Session B Archive

Young Bauhaus Research Colloquium



Workshop Session B


Philippe Zourgane
AMP Laboratory Paris,ENSA Paris la Vilette, ENSA Paris Val de Seine

Pacification through Modern Architecture. De Gaulle’s Constantine Plan for Algeria (1954-62).

In this paper I will present visual archives of photos and films produced for information and propaganda by the French army during the Algerian war, including personal narratives, films and photos of soldiers that have only recently been collected. These collections will present the instrumentalisation of modern architecture by the colonial military-civil administration. The Constantine Plan was an important program implemented by General De Gaulle in 1959 for the development of Algeria, that has been largely conceived as an important piece in the pacification process. In my paper I will critically assess this plan that has remained a key program in architectural planning, both in Algeria and to some degree in France.
This research is expanding “Programming the Landscape”, a research that discusses the role of landscape in colonial pacification efforts, giving specific attention to French landscape management in the colonisation of Algeria.

Philippe Zourgane is an architect, an assistant professor of theory and practice of architecture in Paris (ENSA Paris Val de Seine) and a researcher in the Architecture Milieu Paysage CNRS laboratory in Paris. He is co-directing the DPEA postgraduate master programme for AMP laboratory in ENSA Paris La Villette. In 2013 Philippe completed his PhD in the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmith College, University of London. He studied architecture in ENSA Paris Versailles where he optained his diploma. He has recently also contributed his essay ‘Programming the Landscape. Colonial Pacification through Landscape Management’ to the book ‘Pacification’ published by Red Quill Books in 2016. He is also working on his Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches with Didier Fassin in the EHESS in Paris, about vegetation as a political agent. Since 1998 Philippe is managing the architecture firm RozO architecture landscape environment. He developed and realised architectural and landscape projects in different countries, including France, Reunion Island, Senegal and Italy.

Ricardo Costa Agarez
KU Leuven

Byways of Modernism in (Post)Colonial Transition: From Weimar to Portugal via Southern Africa.

The migration of avant-garde architecture follows both well-mapped-out routes and little-known byways that help turn our built environment into a rich tapestry of artefacts in which the culture of architecture is a process, with its actors and crystallizations (buildings) not an end result; rather, it is a fluid construct feeding on social, intellectual, artistic, political and technological sources that disregards national boundaries and flattens high-low hierarchies. Through migration (of people, forms and concepts) across geographical and knowledge spheres, built objects reveal their extra-material nature, as nodes in networks of relations and exchanges.
This paper investigates the byways that, in the middle decades of the last century, connected Portuguese designers with central European references of modern architecture as these were interpreted and conveyed by developments in architectural education and practice in southern Africa. A small house in the Algarve, south Portugal, shows its uncelebrated but influential designer’s hands-on appropriation of key models – Gropius’ Bauhaus, importantly – as being shaped by South African architect Rex Martienssen’s work, particularly in his use of abstract painting principles in architectural composition. Martienssen’s impact in Portugal-related architectural cultures can also be seen in the early work of Amâncio (Pancho) Guedes, Wits student and faculty for then-colonial Maputo, Mozambique. Examined in parallel in their metropolitan, colonial and post-colonial contexts, the designs and writings of these three architects offer the opportunity to discuss, through specific cases, the importance of circulation and migration processes – many invisible, some unlikely – for our understanding of the (global) modernist project of the past, and of architecture culture at large, today.

Ricardo Costa Agarez is an architect (Dip. 1996) and architectural historian (MPhil 2004, PhD 2013, RIBA President’s Award for Research), specialising in the history and theory of nineteenth- and twentieth-century cities and buildings, having written on national and regional identities, dissemination and circulation phenomena, housing and public architecture, and the architectural culture in bureaucracy. He is interested in the interaction between formal and informal practices and in the boundaries and exchanges between schooled practitioners and non-professional actors; in the history of everyday architecture and of objects that escape conventional categorisation; and in the contamination processes between “high” and “low” cultural spheres, seen in their broad social context. The Giles Worsley Fellow of the British School at Rome (British Academy) in 2014, he was FWO Pegasus Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at Ghent University in 2015. His latest book, Algarve Building: Modernism, Regionalism and Architecture in the South of Portugal, 1925–1965 (Routledge, 2016), stems from his PhD research at The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. Dr. Agarez is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Department of Architecture.

