Crosswise – PhD Symposium

Double Crossing 
“This Thing Called Theory
Open Seminar Series
14:00 – 18:00
At the The Barrel Vault in The AA
Organised by  AA PhD Programme & Architectural Humanities Research Association (AHRA)
This Thing Called Theory
Stemming from the Architectural Humanities Research Association (AHRA) 2015 conference, the open seminar
series ‘This Thing Called Theory’ continues to explore the status of theory in architecture, and proposes theory as a
form of architectural practice that opposes the instrumentalization of its use.
The first open seminar ‘Architecture and Its Theories’ (AA 2017) looked at different ways of practicing theory in
architecture, through its histories (Marco De Michelis) and philosophies (Mark Cousins), as well as in curatorial
(Pippo Ciorra) and editorial (Diana Periton) practices. Issues of interpretation and betrayal in representation and
communication emerged.
Double Crossing
In this second open seminar ‘Double Crossing’, the question of fidelity is further examined, in particular in the
relation between architectural theory and practice. One important motif that emerged in previous debates is the
ability of theory to digress and transgress certain bounds of the field, insofar as to instigate disturbances that may
lead to deaths and births of particular forms of practice.
In this sense, theory in its most provocative form is to be not so much a faithful ally of practice, as that which has
the ability to love and to betray practice, for Architecture’s sake. Every act of insight, imagination and innovation
possible in architecture is a trace of such double-crossing, intentional deceit and treacherous exposure between
theory and practice. This is where what is said and not said, the visible and the hidden, the mark and its erasure,
constitute the relation of complicity behind movements of conservation and revolution that shaped what we now
know as architectural history.
Doreen Bernath (AA & Leeds Beckett University)
Mark Cousins (AA)
Sergio Figueiredo (TU Eindhoven)
Ivonne Santoyo Orozco(Iowa State University)
Douglas Spencer (AA & University of Westminster)
Teresa Stoppani (AHRA)
Andrea Dutto (Politecnico di Torino)
Will Orr (AA PhD programme)
14:00 – 14:15
Teresa Stoppani, Sergio Figueiredo, Doreen Bernath – Introduction
14:15 – 15:00
Mark Cousins – On Betrayal
Ivonne Santoyo Orozco – Liquid
Doreen Bernath – Introjection
15:00 – 15:45
Questions and Conversation
Speakers with Andrea Dutto, Will Orr, Teresa Stoppani and audience
15:45 – 16:00
Coffee Break
16:00 – 16:45
Douglas Spencer – Withdrawn
Sergio Figueiredo – Towards Big Data
Teresa Stoppani – Erasure
16:45 – 17:30
Questions and Conversation
Speakers with Andrea Dutto, Will Orr, Doreen Bernath and
17:30 – 18:00
Completed PhD Presentations
33FFB (First Floor Back)
Ricardo Ruivo Pereira
Architecture and Counter-revolution: The Ideology of the Historiography of the Soviet Avant-garde
Supervisors: Mark Cousins, Dr Pier Vittorio Aureli
The thesis produces a history of the Western historiography of Soviet architecture, looking at its trends and the evolution of its narratives. It focuses on the development of historiographical categories and their transformations, as an exercise of what Reinhart Koselleck calls conceptual history, framed as a Marxist critique of ideology. It frames a persistent link to the present from the Soviet “avant-garde” as an ideological projection of meanings the Western historiography of Soviet architecture produces over its own geo-political reality, where “the avant-garde” as a meta-category is itself constructed of legitimation of Western presents
Arturo Revilla 
Plastic. The use of everyday materials as a design tool for the understanding of contemporary urbanization.
Supervisors: Dr Marina Lathouri
Plastic is in everything we touch and see drastically affecting our day to day. This  material form has extended its influence beyond our direct experience in to areas such as infrastructure, global commerce and communication, playing a central role in the complexity of our contemporary material culture. This thesis examines the impact that the everyday use of materials such as plastic has had in the configuration of the physical environment to explore the relationships and synergies between urbanization processes and architectural design.
Nihal Al Sabbagh
Urban Design and Outdoor Thermal Comfort
Supervisors: Dr Simos Yannas, Dr Paula Cadima
The study aims to improve walkability, prolonging the distances that can be travelled by pedestrians at different times of the year. Design strategies were investigated through field studies and computational simulation with case studies for the urban communities of Greens and Jumeirah Lakes Towers in Dubai.
Crosswise: 4 Conversations
Introduction to the event by Alvaro
10.15 – 11.50 
Dissolving Boundaries
Tatjana Crossley, Elena Palacios, Sofia Krimizi
The overarching theme of this panel is ‘boundaries’, looking at this through the lens of the psychological,
the physical and the representational. Tatjana Crossley will be discussing the boundary of the body image,
looking largely at the psychological aspect of body image formation and evolution (as it relates to the
subjective and sensory experience of space and virtual space). Elena Palacios will be considering the space of
the artist studio as an inhabited boundary that exists between and merges the space of the home and the
public. And Sofia Krimizi will be examining the boundaries imposed by and generated through education
in the context of the architecture school, specifically looking into the departure from the building as a
boundary that separates the act of learning from the objects that architects are learning from.
11.50 – 13.20 
Spaces of Hybridity
Kanyaphorn Kaewprasert, Kornkamon Kaewprasert, and Damnoen Techamai
This panel will discuss the ideas of hybridity in two phenomena. Damnoen Techamai will be
using the term to explain wedding ceremonies in the current culture condition of Thailand through
wedding gowns. The productions of objects and services seem to refer to traditions in Thailand but are
basically an invented tradition. Secondly, the notion of hybridity will be discussed in traditional questions
in social science of the relationship between things which are both natural and cultural. Kornkamon
Kaewprasert will be discussing the idea of wood symbolising wood by giving the distinction of the object,
tree , and the substance, wood , which is overlaid by the distinction of culture and nature. Kanyaphorn
Kaewprasert will be examining the forest, a paradoxical object, by laying out its terms from natural to
cultural understandings, in particular, a forest in its impermeable, pure, stage to the forest in fairytales.
13.20 – 14.30 lunch
14.30 – 15.45 
Imaginary Ideals
Andrea Goh and Naina Gupta
The panel will discuss two different examples of utopian ideas. Both discussions will show the
complications where imaginary narratives affect the spatial conditions and architectural practices, effecting
the very forms of life of its people. The first presentation discusses the policies on exhumations and burials
in Singapore and reflects on the distinct spatial technologies the Singaporean state has utilised to tackle the
issues of land scarcity while at the same time, trying to create a sense of rootedness in its citizens. The
second presentation, focusing on the international zone in The Hague, argues that the deliberate projection
of neutrality – understood by its ease of integration in to the everyday, its pure functional rhetoric and lack
of any overt representation of power – is the inevitable architectural language of international
organisations, is rooted in modernism and is closely aligned with its inherent paradoxical political stance.
15.50 – 18.00 
The Politics of Planning: Conditions, Contradictions, Critiques
Ricardo Ruivo, Will Orr, Eleni Axioti, Samaneh Moafi
The panel will discuss contemporary questions surrounding the social and political character of
architectural and urban planning. In particular, attention will be paid to the historical connection between
planning, social democracy, and the welfare state, which today takes on a particular significance. The panel
will address contemporary critical perceptions of historical instances of planning, with focus on the
limitations of those critiques. The speakers will suggest different approaches to the notion of planning – a
notion which tends to condense a number of ambiguous institutional and political associations within
architectural discourse.
Constance Lau, Doreen Bernath, Jon Goodbun, Maria S. Giudici, Teresa Stoppani, Mark Campbell (tbc), Mark
Cousins, Mark Morris (tbc), Melissa Moore
* Events organized by Naina Gupta and Alvaro Velasco Perez; posters designed and produced by Kanyaphorn Kaewprasert, Kornkamon Kaewprasert

