thessaly and the University of Patras Schools of Architecture. 


A week of seminars, lectures and presentations organised and hosted by Projective Cities MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design

1-5 NOVEMBER 2021 

After 2019 studio trip, this third (second virtual) edition will deepen in the understanding of the city’s current problems and challenges derived from both contextual matters and historic claims. Organized around a number of daily topics (Introduction, models and governance for affordable housing, resilience, urban subjectivities and designing Barcelona), local guests from different profiles and backgrounds will enable a number of discussions for which the understanding of multiple stakeholders’ approaches become fundamental.  

Mon, NOV 1 Barcelona, a brief introduction. Raül Avilla | Zaida Muxí. 

Tue, NOV 2 Arquitectos de Cabecera (Tonet Font) | Straddle 3 (David Juárez). 

Wed, NOV 3 Arqbag (Bernat Colomé, Júlia Dubois) | La Dinamo Foundation (Daniela Idrovo)  | Raons Publiques (Anna de Torróntegui, Andrés Martínez). 

Thu, NOV 4 DPR Barcelona (Ethel Baraona) | Celobert (Diego Carrillo). 

Fri, NOV 5 Vicente Guallard | MAIO Architects (Public Lecture, 7pm).  
 Note: hours in CET time zone (Barcelona local time).  


11:00-12:30,  Seminar: “Barcelona, Plans and Challenges” | Raül Avilla-Royo | Barcelona’s urban structure and architecture allows a transparent reading of the urban morphology as a result of different historical society structures, political strategies, power deployment forms and city struggles. From ancient roman times, through medieval city, industrial extension (Eixample) and implementation of modern ideas, each moment spatialized socio-political ideas in specific city patterns, while transforming previous ones at its convenience. Exemplified in Barcelona, this seminar will navigate through the relevant urban episodes that made the city of Barcelona, ending up in the 1992s’ so-called “Barcelona Model”, broadly exported, and as much celebrated as criticized. Lecturer: Raül Avilla. 

12:30-14:00, Seminar: “Community Architecture” | Raül Avilla-Royo | The 2008 real estate bubble burst caused an unprecedented economic crisis, that soon turned into a social and political one. In 2011, the 15M Indignados (Outraged) movement became a spontaneous social movement that politicised society at all levels, producing significant changes in city governance, particularly after 2015 with the rise of the municipalist movement Barcelona in Common, whose members are former activists. This seminar will analyse how a young generation of architects assumed political commitment and social responsibility as their own agenda, shifting their disciplinary tools and protocols, and becoming mediators between administration, technicians and social movements. Closely linked, it will address the new scenario produced by the emergence of cooperative housing and a number of self-managed community facilities. Lecturer: Raül Avilla. 

 16:00-17:00, Zaida Muxí | Zaida is an Architect by the University of Buenos Aires and obtained her PhD from the School of Architecture of the University of Seville. She had been Director of Urban Planning, Housing, Public Space, Ecology and Environment in Santa Coloma de Gramenet (Catalonia.Spain). She is professor of Urban Planning at the School of Architecture of Barcelona (ETSAB) at the Polytechnic University of Barcelona. Former co-director with Josep Maria Montaner of the Master of the XXIst century Sustainable Housing Lab from 2004 till 2014. Formerly Deputy Director of ETSAB (2009-2012). Her last book is “Beyond the Threshold. Women, Houses and Cities” (dpr-barcelona, 2021). She is co-founder and member of research network “Un dia una arquitecta” ( and was co-founder and member (till 2015) of Col·lectiu Punt 6, a group of women that advocate for and conduct research on gender inclusive planning ( ). 


Tuesday Nov 2 

11:00-12:00, Arquitectos de Cabecera | Tonet Font | Architect and urban planner. He teaches at the ETSAB and at the URL schools of architecture of Barcelona. Since 2001 his work has been dedicated to social housing, urban regeneration and local development. Previously responsible for the Pla de Barris (Neighbourhoods Plan) in Barcelona and in charge of Social Innovation as an advisor to the mayor’s office. He is a member of Arquitectos de Cabecera (Community Architects association), a Barcelona-based collective that inquiries in community-led city urban processes through architecture pedagogy as a tool for social transformation. Focusing on collective housing and collaborative practices, AC addresses the existing city by questioning the role of architecture amid an economic, social and disciplinary crisis. AC has been recognized nationally and internationally, including the City of Barcelona Architecture Award in 2015, 2017 nomination to Mies van der Rohe awards, and a commendation in the 2021 Innovation in Architectural Education Award by the International Union of Architects. AC was exhibited in the Spanish Pavilion of the 2018 Biennale of Architecture in Venice and in Piso Piloto Exhibition in Centre de Cultura Contemporànea de Barcelona (CCCB) and Museo de Antioquia de Medellín in 2015.

12:30-13:30, Straddle 3 | David Juarez. Author | Architect and founding member of Straddle3. Since the late 1990s has developed citizen participation projects on the recovery of abandoned or obsolete industrial and cultural facilities, collaborative transformations of public spaces and focused on research and development in the field of social housing. He has given lectures, courses and workshops in universities throughout Europe and America. He has promoted and co-designed different open-source digital tools for projects related to participatory urbanism, in addition to participating in several specialized publications. He is a founding member of the ATRI collective and the international networks Arquitecturas Colectivas (southern Europe & Latin America) and CitizensLab (Europe). www.,, 

Wednesday Nov 3 

11:00-12:00, Arqbag | Bernat Colomé i la Júlia Dubois | Arqbag is a young architecture studio that began its activity in 2013, and was formalized as a non-profit cooperative in 2017. It promotes new models of relationship between people, habitability and the territory. We understand architecture as an open process, in constant change, that identifies an architecture with low environmental impact, through the management of environmental and material resources, and participation. We highlight and value the process and not just the result. This process is based on detecting indicators, collecting data, generating content, parameterizing and socializing the goals, to propose strategies based on an objective, transversal and collective vision. From the beginning we have maintained a strong bond with the university (ETSAV – UPC), establishing our workspace on the same campus where we were trained. www. 

12:30-13:30, La Dinamo Foundation | Daniela Idrovo | Dinamo is a foundation born with the aim of encouraging and promoting the implementation of the cooperative housing model ‘in transfer of use’ as an alternative to conventional housing model. We want to become a support tool for those initiatives that contribute in some way to the extension of cooperative housing projects, and collaborate with them to make possible the replication of experiences in the territory. We work to make turn the model into a reference in the field of the social and solidarity economy, contributing to the generation of autonomous and self-sufficient cooperatives. We encouraging intercooperation and promote networking in order to collectively build an alternative model of non-speculative, inclusive and sustainable housing and collective ownership.  

17:30-18:30, Raons Publiques | Anna de Torróntegui + Andrés Martínez |  Raons is an urban social innovation project started in 2009. From the beginning, Raons has sought to create a co-operative start-up project with social enterprise values, which allows them to offer quality services to think, build and/or transform collectively the environments in which we live, work and enjoy ourselves. Raons team is the key element that has enabled the cooperative to get where it is today and continue projecting it into the future. It is made up of professionals from various disciplines with long work experience in fields ranging from architecture, urban planning, sociology, 

Thursday Nov 4 

11:00-12:00, DPR Barcelona | Ethel Baraona | Critic, writer and curator. Critical observer of the real world. dpr-barcelona is an architectural research practice based in Barcelona, dealing with three main lines: publishing, criticism and curating. Their work explore how architecture as discipline reacts in the intersection with politics, technology, economy and social issues. Their publications, both digital and printed, transcend the boundaries of conventional publications, approaching to those which are probably the titles of architecture in the future, exploring the limits between printed matters and new media, transforming traditional publishing practice [as we know it] into a live exchange of knowledge. Their [net]work is a real hub linking several publications and actors on architecture and theory.

