Postgraduate Research Seminar: Iliona Outram-Khalili

The first Postgraduate Research Seminar of the year will be given by Iliona Outram-Khalili with her talk titled, ‘Unity within diversity: Masonry, method and analogy in the Byzantine Church of Hagia Sophia, Thessaloniki’ on Wednesday 22 January from 4 – 5pm in the Digital Crit Space.

This PhD thesis proposes that load-bearing masonry architecture contains analogies for timeless, metaphysical truths, experienced with all the senses. How can one prove this if the mason-builders of the great historical cathedrals, mosques, palace precincts, and temples never wrote it down? There aren’t any masons who wrote, “while I was setting up the central compass I was meditating on God as the unitary source of all being, and then I started to build the dome in a circle and I thought, yes, the circumference depends on the centre but the centre does not need the circumference!”. Therefore, how can one show that the poetics of building could be an initiation into a holistic, creative meditation, and a journey to mature consciousness?

This thesis selects the typical 7-8th century Byzantine church of Hagia Sophia Thessaloniki, to compare the ritual actions and iconography with the masonry architecture; it is a unique example of this Byzantine dome-in-cross ‘typos’ because it has the core of its original mosaics, and in it the early liturgies are still celebrated. My research finds analogous themes in all three disciplines, enabling me to propose intention by the master masons to transmit such timeless and metaphysical truths through the architecture. This helps us to re-discover a language of architecture that guides humans to being in harmony natural environment, much needed at a time that humans are destroying the earth. The thesis also seeks to rediscover creative hands-on work as a healing for the individual and the community. It is to be hoped that the conclusions of this research are transferable to modern architecture and sustainable arts and technologies.

By Iliona Outram-Khalili, PhD Student

PhD Seminar Series: Michael Hall

The next PhD Seminar will be given by PhD student Michael Hall on Wednesday 28th February at 4pm in E.Barlowe (Eliot College).

The Stately Home Industry: The English country house and heritage tourism 1950-1975

In post-war Britain, the country’s relationship to its heritage changed irrevocably. Shifts in political, economic, and societal structures meant that long-accepted attitudes towards national identity were forever altered. At the epicentre of these changes was the English country house, which following this period became the prevalent symbol of English national heritage. Today, large country estates have claimed a secure place in the heritage landscape, however throughout the early to mid 20th century their fate was not so certain. This presentation will explore the ways in which seismic societal changes following the second world war were leveraged by a handful of aristocratic landowners to market their ancestral homes as tourist destinations, and begin to run them as commercial enterprises. It will trace this trend as it became more accepted and ultimately helped to form the heritage tourism industry that is so vital today.

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.

PhD Student Seminar: Gimin Lee

The upcoming PhD Seminar entitled, ‘Exploring change of traditional marketplaces in the gentrification process from interdisciplinary approaches: The case of Broadway Market and Barking Market, East London’ will be given by Gimin Lee, on 18th October at 4pm.

Authenticity of place in downgraded neighbourhoods has been reviewed differently from the architectural and sociocultural views while gentrification process permeated in the society.
Traditional marketplaces in London, which have been changing rapidly, can be an indicator to see gentrification process and a change of authenticity of place. In this respect, Broadway Market and Barking Market in East London will be explored to illustrate transformation of traditional marketplaces and evaluate authenticity of place in gentrification from both architectural and sociocultural points of view. Visual mapping supported by architectural documentation and ethnographic work will be used based on a concept of juxtaposition and experiential collage. The combined methodologies from different disciplines in this research will help understanding the changing character and authenticity of place of traditional marketplaces.