MA HCT & PhD History and Language Debate Series

Marina Lathouri and Guest Speakers

Debate 1

Ex Libris: Novel Architecture

Guest speaker: Mark Morris

Friday 2 February | 11:30am | HCT Room

This talk examines the ways in which architecture is treated in fiction, specifically its role in the novel where descriptions of the built environment exceed the function of providing a setting. We will look at a range of literary genres, from the Gothic to Romance to Crime to Sci-Fi. How architecture features in a plot, is used as a foreshadowing element or surrogate character will be reviewed. A key consideration will be language’s permissiveness and expansiveness in regard to architecture, the ability one has to economically speculate on architecture through text. We will conclude by turning our attention to the figure of the architect in select titles.


Mark Morris is Head of Teaching at the AA and an HTS lecturer. He completed his MArch at Ohio State University where he received the AIA Henry Adams medal, and took his PhD at the London Consortium supported by the RIBA Research Trust. His research focuses on questions of visual representation in the context of the history of architectural education, architecture in fiction, and the preservation of scale models. Mark previously taught architectural theory and design at Cornell University where he served as Director of Graduate Studies and Director of Exhibitions. He is the author of two books: Models: Architecture and the Miniature and Automatic Architecture.

The image used has been selected from the article titled ‘Pemberley, Manderley and Howards End: the real buildings behind fictional houses’ published on 29 July 2017 in The Guardian (link:


What is PhD by Design? Symposium

Date: Jan 26, 2018
Place: 36 Bedford Square, Lecture Hall.

In a variety of fields, doctoral research conventionally culminates in the format of a text-based dissertation. Within the architectural discourse, a variety of institutions have started to acknowledge the relevance of integrating non-written components into doctoral dissertations in architectural design. A new kind of doctoral program is being developed, often coined as ‘PhD by Design’, engaging with design discourse as both contribution as well as technique. Within the Architectural Association, doctoral students can pursue their research either through ‘the traditional route of the written dissertation or combine writing with design research for the studio-based PhD in architectural design’ (AA Prospectus). However, there is presently a lack of consensus within the Architectural Association regarding what a ‘PhD by Design’ means. The convoluted understanding of the non-written component necessitates an open conversation between doctoral supervisors and students. How can one find common ground in comparing different approaches to a ‘PhD by Design’?

Developing their individual research proposals according to their individual notion of what a PhD by Design entails, the invited speakers will respond to the following brief: ‘An ever-widening range of political, economic, or ecological causes for displacement have forced humankind to rethink the notion of social integration and permanence in the built environment. In any way imaginable, the research proposal shall frame and deal with the problematic and relevance of the relation between the built environment and different the protagonists of displacement; commuters, expats, migrants and refugees.’

The Symposium will feature doctoral supervisors Paula Cadima, Mark Cousins, Maria Shéhérazade Giudici, Marina Lathouri, Michael Weinstock, and Simos Yannas. In response to a given topic, doctoral supervisors are asked to present individual research proposals comprising written and non-written components.Thus, the event format serves as a comparative overview of different approaches to the notion of PhD by Design.

Date: Jan 26, 2018
Place: 36 Bedford Square, Lecture Hall

HCT/PhD joint seminar on History

On Friday 1st of December at 10:00am, seven PhD students will be presenting to the MA History and Critical Thinking students aspects of the work of seven historians, or better, seven modes of approaching and writing history. The emphasis will be put on the ways in which these have been significant in their own doctoral research, construction of evidence and of the main set of questions. The joint session will take place in the HCT room (4 Morwell street, 1st Floor).

This day will also be a good introduction to the joint seminar PhD/HCT Open Debates on the broader theme of History and Language which will start in Term 2 on Friday morning. More detailed brief along with dates and names of visiting speakers will follow.

Marina Lathouri: Dis-locutions, Architecture and the Political

PhD Debates

Marina Lathouri with visiting speakers / Term 2


The Debates, a joint MA History and Critical Thinking and PhD seminar, provide a venue for exchange of ideas and arguments. External speakers are invited every week, to position multiple voices and make possible a process of thinking in common, by definition a pedagogical practice different from the seminar or the lecture. The sessions are open to other students who wish to participate in the discussions.