12:30-13:30, Celobert | Diego Carrillo | Architect, ETSAB UPC (2003). International Studies in Vernacular Architecture at Oxford Brookes University, 2002. Master’s Degree in Urban and Territorial Development from the UPC 2005. AJAC VI Young Architects Award (2008) for the essay “Basic Materials for the Integral Habitat Project. Proposal for El Salvador, CA” published by the UPC, 2007. Between 2003 and 2005 he began his professional career at Pich-Aguilera Architects, in industrialization and ecology projects applied to multi-family housing. By those years he cofounded SostreCívic housing cooperatives, based on the danish Andel model. Between 2005 and 2010 he worked in Morocco on industrialized social housing projects and in housing and urban upgrading project management. Since 2010 he is a founding partner of the architecture and engineering cooperative Celobert, in which he has mainly dedicated himself to the development of cooperative housing projects, ecological, healthy and energetically efficient, both new construction and rehabilitation.

Friday Nov 5 

11:00-12:00, Vicente Guallard | Vicente Guallart is an architect from Barcelona who works in the development of projects for ecological cities and buildings across the globe with his company Guallart Architects. He has won numerous international competitions including Housing post-COVID in Xiong’an (2020), or Xianmi hu Master Plan in Shenzhen (2018). He was chief architect of the city of Barcelona (2011-15) leading major transformations in the city, which was named European Capital of Innovation in 2014. He was also founder of the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (2001) from where he currently works in the development of Biocities, from the Valldaura Labs center. He is the author of numerous books, such as “ The self-sufficient city”, “Geologics” and “Plans and Projects for Barcelona”. He has recently won a competition to make the tallest wooden dwelling building in Barcelona. 

19:00-20:30, MAIO Architects | MAIO is an architectural office based in Barcelona and New York that works on spatial systems which allow variation and change through time. MAIO’s projects embrace the ever-changing complexity of everyday-life while providing a resilient, compromised and clear architectural response. MAIO’s members combine professional activities with academic, research and editorial ones. They have been in charge of the magazine Quaderns d’Arquitectura i Urbanisme (2011-16), and currently teach at Columbia GSAPP (New York), the Architectural Association (London), the Escola d’Arquitectura de Barcelona ETSAB/ETSAV, and Elisava – Escola de Disseny i Enginyeria. MAIO has lectured at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Barbican Center, GSAPP-Columbia University, RIBA, UC Berkeley, Yale School of Architecture and Piet Zwart Institute among other places. MAIO’s work has been published in magazines such as Domus, AIT, Volume, Blueprint, A10 and Detail, and exhibited at the MOMA of New York, the Guggenheim Bilbao, the Art Institute of Chicago and Storefront for Art and Architecture. Lately MAIO has participated at Venice Biennial 2016 in the Spanish Pavillion, awarded with the golden Lion, at Chicago Architecture Biennial (2015 & 2017 editions) and co-curated a Weekend Special at the Biennale di Venezia 2014 together with SPACE CAVIAR and DPR-Barcelona.  

“Rurality: Territorial Dissolution”

Guest Seminar, with Jingru (Cyan) Cheng and Wojciech Mazan. Wednesday, June 16, 10am to 1pm, BST.

‘Floating, Dissolving, Ripping: Scroll as a Method’,

Dr Jingru (Cyan) Cheng.

With the middle generation missing from more than 80% of contemporary rural families in China, Floating, Dissolving and Rippling are ways in which they inhabit a multiplicity of political, social and spatial thresholds and enact position-taking. Embedded in the mundane moments, the peculiar spaces, the partial perspectives and the vulnerable depth, it is essentially through an elastic form of association that networks of immediate care and spontaneous collectivity are being acted out.On the methodological end, I have been exploring a transdisciplinary approach that intersects design thinking, spatial practice, anthropological sensitivity and visual narrative. It leads to what I call Scroll as Method, and central to the approach is the idea of structured ambiguity. That is, a single drawing to blend and condense ethnographic documentation and speculation grounded in the specificities of lived experiences, through constructing layers and layers of juxtaposed conditions in continuity. Design scenarios are employed to formulate a crystallised and embodied abstraction of spatial and anthropological observation and analysis.


Dr. Jingru (Cyan) Cheng is a transdisciplinary design researcher, whose practice traverses architecture, anthropology and visual art, and currently ventures into experimental filmmaking. The wide-ranging themes include, non-canonical histories and socio-spatial models, diverse ways of cultural knowing and being, aesthetic agency, and modes of co-existence and affinity between human and non-human. Her work received commendations by the RIBA President’s Awards for Research from the Royal Institute of British Architects, in 2018 and 2020, respectively. Cyan co-leads an architectural design studio (ADS7) at the Royal College of Art in London.


‘The Territory of Architecture: Case if the Polish Countryside and its Dissolution’,

Wojciech Mazan.

Rural areas account for 93 per cent of Poland’s land area, yet issues related to them remain on the periphery of architectural discourse. The move from urban to rural, attributed both to net migration and a natural increase, is recorded by Statistics Poland since the end of the 1990s and persists today. The transfer of population unveils a trend opposite to processes ongoing elsewhere, together with lack of planning, and questionable legislation allowing to spread investment far from any infrastructure it creates a problematic state in which planning chaos is overtaking the rural landscape. The presentation traces the provenance and impact of two dwelling types: single-family house and a residential block, elements characteristic of two distinct periods of the countryside’s history. These typologies have through time propelled dissolution of the linear settlement. The conception and transformation of each of these architectural objects unravel social, political, and economic forces that shaped the historical development of the linear settlement.


Wojciech Mazan is an architect, he graduated with an MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design (Projective Cities) from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London with a distinction, with an MSc from the Faculty of Architecture of the Wrocław University of Technology and studied at the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and Urban Design. In 2017, Mazan co-founded architectural practice PROLOG, which curates the Polish Pavilion at the Biennale Architettura 2021 presenting the project ‘Trouble in Paradise’ concerning the Polish countryside. Wojciech is a co-editor of a Polish quarterly magazine RZUT. He works as a research associate at the Royal College of Arts in London.


The seminar will be held online and it’s open to AA students, faculty, and alumni, as well as the general public. Please pm to get the zoom link.

Cierto Estudio

“Domesticity from the floor plan”. Cierto Estudio at Projective Cities.

Public Lecture, Tuesday, May 18, 2021, 6.30pm.

If you want to attend, please follow the link below to register:

Really excited to be hosting Cierto Estudio.

In their Lecture Domesticity from the floor plan, Cierto Estudio​ will go through their work and methodology, focusing on aspects of dwelling design using floor plans as a common thread.

In Cierto Estudio we are interested in designing from the floor plan, taking the inhabitant experience as a premise. The main part of our research is based on exploring new layouts that can suit today’s needs and ways of inhabitation. With our work, we also strive for the spatial potential of the plan, seeking for open visuals, connections and filter spaces. In addition, we believe in the richness of creating a community between the neighbours and architecture should enhance this sort of relationships.

Cierto Estudio is a team of six young female architects working on a wide range of projects, from collective housing to urban planning, but also furniture and product design. Cierto Estudio is a collective thinking practice striving for a unique and innovative character in their architecture. Based in Barcelona, the studio was founded in 2014 by Marta Benedicto, Ivet Gasol, Carlota de Gispert, Anna Llonch, Lucia Millet and Clara Vidal after studying architecture together at ETSAB, Barcelona.