Paulo Moreira
London Metropolitan University

Hybrid Neighbourhoods: The Reciprocity between Chicala and Luanda, Angola.

Chicala is an informal neighbourhood in the centre of Luanda, Angola. The site began to change rapidly and profoundly as Angola gained independence from Portugal, and civil war broke out (1975–2002). Thousands of internally displaced people moved across the country in search of security and prosperity in the capital. Many settled in Chicala, and the neighbourhood became representative of the country’s ethnic and cultural diversity.
Since 2002, in the context of the neoliberal ambitions that followed the end of a long-lasting conflict, Chicala became subject to multiple pressures. The neighbourhood is situated at the confluence of several governmental and privately funded urban renewal projects. It is now experiencing a gradual process of disappearance and replacement by high standard financial, residential and leisure districts. With this irreversible process of transformation under way, the residents are vulnerable to evictions with little right to compensation.
This paper emerged from dissatisfaction with the results of the strategy of clearing this entire neighbourhood without a fair negotiation, and relocating its inhabitants to peripheral resettlement colonies. As the eviction process continued, it became urgent to record and understand Chicala before it was destroyed. The paper does not present simply a study of informal urbanism. It seeks for a broader understanding of cities as hybrid territories, conceived of spatial, political and social networks. The paper highlights the research “devices” that exemplify how architects and urban practitioners can contribute to consolidate “collective memory” of a place.

Paulo Moreira is a Portuguese architect and researcher based in Porto, Portugal. He is a PhD candidate at The Cass School of Architecture, London Metropolitan University. Moreira is the co-coordinator of The Chicala Observatory, a research cluster based at the Department of Architecture, Agostinho Neto University (Angola). The project has been widely published and displayed in major cultural institutions, including the Vitra Design Museum (Weil am Rhein, 2015), the Guggenheim Museum (Bilbao, 2015–2016), the CCCB – Centre of Contemporary Culture (Barcelona, 2016), the TA Museum of Art (Tel Aviv, 2016) and Palazzo Mora, as part of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia. Paulo Moreira has been awarded the Tavora Prize (Ordem dos Arquitectos, 2012); the Prize for Social Entrepreneurship (The Cass, 2009); and the Noel Hill Travel Award (American Institute of Architects – UK Chapter, 2009), among other honours and distinctions.

Daniel Fernández Pascual
Goldsmiths, University of London

Coastal Resolution: Profit Margins between Building Land and Common Waters in Spain.

On 4 April 2006, a municipal council was dissolved for the first time in the democratic history of Spain. In the Mediterranean town of Marbella, the Court of Justice unveiled a network of politicians turned real estate investors who had been using their legitimate power to adapt the limit between building land and the coastal commons to their own interests. Relying on diverse processes of reclassification of both land and water, architecture became a widespread tool to circulate capital from dubious origins. The real estate boom on the Spanish Mediterranean shores, and the crisis that followed, can be analysed through the failure in the making of the shoreline of the entire country. The 1988 Spanish Law of the Coast and subsequent reforms have not protected nature, as initially promised. Instead, they largely instrumentalized scientific reports to invent a shoreline anew while generating abundant profit margins. According to the Law of the Coast, the shore of the sea extends to the highest tide in history. However, this has led to a number of ambiguous situations embedded in the definition of spatial margins and real estate profit margins. Every twist of the shoreline explains not where tides are active, but rather where politics fail to make an ethical decision. Contextualized in a global context of “habitat banking”, this paper will critically analyse the role of protecting and unprotecting plant and animal species to understand their spatial agency in creating “natural capital” for the built environment.

