AHRA Newsletter:
July-August 2012

This is the latest issue of the newsletter highlighting forthcoming events, conferences, publications and other research activities.

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:

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

The next newsletter will be issued in September 2012.

New Events

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

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

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

2012 Interstices Under Construction Symposium

Immaterial materialities: Materiality and interactivity in art and architecture

The University of Technology Sydney, Schools of Architecture and Design

November 28 2012 - November 30 2012

Materiality has recently claimed centre stage in architectural discourse and practice, yet its critical meaning is ever receding.  Tropes like material honesty, digital materiality, material responsiveness and dematerialisation mark out an interdisciplinary field where scientific fact and artistic experimentation interact, and where what in fact constitutes materiality and immateriality is constantly re-imagined.

As a reaction to developments in science, materiality came under scrutiny with the emergence of nineteenth century German aesthetics (Vischer, Schmarsow) and the early avant-garde projects (Lissitzky, van Doesburg). Initiating an epistemic shift in art and architecture, these works pointed to the connection between the material properties of objects and spaces and their interaction with the inhabitant through psycho-perceptual effects. These ideas re-emerged transformed in the work of the Neo-avant-garde of the 1960s and 70s.

More recent approaches deploy materials as mediators or activating agents that probe the relationship between audience/user and physical environment: Spatial investigations with phenomena-producing materials such as water, light, colour and temperature experiment with the viewer’s experience (Eliasson); responsive high-tech materials interact with audiences (Spuybroek); weather architectures (Hill), or atmo architectures (Sloterdijk) technologically re-create nature as spatial experience (Diller and Scofidio).

Materials can give rise to seemingly incompatible connotations: photographic representations of Zumthor’s atmospheric concrete spaces reveal unexpected links with the post-industrial spaces of power plants and cooling towers (Ursprung). In the Pacific region, space has eminently temporal aspects and, particularly in indigenous buildings, rare walls are permeable and breathing. At the same time, the popular use of low-cost materials such as corrugated metal connects the wool-shed, the beach house and industrial estates educing trans-historical, cross-cultural, and climatic associations.In architectural practice and education, experiments in material-oriented computational design explore the design potential of conventional construction materials.

All these approaches probe boundaries - between material and immaterial, art and science, practice and theory, representation and experience, tradition and innovation, and producer/object/user, giving rise to the following concerns:

What is the validity of different approaches to materiality in relation to the vital problems of our time?

Can materials be deployed to create environments which predict user behaviour and control social relations and experiences?

What trans-historical correspondences can be detected in contemporary approaches to materiality, and how do these challenge, imitate and expand on previous thinking?


Please send a 500-word abstract and a short cv to Sandra Karina Löschke (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) by 25 June 2012. Notifications will be sent out by 23 July, 2012. Double-blind refereed abstracts, if accepted, will be published on the Interstices website (http://www.interstices.auckland.ac.nz).   Selected contributions will be published. The symposium is followed by a call for papers for the Issue 14 of Interstices: A Journal of Architecture and Related Arts on the same topic. The symposium takes place at the University of Technology Sydney on 28 -30 November 2012.

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Wed 28 November 2012

Architecture and the Paradox of Dissidence

The 9th International Architectural Humanities Research Association International Conference

London Metropolitan University

November 15 2012 - November 17 2012

This conference aims to reflect on the relevance of the concept of dissidence for architectural practice today. Although dissidence has been primarily associated with architectural practices in the Eastern Bloc at the end of the Cold War period, contemporary architectural and other aesthetic practices have in recent years developed a host of new methodologies and techniques for articulating their distance from and critique of dominant political and financial structures. Architecture and the Paradox of Dissidence asks how we can conceive of the contemporary political problems and paradoxes of architecture in relation to their precedents? Devoid of the agency of action, Cold War dissidents articulated their positions in drawings of fantasy-like paper architecture, while contemporary forms of architectural practice seem to gravitate towards activism and direct-action in the world. The political issues – from interventions in charged areas worldwide to research in conflict zones and areas undergoing transformations – currently stimulate a field of abundant invention in contemporary architecture. Both, Cold War dissidents and contemporary activists encounter problems and paradoxes and must navigate complex political force fields within which possible complicities are inherent risks. 

