AHRA Newsletter:
May-June 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:

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The next newsletter will be issued in early July 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

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

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

Ethics & Aesthetics of Architecture & the Environment

2 0 1 2 I S P A C o n f e r e n c e

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

July 11 2012 - July 13 2012

Call for papers

Abstracts: 28 October 2011
Notification of Acceptance: 06 January 2012
Full Papers: 30 March 2012
Early Registration: 30 April 2012

The subject of aesthetics is often taken as dealing with questions of mere beauty, where the word 'aesthetic' is colloquially interchangeable with beauty and liking. Someone might, for instance, explain their liking the look of a particular object on the basis of its 'aesthetics'. Interestingly, even within the specialised architecture discourse, the aesthetic is largely discussed on the basis of an object's appearance. Yet, the aesthetic is not limited and should not be limited merely to the way things look. Any philosophically informed aesthetician, will contest this limited view, saying something along the lines of 'the aesthetic is everything'. The aim of this conference is therefore in part to address this discursive limitation in architecture and related subjects by broadening the aesthetic discourse beyond questions relating to purely visual phenomena in order to include those derived from all facets of human experience.

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Wed 11 July 2012

Fabulation: Myth, Nature, Heritage

29th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand

University of Tasmania, Launceston, Tasmania

July 05 2012

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Thu 5 July 2012

Call for proposals: Cities Methodologies 2012

University College London

July 04 2012 - July 07 2012

Inaugurated in 2009, Cities Methodologies is a pan-UCL initiative to showcase innovative methods of urban research. Through exhibits and events, it draws together undergraduate, masters, and doctoral research, alongside work produced by academics, and the wider community of urban researchers. Proposals are invited from UCL staff, students and alumni, and other researchers who are developing and using innovative methods to understand cities and urbanization.

Proposals for exhibits and events that engage with the city are invited from any discipline. Deadline for proposals: 1st May 2012, 5pm. Please see http://www.ucl.ac.uk/urbanlab for more details. 

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Wed 4 July 2012

SARCHA Polypolis Athens: a mindset-shifting board game

London Festival of Architecture 2012 International Showcase

Jeremy Bentham Room, Wilkins Building, Main Quadrangle, UCL, Gower Street, WC1E 6BT

June 23 2012

In the rapidly deteriorating Athens centre, players are assigned life-roles; Immersed in an urban environment of economic recession, illegality, city-phobia & rising violence the Athenians (Greeks and immigrants, shop owners, unemployed, land owners, investors, inhabitants, entrepreneurs, intellectuals, etc.) enter into an agonising and agonistic STRUGGLE to reset the city’s human, physical and natural resources. The players keep reflecting and ACTING UPON ‘REAL’ CITY CONDITIONS, and watch the outcome of their decisions unfold on the game board. The Athenians of the Polypolis social game STAND UP TO THE CHALLENGE of the crisis and have the power to TRANSFORM the materiality of their city.


- Book to play at www.polypolis.sarcha.gr
- Registration of attendance at the official London Festival of Architecture, Cultural Olympiad 2012: http://www.lfa2012.org/events/view/international-showcase-greece-polypolis-athens-become-an-athenian-and-experience-a-city-in-crisis-232  

Strategic Partners of SARCHA in the UK: International Law and Theory Center, Westminster University, Urban Design MArch programme, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

The event is under the auspices of the Embassy of Greece in London

Information on SARCHA: http://www.sarcha.gr/About.aspx

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Sat 23 June 2012

Building Local

Barichara, Colombia

June 15 2012 - June 25 2012

BUILDING LOCAL is a 10-day design-build workshop that will explore the aesthetic, assembly and tectonic qualities of local materials: earth, stone, fique, bamboo and wood. The design-build studio will engage students in a series of workshops culminating in the design and construction of an efficient and innovative farmhouse.


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Fri 15 June 2012

Call for papers. Urban spatial quality and human well-being

Geometric coherence and its influence on socio-political order and human well-being

June 15 2012 - June 15 2012

Call for papers.