Cierto Estudio highlights a special interest in collective housing. Their designs seek typology innovation in order to respond to new ways of inhabiting in line with contemporary social trends and needs. The practice won the first prize for the international competition “Illa Glòries” that includes a master plan of a multi-use city block and the development of a social housing building. Their last project, “Kitch·room”, has just won the first prize for a 70-dwelling block in Masnou. Their work has been selected by Fad 2020 Edition in the interior design category and they have won the prize for Best Young Architects of Catalonia (AJAC for non-built project).

Cierto Estudio work has been published in magazines such as “Arquitectura y Diseño”, “Neo2”, “Architectural Digest” and “Ginza Magazine”. They have given lectures in universities such as The School of Architecture of La Salle ETSALS, the School of Architecture of Barcelona ETSAB, and Bau Design School. They have been guest professors at TUGraz university in the Institut für Gebäudelehre with the course “X Rooms, innovation in housing”.

More information, in the following link:

EDIT Collective

“Spot the edit”. EDIT Collective at Projective Cities.

Public Lecture, Tuesday 4 May 2021, 6.30pm

If you want to attend, please follow the link below to register:

Really excited to be hosting EDIT.

Edit is a group of womxn working collectively to challenge the enduring biases and hierarchies embedded in the built environment. The feminist design collective believes in full social, economic, and political equality for all and uses design as a tool to support more egalitarian interactions, both during the design process and as an outcome of the finished project.

In 2020 Edit was commissioned to design How we live now for the Barbican Centre. The exhibition showcases the work of Matrix Feminist Design Cooperative and it is due to open this spring. Edit’s proposal aims to address how an archive of feminist architectural artefacts can be displayed and disseminated in a feminist way, both through the design of the exhibition infrastructure as well as the graphic material.

This year Edit was also selected by the Future Architecture Platform for their call for ideas with the project Honey I’m Home. This ongoing research project, focusing on domestic design, explores how the layout and contents of our homes have the power to influence and maintain established gender and family roles.

As part of the same research project, Edit exhibited a fictional prototype for collectivising domestic labour at the Oslo Architecture Triennale in 2019. As an alternative to the capitalist assumption that housework is most efficient when performed individually, the Gross Domestic Product is a device that can be used only by three people.

Members of Edit are:

Alberte Lauridsen
Alice Meyer
Hannah Rozenberg
Marianna Janowicz
Svitlana Lavrenchuk
Saijel Taank
Sophie Williams

more information, on the following link:

Nerma Cridge

“Post-Yugoslav City”. Nerma Cridge at Projective Cities.

Guest Seminar, Tuesday, March 16, 10am.

The first part of this lecture will examine the relationship between ideology, politics and abstraction in former Yugoslavia with the aim of offering a more complex understanding of the highly visible monumental architecture and almost completely unknown secret ones. 

We will start at the violent end of Yugoslavia, with Lebbeus Woods’ projects on Sarajevo from War and Architecture. Woods’ poignant drawings of mindless destruction during the four-year-long siege of the city of Sarajevo will be used to introduce the idea of country and architecture full of contradictions. 

It often tends to be forgotten that Yugoslavia was not part of Stalin’s block of countries, and that Socialist Realism never took off there. Due to its politics of non-alignment Yugoslavia forged a unique global presence, with architecture having not only social, but also a mediating and unifying role. 

We will explore what is behind the recent surge of interest in the Yugoslav architecture, and question if in this particular context, abstraction should be understood as a political compromise. We will also speculate on whether the uniqueness of the political system helped not only create highly distinctive socially responsible architecture, but also played a pivotal role in its ultimate self-destruction. 

The conspiracies on the alleged Yugoslav secret space program will be used to shift the argument towards the cold war and the space race, where we will look closely at the designs of Soviet space craft architect Galina Balashova and much more recent examples designs including Lunark moon pod by Saga Architects.

This lecture is dedicated to the memory of Mark Cousins, and it will conclude with a personal tribute to him.

Speaker’s bio:

Nerma Prnjavorac Cridge grew up in Sarajevo and completed her education in architecture at Birmingham, the Bartlett and the Architectural Association. Since qualifying, she worked for a number of distinguished practitioners including Thomas Heatherwick and art2architecture. Her first monograph Drawing the Unbuildable, based on her PhD thesis at the Architectural Association (supervised by dr Marina Lathouri and Mark Cousins) on the Soviet avant-garde, was published by Routledge in 2015. Nerma currently teaches at the AA and several other UK universities, as well as running her art and design practice Drawing Agency. Forthcoming publications include Restless: Drawn by Zaha Hadid, in Routledge Companion on Women in Architecture edited by Anna Sokolina, and The Politics of Abstraction, Nerma’s second monograph.

POoR Collective

“Power out of Restriction”. POoR Collective at Projective Cities.

Public Lecture, Tuesday, March 16, 2021, 6.30pm.

If you want to attend, please follow the link below to register:…/poor-collective-power…

Really excited to be hosting POoR Collective.

Power Out of Restriction is a social enterprise that focuses on the development of communities through the elevation of young people. POoR sees the power of the younger generation and seeks to get young voices heard. Through knowledge sharing and design, we aim to bridge the gap between communities, bring together a wealth of demographics, and empower the youth of today.

Speakers Bios:

Shawn Adams is a writer, lecturer and architectural designer. Currently, teaching at Central St Martins, University of the Arts London, Shawn believes that architecture can be used as a tool to develop stronger communities. An alumnus of Blueprint For All previously known as the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, Shawn has delivered workshops in both primary and secondary schools. He has written for magazines that include VICE, Architects’ Journal and Icon and has been featured in The Guardian and Financial Times. Shawn is a Wren Insurance Association Scholar and was recently awarded the AJ Student prize and RIBAJ Rising Star title.

Larry Botchway is an architectural designer, researcher and illustrator. He has experience working with artists that include Antoni Malinowski and international research collectives such as Feral Atlas. His design work has been published by Stanford University Press and was exhibited at the Istanbul Biennial in 2020. Larry is an alumnus of Blueprint For All formerly known as the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and is an advocate for diversity and inclusion. Larry is actively working with the Metropolitan Police to understand the issues young people in South West London face around policing.

Matt Harvey is a part qualified accountant and handles the operations at POoR. With expertise in budgeting, forecasting and cash flow management, Matt aims to teach the younger generation financial literacy. Having witnessed first-hand the struggle under- represented youth face in modern society, Matt strives to help educate the younger generation whilst teaching them professional and transferable skills. Currently, Matt is working alongside the Metropolitan Police to tackle issues involving the policing of youth in South West London.

Ben Spry is a speaker, architectural designer and environmental campaigner. Having worked extensively on community-led projects, Ben uses his skills in critical design to drive positive change within the built environment. Ben has a wealth of expertise in co-design and has facilitated several consultation sessions for housing projects in London. A facilitator of the Architect’s Climate Action Network’s education working group, Ben aims to teach climate literacy to young people.

Autonomy UK

“Worker-centred Transitions”. Autonomy UK at Projective Cities.

Public lecture, Tuesday, Mach 2, 6.30pm.