New technologies and modes of design, and different forms of production have prompted elaborate arguments on economic policies, organisational models, environmental strategies and sustainable development patterns. There seems to be, however, a lack of reflection on the fundamental question of architecture as a composite form of knowledge with specific traits, and a distinct set of practices, yet in difficult connections with cultural economies and material configurations. Processes involved in the constitution of these multiple territories – professional, disciplinary, cultural and legal – and the negotiation of frontiers – conceptual, practical and technical – are proposed here essentially as a dispute over their proper locus.

Is it possible to proceed through a critical body of architectural references, existing or to be constituted, in order to engage existing material organisations and their institutional frameworks? Is it possible that the various regimes of the architectural project might still enable us to rethink conceptions of space, conflicts of appropriation and norms of use nearing the juridical delimitations of public and private domains? These among other questions will be discussed from different standpoints, with the visiting speakers as well as tutors and students from within and outside the school.

The series will conclude with presentation and discussion of students’ on-going research and work.



Michael Weinstock: The Scientific Method and Design Science

16-18 October 2.00pm EmTech Studio

The Scientific Method is an evolving set of procedures based on systematic observations and measurements, the formulation of ideas (hypotheses) and predictions from those observations that are tested by experiment, the subsequent modification of the hypotheses and further experimentation until there is no distance between the hypothesis, prediction and observed results of the experiment.

Design Research is a unique class of inquiry that may include some combination from the larger set of principles of form and behaviour, integrated knowledge from the natural or cultural sciences, a specified degree of mutability such as a relational model capable of adaptation to differing circumstances or environments, testable propositions and principles of implementation, and an expository design (conceptual, physical or computationally simulated) to be used for testing and evaluation.

Seminar presentations and discussions recommended for PhD and Graduate students, and are open to all students.

There are 6 seminars in the series, 4 in the first term and 2 in the second term.


  1. The Scientific Method and Design Science

Hypothesis, Theory, Law, Model, Evidence (experimental/empirical),Quantitive and Qualitative and Mixed methods, Reasoning(logic and styles of arguments) – Inductive,Deductive and Adductive

  1. Anatomy of a Literary Review for a Paper, Dissertation and Thesis in the Sciences
  2. History of Design Science
  3. A Design Science research projects (PhD level) – anatomy, methods and models


Next term 5 and 6. Invited guests to present a funded (design science) and completed research project and an exegesis of its documentation.


Dr. Michael Weinstock, RIBA, FRSA

Director Research and Development

Director Emergent Technologies and Design

Pier Vittorio Aureli, Maria S. Giudici: A Critical History of Domestic Architecture

Architectural Association, London

PhD Program ‘City/Architecture’

Fall Semester 2017


The seminar will focus on a critical history of domestic architecture from its origins to the present.

Why we live in houses? Why has this become the predominant way of living? Why has the history of housing always been a history of crisis? Why has domestic space always been a tyrannical place? Why has domestic space always been violent? Why is the real ‘state of exception’ the one that takes place within domestic space? Why does barbarism begins at home? Why within domestic space are we always in debt with something or someone? Why we will never been safe within our homes? The seminar will attempt to answer these questions.

The house as a specific mode of dwelling originates in part with a desire for stability. As many anthropologists have noted, if there is a fundamental character of the human being, it is his constant feeling of not being at home. For this reason, we can argue that the invention of the house as an architectural apparatus is motivated not only by the need for protection from a hostile territory but also by a desire to settle and to give ritual form to life. A ritual is a set of actions performed according to a prescribed order. Its function is to provide an orientation and continuity on which patterns of behavior can be established and preserved. If for early nomadic societies to live meant to confront extreme environmental conditions, the house offered a way to crystallize a routine against the chronic unpredictability of existence. For this reason, the first forms of housing were also temples where humans and gods were supposed to live together. The ritualization of life fused material existence and spiritual transcendence within the same place, making early forms of domestic space a fixed point within the open-ended space of the natural environment. Once the house became a fixed point, it also became a governmental space that defined specific gender and social roles. This practice demonstrated a desire for occupational rights and the reproduction of social relationships across generations.

