Alexandra Vougia

Alexandra Vougia (Thessaloniki, 1983) graduated in 2007 from the School of Architecture of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, with Honours. She holds an MS in Advanced Architectural Design from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation – GSAPP, Columbia University (2008). In June 2016, she was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by the Architectural Association – School of Architecture, London. Her research focused on the interwar architectural modernism in Germany conceived as a comprehensive project of the restructuring of human production set against the dominant (bourgeois) ideology. Alexandra has worked as an architect in New York and Athens. She is currently teaching at the Architectural Association and the University of Westminster.

Estranging Devices: Architectural Modernism and Strategies of De-alienation

Dr. Marina Lathouri, Dr. David Cunningham

This thesis is concerned with the various ways that architectural modernism of the interwar era functioned against the dominant (bourgeois) ideology. This complex and historically specific function is explored through the agency of a conceptual pair: (social) alienation and (aesthetic) estrangement, the latter as the avant-garde artistic device of de-alienation. The two terms, wholly associated with the evolution of capitalist economy and the practices of the historical avant-garde respectively, can manifest in a concrete way the linguistic and conceptual reworking of the discourse on ideology, which took place during its migration through the disciplines of philosophy and political economy, to the aesthetic practices, and eventually to the spatial production of architecture. The thesis studies by what means alienation, after becoming closely interdependent on the ideological and cultural hegemony of the bourgeoisie, was perceived by the historical avant-garde and defied in practice by the conception of the homonymous device of alienation or estrangement, and, primarily, how interwar architectural modernism attempted to transform the ‘negative’ function of this device into a ‘positive’ project for a de-alienated restructuring of human production.