AHRA Newsletter:
January-February 2013

If you would like to receive this information by e-mail, and you haven't yet signed up as a member of AHRA, please follow the link to the AHRA website for details of how to register on the database. Membership is currently free and is open to all humanities researchers working in Schools of Architecture and related disciplines both in the UK and overseas. Please also encourage colleagues to register here: http://www.ahra-architecture.org/registration/

If you are planning a research event that you would like to promote through the newsletter, please log in to the AHRA website and post the details by clicking on the 'Post Your Event' link under the 'Events' menu. These details will appear on the 'Future Events' page within a few days (subject to moderation) and will also be included in the next issue of the Newsletter. If you have not logged in to the site before, you should enter your default username ('firstnamelastname') and click on the 'forgotten your password' link for further instructions.

To promote other items of interest (new books, courses, other research resources etc) please send details by email to Stephen Walker at:

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The next newsletter will be issued in March 2013.


New Events

ASCAAD 2013 conference

Digital Crafting:Virtualizing Architecture and Delivering Real Built Environment

Effat University, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

December 16 2013 - December 18 2013

ASCAAD 7th Conference theme is exploring the linkages among digital design process thinking, constructability, the digital manufacturing process and their impact on the practice of architecture, engineering and construction. However, through digital design computation process, one would notice that the traditional master-builder design thinking approaches are still strongly implemented in processes such as: object making, digital fabrication, design-to-fabricate, parametric technology, BIM, machining, manufacturing analysis, building performance analysis. This evolution has combined the ability of fine crafted detailing with digital design and manufacturing and put a shift towards seamless collaboration between design and construction.

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Mon 16 December 2013


The 10th International AHRA International Conference

University of the West of England

November 21 2013 - November 23 2013

Conference summary

To transgress is to break, violate, infringe, or go beyond the bounds of accepted norms or limits; such limits may be behavioural or cultural (embedded in law, moral principle, taboo or other codified standards) or spatial. The conference will explore the ways in which boundaries can be exceeded or subverted in order to develop new forms of architecture, practice and architectural understanding. These boundaries might be theoretical, professional, social, spatial, disciplinary, legal, historical or physical.

“Transgression opens the door into what lies beyond the limits usually observed, but it maintains those limits just the same. Transgression is complementary to the profane world, exceeding its limits but not destroying it.”  Georges Bataille

Submissions from beyond the discipline of architecture, such as art, design, film, geography, urbanism and sociology, are welcome. 

Conference organisers are looking for proposals in the following categories: formal paper; short film; other (such as performance).

Call for Papers

Abstract deadline: Monday 18 February 2013

Notification of acceptance: Monday 15 April 2013

email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for an abstract submission form, or visit the event website.

Should you wish to discuss the conference or make further inquiries, please contact David Littlefield or Rachel Sara at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


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Thu 21 November 2013

Biophilic Design

Harmonious inter-relationship between built and natural context at both neighborhood and city scale

International Society of Biourbanism

August 30 2013

Call for Papers:

The new Journal of Bio Urbanism (JBU), a peer-reviewed international online journal of architecture, planning, and built environment studies, is currently considering papers for inclusion in its first issue launching in 2011.

The JBU aims at establishing a bridge between new theories and practice in the fields of design, architectural and urban planning, and built environment studies.

We invite papers which examine the latest research on biophilic approach, and focuses on harmonious inter-relationship between built and natural context at both neighborhood and city scale.

Please send your submissions to the editor (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)), by 30 August 2011.

Participants will be notified by November 2011.

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Fri 30 August 2013

Discursive Space

Breaking barriers to effective spatial communication in museums

Ryerson University, School of Interior Design, Toronto

June 20 2013 - June 23 2013

With the theme “Discursive Space: breaking barriers to effective spatial communication in museums”, the conference provides a forum for deliberation concerning the integration of art, design, and architecture in the creation of memorable and immersive museum experiences, while balancing the public’s expectations of self-directed expression and engagement.

Today’s society is continuously challenged to break down barriers; barriers that stand to separate individuals and ideas. Art and design in their truest forms are created to fracture barriers and initiate dialogue with individuals, internally and socially. How does one make an emotional connection, effect communication, and immersively engage a museum audience with an experience when there are these barriers to be overcome? The issue of how cultural institutions can reconnect with the public and demonstrate their value and relevance in contemporary life has been at the forefront of discussions between scholars, designers and professionals in recent times. In order for the conference to have relevance within the museum community, it has to have relevance for those who work in or study museums, but also to those who visit museums; to those who design museums; and those who see museums as an educational resource.


The conference is hosted by :

Ryerson University, School of Interior Design  (www.ryerson.ca/interior) and the Art Gallery of Ontario (www.ago.net).


