This week’s Postgraduate Research Seminar: Rawan Allouzi

This week’s Postgraduate Research Seminar takes place on Wednesday 13 February at 4 – 4.45pm in the PGR Hub at the Kent School of Architecture. This week’s PhD Candidate is Rawan Allouzi who will be be presenting her research titled, ‘Vernacular Architecture in Jordan: Vernacular transmission to meet the contemporary needs of the 21st century’.

‘Vernacular architecture is that kind of architecture which is related to specific time and place. It is most frequently applied to residential buildings. In the past, vernacular architecture did not use formal-educated architects, but depend on tradition and the skills of local craftsmen and builders. However, since the end of the 19th century, a lot of specialised architects have worked in this style which now represents part of sustainable design. All forms of vernacular architecture are built to meet specific needs, accommodating the values, economies and ways of living of the cultures that produce them.’ – Rawan Allouzi

PhD Seminar Series: Maria Dimitriou

This week’s PhD Seminar Series will take place in the PGR Hub, Digital Crit Space on Wednesday 14 November from 16.00 – 17.30, given by Maria Dimitriou, a Kent School of Architecture PhD Candidate in Architectural Heritage and Conservation. Her talk, based on her research is titled, ‘Transformation of Industrial Heritage: The Case of Volos, Greece’.

De-industrialization poses a major challenge for the preservation of the heritage of industrial towns in Europe. Volos, an industrial harbour town in central Greece, provides a typical example of this phenomenon. Redundancy and decay of many of the city’s 20th-century industrial buildings threaten the survival of a significant aspect of the heritage of Volos. Infusing new life in these buildings requires the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders as well as the development of new management and conservation strategies. For this reason, the urgent contribution to the European discussion on preservation and future maintenance of such areas will require vital solutions that will save them from falling into ruin.

This dissertation applies an interdisciplinary approach that will seek to identify an innovative model for the strategic management and re-use of the industrial heritage of Volos. It provides new ways to understand preservation theory and management objectives for industrial heritage sites by analyzing existing mechanisms for their preservation through values and practices. In addition, this research identifies characteristics and values aimed at expanding the framework of historic industrial preservation practice. It argues that management strategies based on traditional preservation practices are insufficient for interpreting the complexity of these historic places, and that historical industrial preservation is best served by attending to the range of values and processes associated with the historic landscape and its protection.


PhD Seminar Series: Khaled Sedki

The first PhD Seminar Series of the year took place earlier this week with Khaled Sedki presenting his research, ‘The role of architecture in the urban modernisation and social transformation of the historic city and the representations of time.’

This presentation gave an overview of a dissertation on French architect, archaeologist and planner, Michel Écochard, and his work in Damascus between 1931 and 1968. It focused on the ways in which the architect’s work had influenced the urban modernisation of the city in relation to social and cultural transformations, during this period, and explores, in reverse, the City’s impact over his views on architecture and the development of his concepts and methods. The study relates concepts of time-geography in understanding the role of architecture in the representation of time, and develops a method based on New-Historicism to produce a narrative of history which evades reduction and escapes canons and celebrates complexity and multiplicity. The aim of the presentation was to bring the subjects of this study out of anonymity and to share some ontological concerns about architecture and illustrate some of the methods and concepts used to tackle this and to invite others to participate in this exchange.

PhD Seminar Series: Howard Griffin

The next PhD Seminar will be given by Howard Griffin, MA Architectural Visualisation programme director, on Wednesday 14th March at 4pm in the Digital Crit Space.

Moving the immovable: projection-mapping and the changing face of architecture

The ‘lumière’ festival has, in recent years, become an established form of public festival, with many cities and heritage sites seizing the opportunity to attract large audiences and increase tourism revenues.  Lumière festivals now benefit from the advance in digital technology, which allows light to be mapped to specific surfaces and spaces through projection.  This form of light installation, known as projection-mapping, delivers an added sense of spectacle, with onlookers taking the chance to witness momentary changes to the urban canvas, engaging with buildings in new ways.

At night, artificial light shapes the space around us, highlighting routes, exposing features, forming shadows, and provides architecture an altered, arguably dynamic, identity. Whether by candle, fire, gas or electricity, light has the capacity to change the way we see the space about us.  Projection mapping amplifies this, allowing artists to explore notions of altered façade, and changes to character, style and materiality.

The visual sense dominates particularly when judging scale, distance, texture and so on.  Experience informs us that most buildings are inanimate; solid objects designed for strength and security.  Yet, albeit briefly, our eyes disagree.  Projection-mapping can create illusions that change the very nature of architecture, causing the viewer to subconsciously question and review the alterations that seem to occur.  Windows can spin.  Walls can wobble.  Buildings can move.  Torre (2015) argues that buildings ‘concretize’ animation, giving depth to two-dimensional image.  However, it could be argued that projection-mapping liberates the built environment, animating the inanimate, moving the immovable.

This presentation will explore the methods used in projection mapping to deceive and skew perception of architectural form and space, and argues that this form of light show installation not only conjures and deceives, but develops new relationships between people and the cities and buildings around us.

PhD Seminar Series: Leonidas Tsichritzis

The next PhD Seminar will be given by Leonidas Tsichritzis on Wednesday 14th February at 4PM in E.Barlow (Eliot College).

The effect of height related urban morphology characteristics on pedestrian level winds

The evaluation of wind environment has gained a lot attention lately as it has been associated with issues relevant to urban climate quality such as heat island intensity and air pollution, which many large metropolitan areas are facing and affect humans’ health and prosperity. Within the morphological and climatic context of Greater London this study aims to associate pedestrian level wind comfort with urban morphology as well as with wind directions. Approximate 20 case studies representing real urban areas with dimensions 500x500m, which receive a range of morphological characteristics yet medium to high building coverages, were examined through CFD simulations. For every single case study eight wind directions were tested while the BRE wind comfort criteria and guidelines were used for assessing wind comfort for the different types of outdoor human activities. The results of the study provide valuable information showing some influence between the pedestrian level wind environment of London and building morphology characteristics which contain information relevant to the height of buildings.

Leonidas Tsichritzis is a 3rd year PhD Student and Graduate Teaching Assistant. Prior to joining the Centre for Architecture and Sustainable Environment in order to conduct his own research, awarded with a GTA Scholarship, Leonidas has worked as an architect and environmental design consultant in Athens.
His research interests are covering a wide area of sustainable and environmental design in terms of promoting the energy autonomy and the decarbonisation of built environment as well as pedestrian comfort in local but also in urban scale. More particularly, his research is focusing on assessing and classifying the pedestrian level urban wind environment as far as concerned to wind comfort and safety for different types of outdoor human activities by evaluating designated characteristics of urban geometry which dominate the wind flows around buildings for the climatic and urban context of London.

PhD Seminar: Ben Tosland

Today’s PhD Seminar will be hosted by PhD student Ben Tosland entitled, ‘Regional Development: The relationship of Western designed architecture with geopolitics in the Persian Gulf, 1925 – 1990’.

The focus of this presentation will largely be on the methodologies of proving the intrinsic link between architecture and geopolitics within the years 1925-1990 in the Persian Gulf. These events have caused a development in architectural aesthetic towards a more refined ‘critically regional’ style representative of the Persian Gulf, rather than individual nation states or global hegemony as is the historiography might suggest. The presentation shall show a brief outline of the thesis depicting the overarching structure covering important projects by several globally renowned architects as well as depicting projects that are either underappreciated, under-researched or unknown. Research for this presentation carried out in libraries and archives in the United Kingdom and across Europe utilises primary material from the offices of architects and planners coupled with contemporary journal articles causing numerous methodological issues. The aim of this presentation is to tackle these issues of method and selection criteria to ensure the overall argument of the thesis is water-tight while still contributing original thought and insight to a variety of case studies.

Ben has been a PhD student and Graduate Teaching Assistant in the School of Architecture since September 2016. He has an Undergraduate degree from the University of East Anglia (UEA) in History (2014) and a Master’s degree in Conservation and Regeneration from the University of Sheffield’s School of Architecture (2015). He is a recipient of the Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship at the University of Kent enabling him to research and study for his PhD. Ben works externally as a consultant for historic buildings, aiding planning applications and writing Conservation Area Appraisals. He is an affiliate member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC), a member of the Twentieth Century Society and has worked with the SPAB.

PhD Seminar Series: Giacomo Damiani

As part of Kent School of Architecture’s PhD Seminar Series, PhD student Giacomo Damiani will be presenting on Wednesday 24th February at 4PM in E.Barlow (Eliot College).

The philosophical-mathematical paradigm in the architecture of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in Italy, and its contemporary relevance, focusing on De divina proportione by Luca Pacioli

A philosophical, cultural and aesthetic transition took place in present-day Italy during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, when renewed interest in classical studies began to define a novel theoretical paradigm. In order to understand this new thinking at the time and the formation of its theories, Luca Pacioli’s works will be investigated, with particular focus on De divina proportione (1509). Through its interdisciplinary nature, the study will highlight Pacioli as one of the seminal figures, with the aim of making a contribution to a growing, but insufficient, body of research on the mathematician, writer and friar. Mathematical and geometrical principles will be examined in their structural significance for the theory and practice of architecture and related arts. A critical analysis of the historical evolution of this theoretical paradigm in the architectural context will also be provided, with a focus on the present-day relation between architecture and mathematical theories in the digital realm.