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Thu 15 November 2012

Spaces and Flows

Third International Conference on Urban and ExtraUrban Studies

Wayne State University, Detroit, USA.

October 11 2012 - October 12 2012

The Spaces and Flows Conference will be held 11-12 October 2012 at Wayne State University in Detroit, USA. This interdisciplinary conference aims to critically examine the spatial, social, ideological, and political forces that shape and transform cities, suburbs, and rural areas. The theme of this year‚s conference is  "Transforming Cities and Communities in Contemporary Times," and it is fitting that the location is Detroit, Michigan, USA - a city whose past and recent history exemplifies the complex processes that must be examined and mastered for positive transformations to occur.


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Thu 11 October 2012

Call for Papers: ‘The Uses of Art in Public Space’

Cologne, Germany

August 26 2012 - August 30 2012

Call for Papers 
Double Conference Session: 'The Uses of Art in Public Space' 
Chairs: Julia Lossau & Quentin Stevens 
International Geographical Congress 
(on website: see Calls - Commissions and Task Forces - Stream C08.07 Cultural Approach in Geography) 

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Sun 26 August 2012


Interdisciplinary Research Conference

Venue 1: Lucerne, sic! Raum für Kunst, August 23rd and 24th 2012. Venue 2: Basel, S_AM Swiss Architecture Museum, October 18th to 20th 2012.

August 24 2012 - August 23 2012

Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (LUASA), Switzerland.

JUST ARCHITECTURE? – Interdisciplinary Research Conference.

Just architecture? What is architecture as explorative research process? What alternative modes of competition support such processes?


Deadline for uploading video-clip-abstracts (maximum 3 minutes): June 15th 2012.

Venue 1: Lucernesic! Raum für Kunst, August 23rd and 24th 2012.

Venue 2: BaselS_AM Swiss Architecture Museum, October 18th to 20th 2012.

Organized within the framework of the Interdisciplinary Focus Creative Living Lab (IS CreaLab) at LUASA.

Concept by Ronny Hardliz, Schools of Art and Design, LUASA, Alberto Alessi, Schools of Engineering and Architecture, LUASA, and Jacqueline Holzer, Schools of Business, LUASA.


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Fri 24 August 2012


Theory Forum / School of Architecture / The University of Sheffield / 13-14 November 2012

Sheffield School of Architecture

November 12 2012 - November 13 2012

Blind spots exist in every society, culture, and urban fabric. They can be spatial, social, economic, or policy related. On the one hand, blind spots are typically situations and topics that are obscured by other themes; they fall outside our radar because they are neither considered topical nor pressing enough to be addressed by policy or planning. On the other hand, blind spots also describe necessary places of informality; places and spaces which are overlooked by the authorities, by planning or other users, and thereby allow for indeterminate, unregulated, informal, non-prescribed and open uses. 

We also understand blind spots as those cities and urban conglomerations that are usually overlooked or sidelined by the Euro-centric canon of urban history or an urban discourse that focuses on those global, fast growing metropolises that provide us with a high level of imagery, staggering data and socio-spatial extremes.

Blind spots also relate to approaches, research and teaching projects that look beyond the conventional approaches of architectural and urban history in order to value and champion other ways of surveying and of accounting for cities; ways that aim at transforming the tools with which both citizens and architects might understand cities. In this sense, blind spots refer to different perceptive and representational methods through which one can describe urban conditions. 

Call for contributions

We invite proposals for talks, exhibitions, performances, walks, or events relating to the notions of Urban Blind Spots outlined above. We are explicitly asking for cross-, trans-, or non-disciplinary approaches and forms of expressions. Talks can follow the form of a conventional academic presentation but we would also like to encourage proposals for presentations in other formats such as staged conversations/discussions, films, exhibitions, or other project documentations. The Theory Forum is attended by Masters students at the School of Architecture as part of their course, and speakers will be asked to participate in debates and seminars involving students.