Conference Committee:

Prof. Jana Macalik, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada
Deborah Wang (Adjunct), Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada
Christophe Jivraj, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada
Gillian McIntyre, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada
Dr. Jonathan Hale, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
Dr. Laura Hanks, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
Dr. Suzanne MacLeod, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
Dr. John Fraser, New Knowledge Organization, New York, US

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Thu 20 June 2013

International Symposium on Urbanism, Spirituality & Well Being

Exploring the Past and Present | Envisioning the Future

Hingham, MA & Harvard University Divinity School

June 06 2013 - June 09 2013

The International Symposium on Urbanism, Spirituality & Well Being will convene experts in the fields of architecture, landscape design, urbanism, religious studies, public health and other related disciplines to address leading-edge global culture and urbanism issues from contemplative, spiritual, philosophical, design and ethical perspectives. The 2 1/2 day program of scholarly presentations and panel discussions is sponsored by the Harvard Divinity School, the the Harvard Center for Health and Global Environment, and The International Forum for Architecture, Culture and Spirituality. The symposium topics include scholarship on the history of cities and architecture planned according to spiritual motivations or principles; the contemporary built urban environment and the plethora of forces that shape it; and the meaningful, sustainable and spiritual prospects of future urban life that nurtures meaningful, sustainable, and spiritually inspiring built environments and architecture.

The symposium will begin with a keynote address on Thursday, June 6th, followed on Friday by peer-reviewed paper sessions and a keynote address, both of which will be conducted at Glastonbury Abbey. On Saturday, the symposium will be conducted at the Harvard Divinity School and include invited speakers and panel discussions by leading experts in the field. Sunday will include a concluding session, the ACS business meeting, and an excursion to be announced. 

For information regarding submission of paper proposals (deadline January 14, 2013), symposium location, cost, format, and themes, go to http://www.acsforum.org/usw_symposium/



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Thu 6 June 2013

Transitory, Transportable and Transformable: Temporary Conditions in Architecture

Alan Baxter Associates, 75 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EL

May 18 2013


Proposals are invited for papers addressing the theme of TEMPORARY CONDITIONS IN  ARCHITECTURE to be presented at the 2013 Annual Symposium of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, to be held Alan Baxter Associates, 75 Cowcross Street, London  EC1M 6EL, on Saturday 18 May  2013.

Architecture is generally regarded as being, for the most part, permanent, static and immutable.  However some significant buildings are intended to be temporary, whereas others are designed to be moved from one location to another or even to be flexible enough to alter their form and appearance as the result of changing requirements.  This symposium intends to explore the temporary condition in architecture and to question whether architecture needs to be either permanent, static or immutable.

Transitory:  Many buildings are short-lived, but few of them are regarded as serious architecture.  In 1661, triumphal arches were erected for Charles II’s coronation procession from the City of London to Westminster.  Constructed largely of timber, plaster and canvas, they were architecturally elaborate yet intentionally impermanent, only to be soon swept away.  Political expediency, no doubt, necessitated their quick erection, otherwise they might have been built in stone and, like Temple Bar (1670-72), still stand today, albeit not in its original location.  Modern materials allow for the quick and permanent erection of buildings such as Team 4’s prize-winning Reliance Controls Electronics Factory at Swindon (1967).  Yet despite the longevity of its materials, this building was intentionally short-lived and, having served its purpose, was demolished in 1991.  Only the ‘thirty-year rule’ saved it from being listed, as it might well have been.  Papers could consider whether the lack of permanence in architecture diminishes its value or, on the other hand, whether the permanence which listing building legislation imposes and implies, ultimately benefits it. 

Transportable:  The Crystal Palace (1851) was first erected, in Hyde Park, as a temporary building but was soon transported to Sydenham where it was re-erected.  This was made possible by its pre-fabricated, component-based assembly process.  This thinking allowed pre-fabricated buildings to be sent out across the world by the European colonial powers in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  Whether these be William Slater’s cast-iron church for the Ecclesiologists (1853-56) or Jean Prouvé’s steel barracks for the French army (1939), the use of transportable architecture to establish and promote religious or military, and therefore political control, was the same.  Conversely, the practice of retrieving and displaying spolia as a demonstration of political control, such as Napoleon’s relocation to the Arc de Triomphe, in 1797, of the quadriga from St Mark’s Basilica, Venice, shows that architecture can be as easily brought home as it can be sent out.  Papers, therefore, might like to investigate the use of transportable architecture as both a vehicle and an affirmation of colonisation and the influence which these buildings had on the national architecture, culture and society of the colony and the coloniser alike.