Daniel Fernández Pascual is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, University of London. He holds a MArch from ETSA Madrid, and MSc Urban Design from TU Berlin and Tongji University Shanghai. His research focuses on ambiguity of the law, real estate speculation, demarcation of spatial boundaries, architecture of financialization and the housing crisis. In 2013, he organized a house lottery to explore alternative tactics to circumvent debt. He also co-founded the Modelling Kivalina Working Group to investigate the changing shoreline and the phenomenon of climate refugees in Alaska, supported by The World Justice Fund 2013. He co-runs Cooking Sections, an independent critical spatial practice that investigates relationships between territory, power structures, land value and food networks through the overlapping boundaries between visual arts, architecture and geopolitics. Cooking Sections was part of the exhibition at the US Pavilion, 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale and are UK-residents of The Politics of Food, Delfina Foundation London. Cooking Sections has led student workshops at the AA, RCA, Goldsmiths, the Bartlett, EPS Alicante and UTS Sydney.

Helene Kazan
Goldsmiths, University of London

The Object of Risk: Challenges of the Human Right to Shelter.

Synonymous with the volatile nature of the sea, risk, and therefore insurance, was conceived on the shifting strata where sea meets land, as a colonial apparatus for controlling the precarious nature of trading valuable human and non-human commodities across turbulent waters. Taking the colonial conception of risk as its starting point, this study argues that as a mechanism of distribution it was designed to benefit those who were seen as being advanced enough to employ its technological strategies, instigating from the outset an unequal distribution, through a colonial understanding of value in relation to human life and resource commodities. Under these terms, this thesis will observe risk from the Lebanese context, in order to reveal how in the colonial era risk’s unequal distribution came to embed a condition of precarity across Lebanon’s geopolitical setting.
This research will follow three key fields of risk analysis, as understood from the Lebanese perspective: first and foremost in relation to human conflict; second, in observation of financial risk assessment; and finally, risk in association with the effects of climate change. This study will be focused through a series of architectural typologies of domestic space, the materiality of which will reflect its own mode of transition as it is constructed in the present, through the imagination of a certain future. In the example of these cases-studies the transformative force is that of three potentialities: destruction, development and displacement. As a pragmatic attempt to consider these conditions alongside one another, this research intends to identify their complex collective nature, as an entangled network of power and force relations.

Helene Kazan is a spatial practitioner, writer and current CHASE-funded PhD candidate at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, University of London. Recent work includes: commissioned online project “Engineering Shelter” for Ibraaz, and “The Right to Shelter”, a conversation between Kazan and Amal Khalaf, Commissioning Editor for Ibraaz (2015). Recent publications include “Risk (De)constructed: Through the Future Image of Home” in the 24th Edition of Cambridge University’s Architecture Journal, on the “Future Domestic” (2015). Kazan has given public lectures on “(De)constructing Risk: A Domestic Image of the Future” at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, the Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, Moscow and for “Urban Encounters: Movements/Mobilities/Migration” at Tate Britain. Her project “A Cartography of Risk” was exhibited as part of “Forensis” at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) in Berlin, and contributed to the book Forensis: The Architecture of Public Truth (Sternberg, 2014). Kazan formed part of the research group “Modelling Kivalina”, which was awarded the World Justice Opportunity fund in 2013. Further exhibitions include “Exposure” at the Beirut Art Center (2013), Lebanon and documenta(13), Kassel (2012).

Peter Volgger
Innsbruck University

Colonial Modernities and Postcolonial Experiences in Asmara/Eritrea.