Please send a 500 word abstract or presentation description by 15th September 2012 to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), as a PDF attachment to an email, with “URBAN BLIND SPOTS” as the email subject. The abstract should be anonymous to allow for a blind review process. Please include your contact in the body of the email.

All proposals will be double peer-reviewed. Selected contributions will be invited to submit a paper for publication in a special edition of field: [http://www.field-journal.org/index.php].



Submission of abstracts: 15th September 2012

Confirmation of acceptance: 5th October 2012

Submission of full papers; full exhibition/performance/event concept: 1st November 2012

Conference registration: 1st November

Theory Forum: 13th and 14th November 2012

Publication of field: November 2013


Theory Forum

The Theory Forum is an annual two-day cross-disciplinary platform of events organised by the Sheffield School of Architecture, featuring diverse talks, workshops, walks, film screenings and exhibitions.

This year’s focus and forum title is Urban Blind Spots. It is the 14th event of this series and follows on from recent high profile international conferences and events such as Digital Worlds (2011), At Home (2010), Ecology (2009), Agency (2008) and Alternate Currents (2007).

Urban Blind spots hopes to bring together a range of people from different disciplines, academia and practice, exploring and discussing the various notions of blind spots in relation to cities and the way they are produced, used, perceived and portrayed. It is aimed to be a testing ground through which the multi-faceted manifestations and understandings of blind spots can be explored and theorized.



Theory Forum 2012 will take place on 13 and 14 November as a multi-faceted habitat of adaptable spaces with diverse talks, workshops and interventions. It will be held at Sheffield School of Architecture as well as is blind spots across the city.



Participation is free of charge and open to the public. Non-SSoA members will have to register by 1st November 2013



This year's forum is organised by Dr Florian Kossak, Dr Tatjana Schneider and Dr Stephen Walker. Urban Blind Spots is part of on-going research on Radical Urbanism (Kossak/Schneider) and Urban (Hi-)Stories (Kossak/Walker). It is conducted in association with the SSoA Research Centre AGENCY and the MA in Urban Design Programme (MAUD).



Contact:           Theory Forum 2012: Urban Blind Spots

                        Sheffield School of Architecture

                        University of Sheffield

                        The Arts Tower, Western Bank

                        Sheffield S10 2TN

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

                        +44 (0) 114 2220341



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Mon 12 November 2012

Neuroergonomics and Urban Design

Biourbanism for a Human-Centered Sustainability and Effectiveness

Artena (Rome) Italy

July 15 2012 - July 23 2012

This residential course is aimed at giving participants (architects, designers, engineers, psychologists, social scientists, and policy makers) a unique competence in a new field of practice and research, with relevant professio

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Sun 15 July 2012

New directions in Gothic Revival studies worldwide

The 2012 A.W.N. Pugin bicentennial conference

University of Kent, Canterbury

July 13 2012 - July 14 2012

This conference will be the primary international academic event marking the bicentenary of the birth of the architect A.W.N. Pugin, bringing the field’s leading scholars worldwide to a broad-based conference in Canterbury. It will also be the first conference on the British Gothic Revival's international impact that incorporates North America, and the first significant international conference on the subject since ‘Gothic Revival: religion, architecture and style in Western Europe’ (Leuven, 1997).

There will be opportunities to visit key Pugin sites immediately before and after the conference. In association with the Pugin Society, The Victorian Society and the Landmark Trust we will offer visits to the Grange and St Augustine’s in Ramsgate. Further tours and walks will be organised over the following week to Gothic Revival sites in Birmingham and Staffordshire.

The academic sessions of the conference will be held on 13-14 July 2012 at the University of Kent in Canterbury.

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Fri 13 July 2012