Transformable: If the Pyramids are regarded as the ultimate expression of permanence in architecture, then the Pompidou Centre, as originally conceived in 1971, might be the antithesis.  For here the floors could move, the envelope could be reassembled, and the exposed services regularly modified.  Although the floors, in the end, remained static, the building has been noticeably transformed over the years.  Today, ‘Legacy’ is one of the key-words for the London 2012 Olympics.  Yet few of the buildings destined to remain will be left in their original condition; many will be transformed.  The side wings will be loped off Zaha Hadid’s swimming pool and the upper stage will be removed from Populous’s stadium.  In considering legacy, papers might ask whether there is a real architectural legacy in such a situation and whether those few buildings which will emerge unscathed, such as, hopefully, Hopkins Architects’ velodrome, will provide the only true reminder of the Olympics. 

Abstracts of not more than 250 words should be sent to Professor Neil Jackson at the School of Architecture, University of Liverpool, Abercromby Square, Liverpool L69 7ZN or e-mailed to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) no later than 15 October 2012.  Authors will be advised by 3 December 2012 whether or not their paper has been selected.

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Sat 18 May 2013

10th Annual AHRA Research Student Symposium

Facts and Fictions

Department of Architecture and Built Environment, Lund University

May 03 2013 - May 03 2013

The symposium provides an international platform for PhD students/candidates in the architectural humanities to meet, present and discuss their work.

Call for Papers: Facts and Fictions

The AHRA invites proposals from Phd students/candidates in the architectural humanities for contributions to its 10th Annual Student Research Symposium, which will be arranged by ResArc, and will take place on Friday 3rd May 2013 at the Department of Architecture and Built Environment, Lund University. Proposals for papers in any area of the architectural humanities are welcome, including culture, theory and design. Papers will be 20 minutes long. The symposium will conclude with a keynote presentation by Mark Jarzombek, Professor of the History and Theory of Architecture, MIT. Title of his lecture: Global History in a Non-Global World. The symposium will be free to attend. 

Proposals for papers should be a maximum of 500 words, and should be sent by 

email headed “AHRA PhD symposium 2013” to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

The deadline is Friday 9th November 2012, and it is hoped that we will be able to advise successful candidates within a month from that date.

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Fri 3 May 2013

A Strange Utility: Architecture Toward Other Ends

CFP Deadline: Friday, November 2, 2012

Portland State University, Portland, OR, USA

April 26 2013

Ours is an era of austerity measures, global economic turmoil, and resource depletion in which the utility, or “use value” of any product, resource, or process is championed as its foremost virtue. Politicians aspire to budgets that maintain only the most functional and necessary line-items and consumers seek products that are economical in their use of resources or their adaptability from one utility to another—for example, cars that use only a limited amount of gasoline, furniture that converts into other uses, cell phones that are also computers, cameras, and personal navigation systems.
Of course, the discipline of architecture has always been linked to the idea of utility—albeit in a variety of ways and to different degrees. From architecture’s putative origins as a primitive form of shelter made of foliage to the Modernist dictum that form follows function, architecture, from the beginning, has been required to perform a “useful” function. Not surprisingly, utility remains a central concern within contemporary architectural practice, but alongside some of the obvious benefits—the development of more energy efficient materials and processes and the economic incentive to redevelop existing buildings before building anew—have come some strange, if understudied effects. It is now common to describe the inhabitants of buildings as “users,” a turn of phrase that subtly positions architecture as a product whose value, in the end, is determined primarily by the function of its use, and its inhabitants, in the end, as consumers of space, rather than active participants who engage with and indeed transform   space through their habits, interventions, and rituals.
Meanwhile, outside the confines of mainstream practice, architecture is being appropriated to ends that seem to dramatically expand and estrange the familiar notion of utility.  For example, contemporary Polish artist Monika Sosnowska recently used the twisted architectural form of a Soviet-bloc government building as a metaphor for the pressures exerted upon now-collapsed political regimes. Likewise, artists Paul Pfeiffer, Thomas Demand, and James Casebere have all used the architectural model (and its subsequent imaging) as a vehicle for addressing historical and societal ills, their photographs addressing subjects such as the atomization of the crowd at the sports arena, the history of American slavery, and the atrocities of Nazi Germany. At the same time, for revered science-fiction author Bruce Sterling, architecture is the very medium through which future worlds are destroyed, imagined, and rebuilt. Moreover, within the sphere of architecture itself, as envisioned by Jean-Gilles Décosterd and Philippe Rahm, the built environment is designed to incite physiological and biological responses; indeed, for many avant-garde architects, architecture is both a medium and means to an unconventional end, one part of an equation that considers, among many influences, the social, cultural, mythological, economic, electromagnetic, biological and chemical interactions between our bodies and the built environments they engage.
Recognizing the contemporary currency of utility, this symposium seeks unexpected ways of defining this term within and with respect to the built environment. Submissions sought include, but are not limited to, academic papers, performances, audience-participatory projects, poetry, and prose. This symposium will be structured around a series of events and speakers that grapple with the following questions: how and who has defined architecture’s use-value, its utility? How can turning to other disciplines’ unexpected utilization of architecture expand architects’ and architectural historians’ perception of architecture’s utility? And, what are architecture’s future utilities? As architecture’s primary function is called into question daily, we may find that the answer to architecture’s future lies precisely in its strange utility. 