Elena Palacios Carral

Elena graduated from Diploma at The Architectural Association School of Architecture in 2012. In 2015 she completed The MA in History and Critical Thinking at the same school where she is currently enrolled as a PhD Candidate. She has worked as an Architectural Designer in Mexico City and the UK, and as an architectural researcher at Forensic Architecture. Elena has been a visiting critic at various UK Universities, taught first-year design studio at The University of Hertfordshire in 2017-2018 and currently, she is an Associate Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University where she is co-leading DS7 on the MArchD course since 2018.
Impression of Hubert Robert’s studio at the Louvre based on one of his paintings. Drawing by Elena Palacios, 2019

MA HCT & PhD History and Language Debate Series

Marina Lathouri and Guest Speakers

Debate 3

Forays in Spacing: Nature, Technics, Trace

Guest speaker: Georgios Tsagdis

Friday 23 February | 4:00pm | HCT Room

Half a century after the three-fold announcement of the logic of the trace in Derrida’s Of Grammatology, Voice and Phenomenon and Writing and Difference the constructive potential of deconstruction continues to grow. Authors as diverse as Bernard Stiegler and Judith Bulter continue to explore the logic of the trace (supplementarity, pharmacology, spectrality and so on) in socio-political, aesthetic, technological and architectural spaces. The reach of this spectrum is granted by the originary articulation of the trace: from its inception writing, which is nothing but the tracing of the trace, is constituted precisely as spacing: the becoming-space of time and the becoming-time of space.