Abstracts: 30 April 2012

Notification of Acceptance: 15 May 2012

Full Paper submission: 15 June 2012

Website: http://www.journalofbiourbanism.org/

Send an e-mail with the abstract/full paper attached in word format to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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Fri 15 June 2012

European Architectural History Network

Second International Meeting

Brussels, Belgium

May 31 2012 - June 03 2012

Call for Session and Roundtable Proposals Deadline: 19 December 2010

The European Architectural History Network (EAHN) is organizing its second international meeting in Brussels in spring 2012 with twenty-three panels and four roundtables treating topics from antiquity through medieval and early modern to the present.  Panels include topics in the history of architecture, urbanism, gardens and landscape, as well as in architectural theory and historiography.  

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Thu 31 May 2012

Modernism in Architecture & Urbanism: East, west… and across the world

Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, nr Shanghai, PR China 215123

May 28 2012 - October 19 2012

The conference will be part of the 'UK Now' festival, which is one of the biggest ever cultural exchange event organised by the UK government in China. It is supported by the British Council with The Architectural Review as UK media partner.
The call for extended abstracts recently opened. Deadline: 2nd May 2012 (to be extended). 

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Mon 28 May 2012

the production of place

International conference & workshops: call for papers

ACE | School of Architecture, Computing and Engineering University of East London Docklands Campus, London

May 28 2012 - December 18 2012

The concept of place works across multiple disciplines; as an area of study it requires the application of diverse approaches: merging architecture, urbanism, geography, psychology, as a better means of understanding and responding to places. Critical theorists argue that globally-produced social, economic and environmental conditions are imposed on local places, which are unable to deal with them and maintain their own identity in the process, because of their global provenance.

Place may be defined by activity intrinsic to, and evidenced in, details of the physical surroundings (architectural style, composition, and type) which can be considered as a framing device for daily life. Therefore, can the activities of ‘making’ and ‘doing’ that are in and of places, more usefully inform global processes and products?

In understanding the physical characteristics of place on a local scale, globalised understandings of places and their mutability could be challenged. If the world is entirely made up of places, can each place provide a new form of global knowledge?

In this conference, we aim to question the challenges of global problems in relation to the production of place. Focusing on the necessary components to sustain places, how do we decide when to protect, adjust or transform?


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Mon 28 May 2012

Architecture in Transformation

2012 International Student Competition in Architectural Design, Tianjin, China

May 28 2012 - June 30 2012

Architecture in Transformation should make responses to current situations and times. What concerns us is the relationship between architecture and city, and the relationship between architecture and natural environment. The competition aims at: (1) searching and constructing a human space with a sense of place in increasingly-fragmented cities or unordered villages; (2) exploring environment-friendly and sustainable ideas in the information age; (3) integrating creative design concepts with solid basic skills effectively in architectural education. The main requirements include: (1) making detailed examinations and reflections on architectural history; (2) exploring complicated requirements to architecture and environment by current users; (3) paying attention to events in specific sites; (4) configuring viable urban and architectural spaces.


Competition Brief

  1. Participants can choose design programs by themselves. The architectural type is designated as cultural complex. It should pay great attention to the features of contemporary cultural architecture and specific spatial requirements of various user groups.
  2. Participants can choose sites by themselves. It should be of challenges and urban memories, such as urban fringes, urban centers, rural centers, etc.
  3. Total floor area is around 6,000m2 (±10%).
  4. Participants should make deep considerations to the organic relationships between architecture and city, and between architecture and village. Besides, outside space and urban edges should be included into the design program.
  5. Participants should make 1:200-scale hand-made models. The model photos (≥5inch×7inch) should be included in submission drawings. 


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Mon 28 May 2012

New Publications

Scale: Imagination, Perception and Practice in Architecture

Scale is a word which underlies much of architectural and urban design practice, its history and theory, and its technology. Its connotations have traditionally been linked with the humanities, in the sense of relating to human societies and to human form. ‘To build in scale’ is an aspiration that is usually taken for granted by most of those involved in architectural production, as well as by members of the public; yet in a world where value systems of all kinds are being questioned, the term has come under renewed scrutiny. The older, more particular, meanings in the humanities, pertaining to classical Western culture, are where the sense of scale often resides in cultural production.

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Fri 20 April 2012