As stable form the house inevitably becomes a way to occupy and claim ownership of a place, as well as a space for the care of its members. It is from these premises that the house became oikos and domus.  Both words do not refers to house as building but as form of association. The house as oikos is the place of oikonomia, or household management. According to Aristotle the household is made of three kinds of relationships: the despotic relationship between master and slave, the conjugal relationship between husband and wife, and the parental relationship between parent and child. For Aristotle, the defining relationship of the oikos is the despotic relationship between master and slave, wherein the slave’s purpose is to answer the master’s command.  What the oikos manages is the reproduction of its members by ensuring the laboring necessary laboring activities necessary to the maintenance of the family: cooking, cleaning, raising kids etc. The seminal paradox of the oikos is that although it is assumed a non-political space, clearly distinct from the political space of the polis, the polis can only exist only through the laboring of the oikos. This paradox is acknowledged by Aristotle himself who devoted the first two book of his Politics to the functioning of the oikos. Reproduction and the maintenance of biological life is thus the foundation of political life, and yet since antiquity domestic labor been hidden and downgraded in the silent and enclosed space of the oikos, excluded from the public visibility of political life.  It is precisely the artificial separation between reproduction and politics that is at the origin of the modern distinction of public and private space. With the expulsion of the workspace from the modern dwelling, the latter is rendered as the space of ‘intimate relationships’ the temple of ‘privacy’ and thus as the exclusive domain of the family. In this way reproduction is made a ‘private’ unwaged activity clearly distinct from remunerated work and politics. This phenomenology of the household had a tremendous impact on the history of domestic space, which has been seldom studied systematically in terms of architecture. Following the feminist critique of the household, in the last decade there has been a renewed interest towards the relationship between issues of gender and the architecture of domestic space. Yet this interest has often taken the form of very specific case studies and almost never of a radical reconsideration of what is the very ontological foundation of the idea of home. With this seminar we intend to open a space of radical critique of the idea of domestic space in the form of a history of its making from ancient to contemporary times.


1st session / September 27

10 am

The housing and the Ritualization of Life


2nd session / October 11

10 am

The house as Governmental apparatus


3rd session / October 18

2.30 pm

The Oikos


4th session / October 25

2.30 pm

The Domus


5th session / November 1

10 am

The Invention of the Room


6th session / November 8

2.30 pm

Housing and Primitive Accumulation


7th session / November 15

2.30 pm

The Architecture of Well-Tempered Austerity: The Origin of Workers’ Houses


8th session / November 22

2.30 pm

Domestic Labor and the Contemporary House


November 29, 10 am; Tutorials and rehearsals

December 6, 10 am: Final Event with Presentations with PhD students


Evening ‘Guest’ Seminars

25 October, 6.30 pm; Adrian Lahoud

8 November, 6.30 pm; Eric Rogers

Date TBC; Andreas Rumpfhuber


ALL ROOMS TBC – will be communicated as soon as we have confirmation.

Mark Cousins: PhD Research Methods

This course is concerned to propose a sequence of tasks which deal very concretely with the practicalities of research. It is not a theoretical account of research but a detailed account of the issues that need to be considered and incorporated into the domestic engine of the work.

  1. The overall characterisation of PhD work as a process of editing.
  2. The function of an outline throughout the PhD.
  3. The creation of different files and their relation to research notes.
  4. The housework of the PhD.
  5. The divisions of the text – the relation of outline to chapters and from chapters to paragraph and from paragraph to sentence.
  6. The notion of converting the ‘academic’ into the argument, what we will call the subjective.
  7. The footnote, the bibliography, the appendix and images.
  8. The writing of the text.

The sessions will take place Fridays at 11.00am starting on 6 October in the PhD Studio.

PhD Programme Introduction for 2017-18 academic year

The staff of the PhD Programme at the Architectural Associations are pleased to invite you to attend the introduction presentation for of the programme on Wednesday 27 September at 12.00 in the Lecture Hall (36 Bedford Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3ES).

Furthermore, an induction for new and continuing PhD students will take place on Friday 29 September at 2.00pm in the PhD Studio at the Architectural Association.

Damnoen Techamai

Damnoen is a PhD candidate and a lecturer. In 2009 he received his MA from the Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University (History and Theory unit). During his years of graduate study, he worked as a research assistant at the historical map laboratory where the studies focused on historical and morphological inquiries, he was a teaching assistant in architectural psychology courses at the same faculty and he has spent his time working as an architect and graphic designer on various projects in Chiangmai and Bangkok. Since 2012 he has been conducting research and teaching at the Faculty of Architecture, Chiang Mai University before he applied to study for the PhD in research programme at the AA in 2016. His research interests centring around the area of place and space, spaces of hybridity, and cultural anthropology.