In this seminar we will explore the structure, function and effects of spacing in the interrelation of nature and technics, termed here technophysics. Thinking through Heidegger, Derrida and Stiegler, we will depart from historical theoretical constructions of space to explore trace-topologies as well as the effects produced by different articulations of the relation of the who (subject, Dasein, human) and the how (nature, technics). In this exploration, all tropes of technē, from industrial production to literature assume a direct relevance to the future of the technological apparatus as the latter is traced back to the heart of nature. We finally examine the implications of the technophysical always already for places of dwelling, travelling and production, at a moment when an unprecedented transformation announces itself.A discussion of false or contradictory arguments among proponents of the Modern Movement and their critics


Tsagdis, Georgios, Dispositions: the Technophysical Apparatus, in: Azimuth, Issue 10, 2017 (forthcoming)

Ross, Daniel, A Summary of Bernard Stiegler, Technics and Time, 1: The Fault of Epimetheus

Tsagdis, Georgios, The Manual: Heidegger and Fundamental Oto-cheiro-logy I

Georgios Tsagdis is Fellow at the Westminster Law & Theory Lab. He has taught at the University of Greenwich, Surrey, UCL as well at the London School of Philosophy and other institutions. His work operates across theoretical and disciplinary intersections drawing on 20th Century, Contemporary and Ancient Greek Philosophy. His Archeology of Nothing is revised for publication, while his current project examines the function of the negative in the ontology of matter from Plato to New Materialisms. In other recent research, he explores various themes in the historic encounters of philosophy and nature, from the figure of the animal in the Platonic corpus to post-humanism and parasitism. He has written on the question of love with reference to theological, political and feminist discourses. His essays have been published in various book collections and international journals, among which Parallax and Philosophy Today. Since 2014 he has been organizing the Seminar of Neoplatonic Studies, a London intercollegiate study and research group, hosted at the Warburg Institute.


MA HCT & PhD History and Language Debate Series

Marina Lathouri and Guest Speakers

Debate 2

Arguments in bad faith; is truth dead?

Guest speaker: Tim Benton

Friday 16 February | 11:00am | 33 FFB

A discussion of false or contradictory arguments among proponents of the Modern Movement and their critics


Perelman, Chaïm. The Realm of Rhetoric.  Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982.

Benton, Tim. The Rhetoric of Modernism : Le Corbusier as a Lecturer.  Boston, MA: Birkhaeuser, 2009

Benton, Tim. “E-1027 and the Drôle De Guerre.” AA files 74 (June 2017): 123-54

Colomina, Beatriz. “Battle Lines: E.1027.” In The Architect : Reconstructing Her Practice., edited by Francesca. Hughes, 3-24. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1996

Birksted, Jan. Le Corbusier and the Occult.  Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2009

Tim Benton is Professor of Art History (Emeritus) at the Open University, England and has served as Visiting Professor in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, New York (2007) and at the Bard Graduate Center (2003). He is a noted scholar of the works of Le Corbusier but has also worked on Italian architecture in the 1930s and on Art Deco. He was elected to the Conseil d’Administration of the Fondation Le Corbusier from 2008 to 2015. Professor Benton has co-curated several major exhibitions including Art and Power (Hayward Gallery,1995), Art Deco 1910-1939 (V&A, 2003), Modernism Designing a New World 1918-1939 (V&A, 2006) Modern Taste Art Deco in Paris 1910-1935 (Madrid, 2015) Recent publications include The Rhetoric of Modernism; Le Corbusier as lecturer, (Basel, 2009) Lc Foto : Le Corbusier : Secret Photographer (Zürich, 2013). More recently, he has been working with the Association Cap Moderne on the restoration of the villa E-1027, Le Corbusier’s cabanon and the Étoile de mer and Unités de camping at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, publishing a book Le Corbusier peintre à Cap Martin (Paris 2015), which was awarded the Prix du Livre de la Méditérrannée.

The image selected is the copyright of Eileen Gray Archives