This paper summarises the results of a research project on Italian colonial architecture conducted in Asmara. The city centre hosts an exceptional range of architectural styles, including a number of iconic buildings. The current project to nominate Asmara for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List is the latest in a series of initiatives. The cultural identity and collective memory of contemporary Asmara is complex, fascinating and at times for foreigners counterintuitive. One might find it difficult to reconcile the renewed effort for preservation of its architecture with the nefarious colonial associations and the role which colonial nostalgia plays in contemporary Eritrea. The second part analyses another exclusive term: that of the “bella Asmara” image as an illusory location of authenticity, the impossibility of a romantic return, namely, to the recovery of an authentic modernity through aesthetisation. Re-imagining the modernity and future of the postcolonial capital necessitates the mediation. As examples for such “trial balloons” I’d like to give a short insight in Scego’s Roma negata, Arnone’s Asmara Bars and Treiber’s exploration of the Piccola Roma in Eritrean refugee camps in Sudan.

Peter Volgger studied Philosophy, Architecture and Art History in Innsbruck. Since 2003, he has worked as a freelance architect. He started his academic career in 2009 with his Phd on migration and trans-urban phenomena. His research broadly addresses intersections between culture, philosophy and design in the built environemnt. He joined recently the Institut für Gestaltung at Innsbruck University as an Assistant Professor and the Institute for Raumplanung in Liechtenstein as a Guest Professor. He was invited to the renowned “Archtheo-Conference” in Istanbul and the Calandra Institute in New York to present his research work. Peter Volgger is independently and collectively working with the “Asmara-Arbate Group” on the preparation and developing of the UNESCO – World Heritage in Asmara/Eritrea. He is cofounder and member of the “Research Centre on Migration and Globalisation” in Innsbruck.


Nora Akawi is an architect based between Amman and New York. In 2012, she joined Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) as curator of Studio-X Amman, a regional platform for programming and research in architecture run by Columbia GSAPP and the Columbia Global Centers | Amman. At Studio-X Amman, she leads the conceptualization and implementation of public programmes and research initiatives on architecture in the Arab Mashreq by curating conferences, workshops, publications, screenings, lectures and other collective forms of production in partnership with researchers or institutions in the region. Since 2014, she has been teaching a graduate seminar course focused on borderlands, migration, citizenship and human rights at GSAPP.
She studied architecture at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem (B.Arch 2009). In 2011, she received her MS in Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices in Architecture from Columbia GSAPP (MS.CCCP 2011), where she received the CCCP Thesis Award. Her thesis investigates the role of the archive in the formation of alternative political and spatial imaginaries in Palestine.
She participates as Visiting Lecturer at Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Art, in the Critical Habitats post-graduate programme, and has served as a critic in architecture programmes at Columbia GSAPP, Barnard College, PennDesign, Harvard GSD, Georgia Tech, the Applied Science University in Amman and GJU’s SABE, among others. Publications include the book Architecture and Representation: The Arab City (co-edited by Amale Andraos, Nora Akawi and Caitlin Blanchfield, Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, 2016) and “Jerusalem: Dismantling Phantasmagorias, Constructing Imaginaries” in The Funambulist: Militarized Cities (edited by Leopold Lambert, 2015).

Tom Ullrich is a research assistant at the Internationales Kolleg für Kulturtechnikforschung und Medienphilosophie (IKKM) at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar and an editorial assistant of the Zeitschrift für Medien- und Kulturforschung (ZMK). He studied Media Studies, Photography and Film Studies in Weimar, Lyon and Paris.
In his dissertation, he deals with insurgent barricades as socio-technical artefacts and infrastructures of revolutionary Paris (1830-71). His research interests include media theory and cultural techniques, history of photography, videographic film and moving image studies, Walter Benjamin’s urban and visual investigations of modernity, and media archaeology of revolutionary Paris.
In May 2016, Tom Ullrich took part in the exhibition “La place comme théâtre de la foule révoltée” organised by the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture Marne-la-Vallée and Paris-Malaquais with a large-size image montage on the revolutionary appropriation of street furniture in Paris (1830-1968). For the annual exhibition summaery 2016, he built the documentary installation Barricades in the University Library of the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar.