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
Kent School of Architecture and Planning PhD student, Christopher Moore has won with his company the Craft Skills Award at the National Railway Heritage Awards in London for his project to conserve Battle Railway Station in Sussex. The award recognises craftsmanship skills in the use of materials and modern technology in the repair and conservation of historic railway buildings and is judged on a national standard with 100s of projects from across the UK being considered for the prestigious award.
Christopher, who is a chartered surveyor and building conservation accredited specialist, worked alongside Canterbury-based Clague LLP in a joint partnership to deliver the design and the main works for Network Rail and Southeastern Railways. The project involved conserving the station, which is said to be, ‘one of the finest Gothic-style small stations in the country’, whilst ensuring no delays to the trains, no station closures, and that the works were undertaken to BS:7913 for excellence in building conservation. The judges were impressed with the scale of the task at hand and the excellent standard of conservation to this nationally important heritage asset.
Chris said, “It was an honour to work on this project and an absolute dream to be awarded by this national awards scheme. From sourcing the original construction drawings, using digital technology to form the stonework, undertaking sensitive conservational repairs through many nights so as not to shut the station for the public, and the huge amount of research in sourcing vernacular suppliers to match the original materials from the 1850s, we worked incredibly hard on this project and I am very grateful for us to be honoured.”
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
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.
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.
A week of teaching and research activities in honour of our guest Professor Martin Bressani, director of the McGill School of Architecture in Montreal, was launched with a special event at the Pugin church of St Augustine in Ramsgate last night. Professor Bressani is a leading expert in the Gothic Revival, and he spoke to an audience from the parish about his early interest in the subject and the relationship of Pugin’s ideas to the Modern Movement. His talk was followed by a concert by PhD students and CREAte members Gimin Lee (ukulele) and Giacomo Damiani (accordion). Howard Griffin then presented an audio-visual display projected onto the interior walls of the church, assisted by students from our Architectural Visualisation programme. The evening was rounded off with performances on guitar by tutor Henry Sparks and second-year Architecture student Daniel Duarte.
CREAte thanks Father Marcus Holden for hosting us generously at the church, and to Anthony Jinks from the parish team for kindly looking after us over the evening.
The Australian architectural historian and critic Davina Jackson, who has completed her PhD at KSA, will be speaking next week at a special event in London held by the Twentieth Century Society and The Modern House estate agency in London.
The event, entitled ‘Douglas Snelling – Pan-Pacific Adventures in Modern Design and Architecture’ will take place on Monday 9th October at 6.30p-m in FCB Studios 20 on Tottenham Street in London.
Davina Jackoson is the author of the first study of Douglas Snelling’s pan-Pacific life an works. Based in Sydney, Davina works as an author, editor and curator and writes extensively on modernist architecture and design in Oceania. She was also professor of a multi-disciplinary design at the University of New South Wales and an editor of Architecture Australia.
For further information about the event, please see click here.
KSA members can attend free of charge.
CASE student Leonidas Tsichritzis will be holding a PhD Seminar on 10 May at 3.30PM in room W1-SR2.
The effect of urban geometry on pedestrian level winds
The Preliminary Results
Urban geometry influences almost exclusively the wind speeds at lower levels of the urban canopy layer affecting pedestrians’ comfort and the quality of urban environment. Such considerations have been taken into account from architects and planners in cold climatic context with very high buildings, such as in northern America while more recently such importance is being recognised in European temperate climates. With a focus on London, this study aims to assess the preliminary results obtained through CFD simulations, the magnitude of the impact of urban geometry on pedestrian level wind environment indicating the characteristics of urban geometry that dominate wind speeds around buildings.
The main objectives of this talk will be the following:
- Urban geometry analysis
- Sensitivity studies
- Initial results
Davina Jackson, our KSA student undertaking a PhD by publication will be hosting a seminar on her book publication entitled ‘Douglas Snelling: Pan-Pacific Modern Design and Architecture (From Gravesend to Global Glamour)’ . She has travelled from Australia and will be presenting at 4pm on Wednesday 10th May in the Digital Crit Space.
Douglas Burrage Snelling (1916–85) was one of Britain’s significant emigré architects and designers. Born in Kent and educated in New Zealand, he became one of Australia’s leading mid-century architects, of luxury residences and commercial buildings, and a trend-setting designer of furniture, interiors and landscapes. This is the first comprehensive study of Snelling’s pan-Pacific life, works and trans-disciplinary significance. It provides a critical examination of this controversial modernist, revealing him to be a colourful and talented character who led antipodean interpretations of American, especially Wrightian and southern Californian, architecture, design and lifestyle innovations.
Davina Jackson (M.Arch) is a Sydney-based author, editor and curator, and a visiting research fellow with Goldsmiths College, University of London. She writes for British and European publishers on modernist architecture and design in Oceania and on creative applications of technology in urban contexts. In recent years she has produced books, exhibitions, articles and guest essays explaining themes she has named ‘smart light cities’, ‘viral internationalism’, ‘astrospatial architecture’, ‘data cities’ and ‘virtual nations’. During the trans-millennial decades, she was a professor of multi-disciplinary design at the University of New South Wales, an editor of Architecture Australia, and a director of companies which produced the world’s first three ‘smart light’ festivals in Sydney and Singapore.
‘Stranger than fiction?’
Links between Flemish strangers and Netherlandish architectural influence in east Kent were the subject of a talk given by Alison Charles from the Kent School of Architecture at the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) on 26th January, 2016. The session was entitled ‘Stranger than fiction? Alien accommodation and Dutch architectural influence in sixteenth-and seventeenth-century Sandwich’ and took place as part of the IHR’s ‘Locality and Region’ seminar programme.
Alison’s paper discussed her research into stranger accommodation in Sandwich and how this overlaps with the presence of Netherlandish-inspired buildings in the town. These topics are related to the part-time Architectural History PhD she is finishing in CREAte, KSA’s Centre for Research in European Architecture.