Confirmed Keynote Speakers: 
Philippe Rahm, Philippe Rahm architectes, Paris, France
Jimenez Lai, Assistant Professor of Architecture, University of Illinois Chicago
Jill L. Stoner, Associate Professor of Architecture, UC Berkeley

Please respond with 500 word abstract/proposal and CV, emailed to both:

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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Fri 26 April 2013

Between Architecture of War and Military Urbanism

10th Urban and Landscape Days

Tallinn, Estonia

April 26 2013 - April 28 2013

The international scientific conference "Between architecture of war and military urbanism" is the 10th edition of the annual series of Urban and Landscape Days. Organized by the Estonian Academy of Arts, Faculty of Architecture, the event brings together architecture, planning, landscape studies, critical urban studies and art.

The idea behind the theme of 2013 is to facilitate a creative and critical interrogation of links between the political economy of war, the transfer of military practices and technologies to urban realm, and the 'architectures of war', such as military bases, fortifications and refugee camps, which comprise a largely forgotten topic in planning and architecture.

Abstract submission deadline is October 1, 2012.

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Fri 26 April 2013

New Publications

Claude Bragdon and The Beautiful Necessity

Edited by Eugenia Ellis and Andrea Reithmayr

This book is about the American architect, theatre designer, mystic and theorist Claude Fayette Bragdon (1866-1946). Although Bragdon was active exclusively in the States – initially in upstate New York and later in New York City – by no means is his work of local significance only. An exceptionally early advocate of the ‘spatial’ nature of architecture, influenced by mystical and Theosophical beliefs that had a strong impact on avant-garde art and architecture in Europe too, and personally acquainted with such key figures as Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, Bragdon’s work is deservedly attracting more and more attention. One of the mini-reviews included in the back cover of the catalogue is by Professor David van Zanten, a leading expert on Louis Sullivan.

This publication serves as the catalogue for an exhibition in Rochester, NY (where the Bragdon archive is held), that runs from April to October 2010. Alongside extensive illustrative material, the catalogue also includes essays by eleven scholars that address different aspects of Bragdon’s work.

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Tue 1 June 2010


Ruth Morrow, Mohamed Abdelmonem

Architects are now more than ever part of an interdisciplinary context. The emergence of creative art-based practices, film making, post-disaster designs and slum management, as part of the architecture discourse and curriculum, is an indication of how broad architecture has become, and the extent to which it has already merged peripheral practices into its core.

This new volume in the AHRA Critiques Series is a statement about how broad, complex, influential, and, ironically central, architecture has become in the contemporary culture, economy and society, despite the marginal position the profession currently occupies.Peripheries questions and challenges the boundaries of architectural research by bringing together subjects and relevant streams of investigation, some of which rarely feature in architectural research and practice titles.

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Wed 9 January 2013

Architecture & Culture

Architecture & Culture:  Aims and Scope

Architecture and Culture, the international, peer-reviewed journal of the Architectural Humanities Research Association, investigates the relationship between architecture and the culture that shapes and is shaped by it. Whether culture is understood extensively, as shared experience of everyday life, or in terms of the rules and habits of different disciplinary practices, Architecture and Culture asks how architecture participates in and engages with it – and how both culture and architecture might be reciprocally transformed.

Architecture and Culture publishes explorations that are rigorously speculative, purposively imaginative, visually and verbally stimulating. From historians of culture and architecture, from geographers, anthropologists and other social scientists, from architects and urban designers, from film-makers, animators and other artists, from thinkers and writers of all kinds, established and new, it solicits essays, critical reviews, interviews, fictional narratives in both words and images, art and building projects, and design hypotheses. Architecture and Culture aims to promote a conversation between all those who are curious about what architecture might be and what it can do.


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Wed 9 January 2013

New Courses

MA Architectural History, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, London

Course web site

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Wed 9 January 2013

MA in Architectural Design

School of Architecture, University of Sheffield

Course web site

web site thumbnail available soon

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Wed 9 January 2013

MA in Urban Design

School of Architecture, The University of Sheffield

Course web site

web site thumbnail available soon

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Wed 9 January 2013