We are delighted to be hosting Julian Knowlton Siravo from Autonomy UK, tomorrow evening at 6.30pm. If you want to attend, please follow the link below to register:…/whatson/autonomy-uk

For the past three years, Autonomy has been developing research and proposals about the future – and end – of work. Tackling themes that range from working time to wages, welfare to workspace, the think-tank has developed a unique set of tools and approaches to navigate the ongoing crises. In this lecture Julian Siravo, head of Autonomy’s urban research branch, takes us for a tour into the engine room of the think tank, explaining how certain ideas – from the four-day week to neighbourhood care centres – have travelled across media platforms and political arenas. The talk will explore the role and potential of deploying spatial investigation and drawing in a Westminster think tank.

Speaker’s bio:

Julian Siravo is an architect and urban designer working in policy. He has spent time in research and commercial architectural practices, eventually gravitating to the think tank world. He has worked for Common Wealth and leads Autonomy UK’s urban research branch. Julian currently teaches history and theory of architecture at UCL and, along with Stephanie Sherman, at the RCA’s City Design programme.

The lecture’s full video is now online at:

Applications to Projective Cities MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design are now OPEN.

Early Applications deadline: Friday, January 29, 2021.


More information about how to apply in the following link:

More information about our programme:

The MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design (Projective Cities) is a 18-month, interdisciplinary research and design programme that examines multi-scalar questions arising at the intersection of architecture, urban design and planning.

Projective Cities is a critical forum to engage with questions of governance and development in the context of global challenges of urbanisation. Its objective is to respond to current urban, environmental and social crises by rethinking the agency of spatial design and development within specific political, economic, social and cultural contexts.

Projective Cities prepares its candidates for independent research through a framework of rigorous design and research methodologies. The first year of the programme is taught, introducing students to research methods, academic writing, architectural and urban histories and theories, advanced analytical techniques and computational design in preparation for a substantial dissertation project. At the end of the first year, students submit a research proposal. This is developed in the second year, leading to an integrated design and written dissertation.

Projective Cities seeks candidates with a desire to develop substantial and original research. It seeks exceptional thinkers, gifted designers and critical writers with an interest in the future of our cities.

Recent and ongoing research projects in London, Athens, Barcelona, Bangkok, Beijing, Wuhan, the region of Silesia in Poland, Berlin, Jakarta, Leipzig, Shanghai, among others. Collaborations with academic institutions, municipalities, collectives, cooperatives, multi- and interdisciplinary practices.

image captions:

Wojciech Mazan, ‘Proximal Relations: Forms of Settlement, Dwelling and Territory in Opole-Silesia, Poland’. 2019-20.

Dimitris Chatziioakeimidis, ‘Renovation as a Project: Athenian Post-war Office Buildings as Social Infrastructure’. 2019-20.

Tanapol Kositsurungkakul, ‘Revitalising the Urban Block, Kaisariani, Athens – Greece’. 2019-20.

Athens Virtual Trip


14-18 DECEMBER 2020

Athens as a case study, and specifically the neighborhood of Kaisariani, is the focus of the programme term 2 design exercise. A series of collaborations with the local municipality and various stakeholders, academic institutions, practitioners and activists, present and expose AA students in the city’s complex urban and social history, aiming to rethink urban and architectural design practices within the context of 21st century ecological, social, economic and political challenges.

The city and the neighborhood of Kaisariani serve as sites of research and design experimentation, focusing on the development of new housing typologies, renovation projects and various public and collective equipments, while rethinking and promoting the legacy of the refugee population and its social, cultural and political histories and their registry in spatial and design protocols.


Mon      DEC 14:           Introduction, Athens as a case study and Kaisariani Project. 3pm

Platon Issaias, Ioanna Piniara.

                                    Urban Environment Laboratory. 4pm

                                    Nikos Belavilas, Katerina Christoforaki, Polina Prentou.

Tue      DEC 15:           Athens Urban Plans. 11am

                                    Panagiotis Tournikiotis

Renovation as a project: the Athenian office building. 6pm

Dimitris Chatziioakeimidis.

Hellinikon Neighborhoods. 6.30pm

                                    Maria Marlanti, Thanos Pagonis, Kostantinos Serraos.

Wed     DEC 16:           Decentralised interiorities and Athens ‘Long Walk’. 5pm

                                    Olga Balaoura, Elisavet Hasa.                           

Thu      DEC 17:           A Compact City facing Covid-19, Athens Social Atlas. 5pm

                                    Lila Leontidou, Thomas Maloutas.

Fri        DEC 18:           2008-16. Athens Remembered. 5pm

                                    Iris Lykourioti.

– NOTE: times above are local in Athens (GMT +2hrs)

– In English, via Zoom/Teams, follow Projective Cities website and social media.

Public Lectures:

Tue      DEC 15:            Pandemics, the City, a Crystal -plus two Competitions. 8pm

Pandemics and its relation to the City will serve as a short prélude to the presentation of two first Prize competition proposals for Athens -with a time difference of 60 years: Jan Despo’s project for the Athens Cultural Centre (1959) and tense architecture network’s project for the Regeneration of the Athens City Centre (2019).

Tilemachos Andrianopoulos.

Born in Athens (1974). Diploma in Architecture, National Technical University of Athens (2001), Metropolis Msc in Architecture and Urban Culture, CCCB- Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (2006). Founder of Tense Architecture Network_TAN (2004). Public space and private environments are constantly researched in TAN’S work; the two fields are purposely interconnected. The practice’s portfolio includes several first prize competition proposals as well as awarded residences: ‘Residence in Megara’ received a Häuser Award (2016), Residence in Heraklion was nominated for the Mies van der Rohe award (2017) and ‘Residence in Sikamino’ was shortlisted for the same award (2013), while TAN participated in the Architecture Biennale of Venice twice (2012 and 2014). 1st Prize Competition Proposals: Regeneration of the Athens City Center (2019), Six Star Resort in Mykonos, invited Competition_1st Prize (2019), ‘Kastraki’ Urban Park in Piraeus (2016), Rehabilitation of Venetian Arsenali and their wider surrounding space in Heraklion (2009), Arkalos Town Hall, Crete (2007). Selective architectural competition distinctions: New Passenger Terminal in Souda_3rd Prize (2017), New Cyprus Archaelogical Museum_6th Prize (2017), Museum for Argo in Volos_2nd Prize (2014), Pylaia Cultural Center_2nd Prize (2002). Receiver of the Greek Architecture Award (2020) by for the Restoration of the Upper Concert Hall of the Athens Conservatory in collaboration with atelier66. Member of the multidisciplinary group Greenproject (2010), of the Hellenic Institute of Architects (2015), and of international (2015). Associate Professor in the School of Architecture of the National Technical University of Athens. 

Image caption: Michiel Sweerts, ‘Plague in an ancient City’.

Thu      DEC 17:            The law of withdrawal, 8pm

The idea of protocols of withdrawal seems to refer to the condition of the pandemics but it is not so. On the contrary it leads here to a definition of  the city’s normality pre-existing the pandemics and addressing  the future after it; through an investigation about urban withdrawal we are oriented towards a systematic theory of the infrastructure; an updated concept of infrastructure -including the realm of the post digital extensions of it- becomes increasingly visible as a mechanism of withdrawal. Providing services and goods from a distance, this infrastructure can settle a form of “life from a distance”; in the same way it automatically silences all possible technical malfunctions operated in its realm, it glorifies a concept of permanent maintenance as the core of its rationale. By tele-operation this silencing effect of the infrastructure becomes even stronger as a permanent possibility for the gratification of all possible urban or post-urban needs. In this sense the infrastructure seems to not only be the technical support of urban life but the unifying spine of its multiple faces. Any concept of the political has to deal now with the automatisms of infrastructure. 

The law of withdrawal is presented in two chapters: the theory of the cockpit and the status of invisible community, both extended to an architectural practice. Both showcase the double bind between the public and the private sphere of the post network world.

Aristide Antonas’ work spans philosophy, art, literature and architecture. He published novels, short stories, theatre scripts and essays. His art and architecture work has been featured among other places in documenta 14, Istanbul biennial, Venice biennale, and had solo institutional presentations in the Swiss Architecture Museum, in Austria’s Vorarlberger Architektur Institut and in the French FRAC, Orleans.

Image caption: Aristide Antonas, ‘Protocols of withdrawal’.

Barcelona Virtual Trip

A week of seminars, lectures and presentations organised and hosted by Projective Cities MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design.

2-6 November 2020.

After 2019 studio trip, this second edition (first virtual) will deepen in the understanding of the city’s current problems and challenges derived from both contextual matters and historic claims. Organized around a number of daily topics (Introduction, models and governance for affordable housing, resilience, urban subjectivities and designing Barcelona), local guests from different profiles and backgrounds will enable a number of discussions for which the understanding of multiple stakeholders approaches becomes fundamental.


Mon   NOV 2: Barcelona, a brief introduction

Tue     NOV 3: Affordable housing: models and governance

Wed  NOV 4. Resilience

Thu     NOV 5. Urban subjectivities

Fri       NOV 6. Designing Barcelona

_3-6pm. NOTE: times are local times in Barcelona (London +1h).

_ 2 sessions per day, 1h total time. 30’ lecture + 30’ conversation led by students.

_ In English, via zoom/teams.


15-16:00h Seminar: “Barcelona, Plans and Challenges”. Barcelona’s urban structure and architecture allows a transparent reading of the urban morphology as a result of different historical society structures, political strategies, power deployment forms and city struggles. From ancient roman times, through medieval city, industrial extension (Eixample) and implementation of modern ideas, each moment spatialized socio-political ideas in specific city patterns, while transforming previous ones at its convenience. Exemplified in Barcelona, this seminar will navigate through the relevant urban episodes that made the city of Barcelona, ending up in the 1992s’ so-called “Barcelona Model”, broadly exported, and as much celebrated as criticized. Lecturer: Raül Avilla.

16:15-16:30 break

16:15-17:30h Seminar: “Community Architecture” (1 session, lecturer: Raül). The 2008 real estate bubble burst caused an unprecedented economic crisis, that soon turned into a social and political one. In 2011, the 15M Indignados (Outraged) movement became a spontaneous social movement that politicised society at all levels, producing significant changes in city governance, particularly after 2015 with the rise of the municipalist movement Barcelona in Common, whose members are former activists. This seminar will analyse how a young generation of architects assumed political commitment and social responsibility as their own agenda, shifting their disciplinary tools and protocols, and becoming mediators between administration, technicians and social movements. Closely linked, it will address the new scenario produced by the emergence of cooperative housing and a number of self-managed community facilities. Lecturer: Raül Avilla.


15-16h Josep Maria Borrell |IMPSOL| “NEW PARADIGM IN SOCIAL HOUSING” | Architect, Technical coordinator, IMPSOL-AMB. IMPSOL is the public metropolitan procurement agency in Barcelona, in charge of defining procurement and tenureship models, organizing competitions and coordinating the whole process, from conversations with different municipalities to dwellers, ensuring economic, technical and social feasibility of housing projects. In 2020, a development in Sant Boi won the prestigious FAD award for design (architects: Herreros & MIM). Ongoing projects: (usually more information in architect’s website).

16:30-17:30h Clara Triviño  | Sostre Civic Housing Cooperative |. Sostre Civic is one of the most active housing cooperatives in Catalonia, pioneer with the model in Barcelona with c/Princesa housing project. Futher projects include Cirerers (arqs: Celobert), La Balma (arqs: Lacol+la Boqueria), or senior housing cooperative (Walden XXI).


15-16:30h Elba Mansilla | “Coòpolis at Can Batlló: a laboratory for public-cooperative-communitarian managment in Barcelona city” |  Elba Mansilla is a graduate Jounalist (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) and a founding partner of the cooperative La Ciutat Invisible, where works as a researcher and teacher in Feminist Economy and the Solidarity Economy, is the coordinator of the trainnig area of Coopolis – Barcelona’s Cooperative Center and a regular collaborator of the Feminist Economy Commission of the Solidarity Economy Network of Catalonia (XES). Her work has focused on the power and challenges of the Social Solidarity Economy for the self-organization of women and the feminist social transformation; and in collecting, systematizing and spreading the organizational culture for the formation of no-patriarchal groups and gender mainstreaming in cooperatives.

16:30-17:30h David Bravo Bordas | Architect, activist and educator. Co-author of ATRI strategy (Tactical Accommodations of Inclusive Repopulation, Co-curator of the exhibition “Piso Piloto” in 2015. Former designer of Barcelona City Council’s strategy against gentrification.

Documentaries to watch in preparation for the seminar:

On urban struggle:

“To Green or not to Green: Four stories of urban (in)justice in Barcelona”. BCNUEJ & Alberto Bougleux, 2020.  Available online: 

To Green or Not to Green: Four stories of urban (in)justice in Barcelona
(with English subtitles).

 “Like an invisible giant: Can Batlló and the Imaginary Cities” [Com un Gegant Invisible. Can Batlló i les Ciutats Imaginàries]. Panóptica & Lacol, 2013. Available online: (with English subtitles).

On touristification and gentrification:

“Bye Bye Barcelona”. Eduardo Chibás Fernández, 2014. (with English subtitles).

On the right to housing:

“SI SE PUEDE: Seven Days At PAH Barcelona”. Tony Macías, 2018. Available online: (with English subtitles).


15-16:30h conversation between:

Sara Ortiz Escalante |Col·lectiu Punt 6. | “Feminist Urban Planning: Towards a Radical Transformation of Everyday life Spaces” | Collective of urban designers and activists, with focus on everyday life experiences and a feminist approach to the city. Authors of the book: Urbanismo Feminista [Feminist Urbanism], Virus Editorial, 2019.

Dafne Saldaña |Equal Saree| “Space, Gender, Education” | Equal Saree is a team of architects and researchers who study the impact of spatial configuration on the (re)production of social inequalities. With a feminist approach, our goal is to design inclusive spaces through participation and co-creation with users. We use participatory and innovative methodologies to put people at the center of urban transformations and give a voice to generally neutralized groups. Following these principles, we develop architecture and urban design projects, we design and facilitate community participation processes, and carry out training and awareness-raising actions.

17h Dr. Manuel Bailo Esteve | “Public Catalyst: Against Indiference” | PhD architect and Associate Tenured Professor of Architecture, University of Virginia. Bailo Esteve’s research explores how the public space is activated by Urban Catalysts  – energy and informal agents. Manuel Bailo Esteve has been teaching and lecturing at several different universities  around the world (Harvard, Arizona, Barcelona, etc are the last universities). He founded BAILORULL in Barcelona in 1995 with Rosa Rull; BAILORULL projects crystallize a process of investigation that looks for the balance  between assimilation of new ways of reading landscape taken from extra-architectural  disciplines and focus implementation through a close-to-manufacture technology.


16h H Arquitectes | “The Nature of Building” |HARQUITECTES is an architecture studio established in 2000 and based in Barcelona. It is managed by four partner architects: David Lorente Ibáñez, Josep Ricart Ulldemolins, Xavier Ros Majó and Roger Tudó Galí, who count on an ample team of collaborators, such as architects, interior designers and students. All of them licensed between 1998 and 2000 in ETSAV (UPC), where Josep and Roger teach in the Department of Architectural Projects and Technology. Xavier also teaches Projects in the ETSA Barcelona. Their work has received many awards – for built works and also in architectural ideas competitions – and it has been published in many national and international media. They have also been selected in various exhibitions and invited as teachers and lecturers in Europe and America.

Projective Cities Alumni Forum

Date: 19/10/2020
Time: 15:00-18:00
Venue: Zoom, register to attend

Join us for a collective discussion on research by design practices at the intersection between academia, professional practice, activist work and policy making. Projective Cities MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design is inviting distinguished graduates of the programme to share their recent and past work that combines new design trajectories and forms of speculative research, while challenging existing disciplinary boundaries and contributing to emerging multiscalar questions and problematics about the future of cities and the built environment. The forum will discuss individual and shared methodologies, as well as how the programme’s teaching has impacted the future of their practice.

Social Integration Project in Santiago de Chile (Ministry of Housing 2017-2018).

Reinterpretations of the Cité Housing’s Formal and Social Diagrams

The presentation focuses on the analysis and possible reinterpretations of the cité: a typical housing solution for the first half of the 20th century in Santiago de Chile. Through a series of arguments and projects, it is intended to account for the possibilities of using this row housing typology in two novel ways. First, as a means for urban design, including morphological aspects (of spatial and functional proximity) to Santiago’s expansion and densification process. Second, as a mechanism to promote social assemblages and to include domestic programs, aiming at overcoming the limited conception of the minimum dwelling.

ALVARO ARANCIBIA is an architect graduate of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, holding an MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design (Projective Cities Programme) and a PhD in Architectural Design from the Architectural Association. Since 2007 he has been undertaking research and practice on the problem of social housing and urban design in Santiago. As a researcher, he received the AA Graduate Prize for Research: Outstanding Work 2015-2016 for his PhD thesis ‘The Social Re-Signification of Housing: A Design Guide for Santiago de Chile’. As a practitioner, he has participated in a number of housing competitions, among which stands out the first prize in Architecture and Social Integration: Communities of Different Incomes (2008) and first prize in Socially Integrated Density Housing Design, 290 dwellings in Ciudad Parque Bicentenario (2017). In addition, his practice focuses on commissioned private houses, being the CS House nominated for the Mies Van der Rohe Crown Hall Americas Prize – Emerging Architecture (2016). Alvaro’s writings and design proposals have been published internationally and also has lectured in several universities. Most recently: Universidad de La Salle (México), The Royal College of Art, The Bartlett School of Architecture, The Architectural Association (UK), and Pontificia Universidad Católica (Chile).

“Collective Forms in China – Exhibit at Venice Architecture Biennale (2018)” 

Staying with the Unsettling

The talk will share a personal path of design research, meandering through architecture, anthropology and art. From architectural urbanism adopted at the AA Projective Cities, to design ethnography practiced throughout the doctoral study on Chinese rurality at AA PhD by Design and postdoctoral works on community and governance at the RCA, to the idea of structured ambiguity that explores the form of scroll drawing as a synthesis of research and a means of argumentation, then to the deep entanglements between agents of the Earth and planetary feedback loops as an architectural domain, I hope to reflect on my practice as a design researcher that does not dwell on a defined subject matter, but rather as a form of personal enquiry, and indeed struggle, driven by an urge to unsettle the domination of all those constituted as others, which underpins the rather wide ranging themes, i.e. diverse ways of cultural knowing and being, non-canonical histories and socio-spatial models, and alternative cartographic imaginaries. The ultimate questions I seek to explore are: To whom are we responsible and accountable? And what might be the constitutive role of architecture in the production of knowledge, imaginations and practices concerning these responsibilities and accountabilities?

JINGRU CYAN CHENG is currently a design tutor in MA Architecture (ADS7) and postdoctoral research associate at the Royal College of Art. She holds a PhD by Design and an M.Phil Projective Cities from the Architectural Association in London. Cyan’s doctoral work on Chinese rurality, domesticity, and the resistance and care in the practices of rural dissolved households, received a commendation by the RIBA President’s Awards for Research (2018). Her postdoctoral research centres around the idea of the collective, the construct of collective subjectivities, and the socio-spatial design of community. Another line of Cyan’s work, through studio teaching and exhibition practice, looks into the atmosphere as a transformative terrestrial subject that reshapes global and local politics, as well as struggles and conflicts in the climate crisis. Cyan’s work has been exhibited at Critical Zones: Observatories for Earthly Politics (2020-21), Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism (2019), Venice Architecture Biennale (2018) and Beijing Design Week (2016), among others.

Rethinking housing and care cooperatives, from dissertation to practice.

Rethinking Housing and Care Cooperatives in the Netherlands

In recent years, cooperatives and social support networks have come to the centre of attention in search for an alternative response to traditional forms of assistance. Community-led care networks such as Buurtzorg, District Care, and care cooperatives are being developed in the Netherlands as a result of new legislation. Through the administration of the Right to Challenge (2016), the funding of community organisation and the establishment of the cooperative in the Housing Act (2015 and 2020), the Dutch government is framing cooperatives as an urban strategy to develop social initiatives, decentralised care models and affordable housing in order to renew neighbourhoods.
Through an analysis of housing acts, spatial forms and dwelling types the seminar reflects on the role of housing (cooperatives) in relation to healthcare and wellbeing. Moreover, the seminar illustrates how the shift towards decentralised care models has led to new design questions about the use and organisation of the home environment in relation to care work, district services and cluster living. The aim of the seminar is to start an open discussion on how we can challenge and rethink the dwelling as an infrastructural project to organise the provision of support, services and cooperation.

GIANNA BOTTEMA holds a MSc in Architecture from Delft University of Technology and a Taught MPhil (Projective Cities) in Architecture and Urban Design from the Architectural Association in London. Her thesis was focussed on the development of housing and care cooperatives and formed an investigation into decentralised and cooperative care models in the Netherlands. Currently, she is working as an architect on different housing projects and developing the research projects Collective Home Ownership: New Protocols for Architecture, and Vital Home: Dwelling as an Infrastructural Project.

Experimental Cell Partition Walls for the Millbank Penitentiary by Michael Faraday and Abel Blouet.

From Violin to Axes: Falling in love with Robin Evans

Through the cell partition detail, Evans displays architecture’s agency where the designer is questioning what it means to be isolated? It is the moment where architecture pushes back and demands a reckoning in an existing political order. Evans’ writings were my gateway into understanding what architectural agency meant, which was one of the more enduring take-aways from Projective Cities that has underlined the teaching I did in Aarhus and my own research since. I will retrospectively look at some of my own work since 2013, linking it back to some of the important moments in the programme and Evans’ essays that guided me during this journey.

NAINA GUPTA is an architect with a BArch from India, and a March and a MPhil from the Architectural Association (AA) in London, U.K. Currently she is completing her PhD. at the AA and her research is titled A Curious Constellation: An International Sensibility and Modern Architecture, that departed from her MPhil dissertation titled Palaces Without A People: Constructing a Post-National Forum, which was done at Projective Cities. She has practiced as an architect in India, Singapore, the Netherlands, and Russia. Between 2015-2018 she taught a unit at Aarhus School of Architecture in Denmark.

Barcelona’s Besós Frontline on top of the ringroad. Avilla + Llindar

‘Housing Systems’

In every major city, housing is being disputed as a right and as a commodity within a transformation process that affects its urban fabric as much as its social structure. Architecture and urban design play major roles in these transformations, as they are seen as instruments both by public authorities and developers. With the PC dissertation “The Role of Public Housing in Barcelona” (2018) I analysed the impact of local associations and dwellers both during the design process and once the building is inhabited, reconsidering notion of standards – “what” and “for whom” – and shifting traditional housing design and procurement process by starting it from the domestic space. This lecture will present the continuation of that research after 2018 through public and cooperative housing projects in Barcelona.

RAÜL AVILLA-ROYO  is an architect and researcher. He studied architecture in Barcelona School of Architecture (ETSAB-UPC) and in the Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio (AAM-USI), after which he pursued a Taught MPhil at the Architectural Association (AA). He is currently tutor at MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design (Projective Cities) at the AA and since 2013 he runs his own practice, focused on public and cooperative buildings. He is also PhD candidate at the Royal College of Art in London (RCA) and member of the collective Arquitectos de Cabecera in Barcelona.

From Haringey to the Bronx.

Just Housing

Focusing on two large scale projects in London and New York, the lecture will reflect on Ricardo’s experience working in the early phases of design for affordable, cooperative living schemes in Haringey and the Bronx. The projects span his time as a student researching for his thesis and as a practising architect, both with the aim to conceive just housing.

RICARDO PALMA is an architect who graduated in Architecture and Design from the Instituto Superior de Arquitectura y Diseño (ISAD), Chihuahua and from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. Ricardo has worked in Mexico City, Copenhagen and New York where he currently resides. His dissertation focused on community-led housing in Haringey, and thereafter he went on to work on an affordable housing project in the Bronx.

Workers’ housing of the former State Agricultural Farm, in Opole Voivodeship, Poland. Source: Archive of the ‘Trouble in Paradise’ exhibition, photo: Wojciech Mazan, 2019. 

Hidden Remains
Architecture of Former Workers Settlements of State Agricultural Farms in Contemporary Poland

Wojciech Mazan is an architect, he graduated with an MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design (Projective Cities) from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, and with an MSc from the Faculty of Architecture of the Wrocław University of Technology and studied at the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and Urban Design. In 2017 he co-founded architectural practice PROLOG, which curates Polish Pavilion at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition preparing the project concerning the countryside of Poland named ‘Trouble in Paradise’. He currently works as an assistant researcher at the Royal College of Arts in London.

Guest Seminar: Charlotte Johnson

Infrastructural Communities

Image from Engineering Comes Home, taken by Kat Austen.

The scale of the climate crisis requires radical rethinking of urban life. As an anthropologist working on the relationship between the built environment and resource consumption, my approach is to focus on everyday practices of care and alternative forms of exchange. I draw on the recent turn to material politics to look in particular how infrastructural connections enable alternative interpretations, forms of value and action.   The drive to retrofit the city with less resource intense living often includes a rescaling of infrastructure as policy makers hope to better align demand with locally available resources. This delineates groups of people who share key parts of the system, such as a secondary electricity substation or a drainage network. These urban neighbours may not know one another or hold values in common and yet their individual actions can be aggregated to provide system-level services. Thinking of these groups as residents who share a material connection that may or may not align with how they identify with location or interest-based groups provides a useful lens for both critique and intervention. In this talk, I discus a number of interdisciplinary projects that have worked with these ‘infrastructural communities’ to understand the possibilities for action on resource consumption through the built environment. 

Charlotte Johnson is a Senior Research Associate in Urban resources & communities, Bartlett School for Environment, Energy & Resources (UCL). She is an anthropologist specialising in urban sustainability, with a focus on decentralised infrastructure and how it can produce transformative social action.  She is currently working with community energy groups trialling Peer-2-Peer electricity markets, and leads community co-design of water infrastructure on the NERC funded Community Water Management for a Liveable London (CAMELLIA) project.

Guest Seminar: Geraldine Dening, Architects for Social Housing.

‘Architects for Social Housing: For a Sustainable Architecture’

The urban conditions that we have been witnessing and responding to in London over the past 5 years are a direct result of the global phenomenon of the privatisation, marketisation and financialisation of housing, the neo-liberalisation of our processes of development, and the consequent decimation and destruction of our urban communities, environments and cultures in favour of short-term financial gain and increasing inequality. Simultaneously, the issue of sustainable cities, or more accurately ‘how we can develop sustainability’, is one of the most urgent issues of our time, and one in which architects and fellow built-environment professionals have both the opportunity and the duty to take a leading role. To be genuinely sustainable, just and equitable development must go far beyond the simplistic notions of the environment characterising so-called ‘green’ architecture. Architectural approaches must not only improve the physical, built and ‘natural’ environments in which we live, but also be socially beneficial and financially viable if we are to call them truly sustainable. Very few architectural treatises on the environment talk about the relationship of the environment to the economy, to the social dimension of the environment, or its relationship to the political sphere. The work of ASH pushes all these constituent contexts to the forefront of the architectural debate.

Geraldine Dening is the co-founder and Director of Architects for Social Housing (ASH), and a qualified architect with her own practice based in London. She is also a senior lecturer at the Leicester School of Architecture, where she lectures on professional practice and ethics, as well as running a design studio. In 2018 Geraldine was named by the Evening Standard newspaper as one of London’s 30 most influential architects. and with ASH co-founder Simon Elmer she is working on a book titled ‘For a Socialist Architecture’. Recent projects with Architects for Social Housing include designs and feasibility studies for additional housing and improvements to 6 council and social housing estates in London threatened with demolition. These include proposals to increase the housing capacity on Central Hill Estate in South London by up to 50% with no demolition, and on West Kensington and Gibbs Green Estate, as part of the community’s application for the Right to Transfer the estate into community ownership. She also devised and co-ordinated Open Garden Estates, a series of events hosted by estates threatened with demolition. As ASH’s lead architect she is also currently working with a number of housing co-operatives to explore new forms of community-led development.

Guest Seminar: Cristina Gamboa, Lacol, Barcelona.

Radical Daily Practices

Lacol, LaBorda, Barcelona.

The lecture will describe the relation between the development process of LaBorda, the first housing cooperative built in Barcelona, and its architectural definition. Once the property is at stake and the focus is on use, the requests for the architecture change. In the case of LaBorda, the housing need motivation was also challenged by the transition towards sustainability, in the broadest way possible: political, social, economic and environmental.

Cristina Gamboa – Lacol arquitectura cooperativa Barcelona

Cristina is a chartered architect and teacher. She Is currently a Studio Master at Projective Cities, MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design. She studied at the Barcelona School of Architecture ETSAB / UPC, and the Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning / University of Stuttgart. Cristina is co-founder of Lacol, a cooperative of architects established in 2014 in Barcelona, where she has focused on researching participative approaches to design and developing cooperative housing and housing policies, tested in on-going projects.

Lacol works from architecture towards social transformation, using architecture as a tool to intervene critically in the local environments. The activity is based on a horizontal system of labor, acting alongside society with the motivation and challenge to achieve a transition towards sustainability in the broadest way possible: political, social, economic and environmental. Lacol’s practice embrace Architecture, Urbanism, Housing policies and Participatory processes, blurring the limits of the different disciplines to define a cross-sectional and participative approach. She has focused on researching participative approaches to design and developing cooperative housing and housing policies, tested in on-going projects.

Guest Seminar: Christoph Schmidt, ifau Berlin

Spaces of Negotiation

R50 Co-housing, Berlin. Topping Out ceremony.

Date: 26/05/2020
Time: 10:00-11:30
Venue: AA Lecture Hall Microsoft Team

What if architecture does not solve conflicts or tries to organize them by assignments?

What if architecture enhanced conflicts to activate their inherent potentials for action and negotiation?

Insights into actual projects of the Berlin based architectural group ifau regarding urban housing development processes in Hamburg and Berlin. According to two projects the participatory planning processes are strongly connected with and controlled by the local communities and the political-administrative municipalities. Developments and participatory planning processes for a new mixed residential and non-residential quarter with sub-cultural forms of use providing a mix of live and work units meeting the needs of artists, producers and creative professionals. The starting point for the spatial layout and design is a collaborative and socially mixed concept of use. Moreover, the comparatively low land prices allow the cross financing of co-operative living and studio spaces within the project.

Create situations for conflicts to be negotiated by the users!

ifau – institute for applied urbanism, Berlin

ifau is a Berlin-based working group of architects with a focus on interrelated, interdisciplinary projects in the field of architecture and urban design. Their flexible methodology extends from research projects to interventions in the urban realm. All of their work aims to involve contextual processes, difference and diversity to create space for negotiation in design development. They are particularly interested in process-oriented strategies and participative design methods. They realised several projects for arts institutions. Their works and texts have been published in numerous books and architectural magazines. References include Palais Thinnfeld in Graz, Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory in Utrecht, The Showroom in London, Artists Space and Goethe Institute – Wyoming Building in New York, R50-cohousing, Residential and studio building at the former Berlin flower market (IBeB) in Berlin

Christoph Schmidt is a founding member of ifau (institute for applied urbanism, 1998). He studied architecture at the RWTH Aachen University of Technology and the University College of Portsmouth. He worked as a freelance architect in Cologne and Berlin. He has been teaching architecture as assistant professor at the Technical University of Berlin where his research and taught courses where focused on innovative design methods, process-oriented design strategies and cooperative housing projects. Currently he teaches as professor at the department of urban context design at the Peter Behrens School of Arts in Düsseldorf.

Guest Seminar: Silvia Franceschini

Global Tools 1973-1975

When Education Coincides with Life

Date: 12/05/2020
Time: 10:00-11:30
Venue: AA Lecture Hall Microsoft Team

Silvia Franceschini will critically retrace the experience of Radical Design Global Tools and its multidisciplinary school program “without students or teachers.” The Global Tools was founded in 1973 by groups and figures drawn from Italian Radical Architecture (Archizoom, Superstudio, UFO, Mendini, La Pietra, Pettena, Dalisi, and Sottsass among others), Arte Povera, and Conceptual Art (including Davide Mosconi and Franco Vaccari), and ended in 1975 after three years of intense experimentation. Departing from her book on the subject (co-authored with Valerio Borgonuovo and published by Nero Editions), Franceschini will recontextualize the experience of Global Tools among a vast network of historical references and experiences of critical pedagogy and environmental activism.

Silvia Franceschini is a Curator at Z33 House for Contemporary Art, Design & Architecture in Hasselt (BE) and a visual culture scholar whose work focuses on different critiques of modernity. She is a co-author of Global Tools 1973–1975. When Education Coincides With Life (Nero Publishing, 2018) and editor of Curator Without a System (Sternberg Press, Upcoming). Her selected curatorial projects include the research program The Politics of Affinity. Experiments in Art, Education and the Social Sphere, Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto, Biella (2016–18); the participation in the curatorial team of The School of Kyiv—Kyiv Biennial 2015; the exhibition and public program Global Tools 1973–1975: Towards an Ecology of Design, SALT, Istanbul (2014) and the exhibition The Way of Enthusiasts, Venice Biennial 2012. Since 2009 she has been involved in the curation of exhibitions in various institutions including V-A-C Foundation, Moscow—Venice; The Moscow Biennale for Young Art; Futura—Center for Contemporary Art, Prague; and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. Franceschini holds a PhD in Design and Visual Cultures from the Polytechnic University of Milan and she was a research fellow at the Exhibition Research Lab of the Liverpool John Moores University and at the Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design in Moscow. She has lectured at numerous places such as The Sharjah Biennial, The Istanbul Design Biennial, The Triennale Milano, MAXXI Museum and Konstfack University, among others.

Guest Seminar: Nerma Cridge

Post-Socialist City and Its Negative Casts

Pyongyang Mural.

Date: 10/03/2020
Time: 10:00-13:00
Venue: 37 Bedford Square, 1st Floor, Front Room.

This lecture will compare cities from two communist countries which at first glance, could be seen as the exact opposite from one another. Ex-Yugoslavia which tends to be seen as the most open and least communist, will be juxtaposed with the most defiantly secretive and closed country in the world – North Korea.

Taking Lebbeus Woods’ Sarajevo project in 1993 which dealt with Yugoslavia’s tragic disintegration as a point of departure, we will explore the history, secrets and speculation behind some of the most intriguing architecture in ex-Yugoslavia – including numerous gigantic abstract monuments and hidden military structures.

Counter-posed will be the still officially communist figurative monuments of Pyongyang. The premise behind taking two such different regimes is that by looking at the margins, important traits of the communist architecture as a whole, could be uncovered. Pyongyang’s figurative monuments offer no ambiguity, instead we are confronted with very clear literal meaning. One of the many contradictions of its monumental architecture built on a massive scale with incredible speed, is that even when newly completed most structures appear already out-dated.

There has been a recent surge of interest in both countries lead by photographers. This lecture will seek to redress this imbalance between the large quantities of visual information, which often comes with little explanation of the meaning, history or context.

The concluding parts will seek to define further what could be behind our insatiable yearning for this type of imagery, and argue that, at least in part, it could be attributed to collective nostalgia towards more naïve, simple and innocent times. Towards times when communism appeared to function and even inspire architecture with a true social purpose and responsibility.

Nerma Prnjavorac Cridge grew up in Sarajevo and completed her education in architecture at Birmingham, the Bartlett and the Architectural Association. Since qualifying, she worked for a number of distinguished practitioners including Thomas Heatherwick and art2architecture. Her first monograph Drawing the Unbuildable, based on her PhD thesis at the Architectural Association (supervised by dr Marina Lathouri and Mark Cousins) on the Soviet avant-garde, was published by Routledge in 2015. Nerma currently teaches at the  AA as well as running her small art and design practice Drawing Agency. Forthcoming publications include Restless: Drawn by Zaha Hadid, in Routledge Companion on Women in Architecture edited by Anna Sokolina, and The Politics of Abstraction, Nerma’s second monograph.

Guest Seminar: Jingru Cyan Cheng

Home: A Project of Rural China

Date: 03/03/2020
Time: 10:00-13:00
Venue: 37 Bedford Square, 1st Floor, Front Room.

Jingru (Cyan) Cheng obtained both PhD by Design (2018) and M.Phil Projective Cities (2014) at the Architectural Association (AA) and was the co-director of AA Wuhan Visiting School 2015-17. She is currently a postdoctoral research associate at the Royal College of Art. Her research interests lie in the intersections between disciplines, especially shared ideas and methods by architecture, anthropology and sociology, with a focus on socio-spatial models in China. Employing the design research method, her PhD thesis focuses on rurality as a spatial question at levels of territory, settlement and household. Cyan’s research on Care and Rebellion: The Dissolved Household in Contemporary Rural China received a commendation from RIBA President’s Awards for Research 2018. 

The Yard in Liu Brothers’ Family House, Shigushan Village, 2016 (Photo & Collage by Jingru Cyan Cheng).

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