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Gili Merin is a PhD candidate at the AA. Her research explores the ritual of movement and the fabrication of sacred landscapes, using photography as a tool for architectural research and design.

Gili is an architect, photographer, and journalist, who is currently pursuing a Ph.D. by Design at the Architectural Association. She studied architecture at the UdK Berlin, Waseda University in Tokyo, and the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. In 2016, she graduated with distinction from the postgraduate program for History and Critical Thinking at the Architectural Association and subsequently joined the PhD-by-Design research collective entitled The City as a Project (led by Pier Vittorio Aureli and Maria S. Giudici). Alongside her work at the RCA, she is also a first-year tutor at the Architectural Association and a journalist for Frame Magazine, the Architect’s Journal, and Ha’aretz.

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Gili is a part of the PhD-by-Design research collective The City as a Project at the AA, led by Pier Vittorio Aureli and Maria S. Giudici. Her dissertation Towards Jerusalem: The Architecture of Pilgrimage explores the ritual of sacred travel.

The Architectural Association annual Writing Award, for the MA Thesis Odyssea Palestina: A Travelogue of Travelogues to the Holy Land in Modernity (2016-2017).

Towards Jerusalem: The Architecture of Pilgrimage studies the ritual of sacred travel to the Holy Land. The thesis explores how the mentality of pilgrims and the scenography of pilgrimage has produced particular structures, landscapes, and representations that I refer to as the Architecture of Pilgrimage. Methodologically, the research stands at the intersection of photography and writing. It can be described as a travelogue — where image and text construct not only an argument but also a continuous spatial entity. Thematically, this thesis explores the fabrication of sacred landscapes, the ritual of movement, the politics of heritage, and the role of collective memory within the architecture of the city.

The current focus of the thesis is the proliferation of alternative “Jerusalems” across medieval Europe. These objects, structures, and landscapes replicated a particular spatial and typological logic that was born in Jerusalem in order to appropriate the City’s political charisma and spiritual aura.

Journal articles

Merin, G. (2017) ‘Odyssea Palestina: A Travelogue of Travelogues to the Holy Land in Modernity’,Thresholds No. 46: Scatter. Cambridge: The MIT Press

Merin, G. (2016) ‘Garden of the Forking Paths: Speculating on the Israel-Lebanon Border Anomaly’, This Site Magazine

Merin, G. (2014) ‘Tegart Forts in Palestine: Adopted and Adapted Monuments of Supervision’ Quaderns

Photography commissions

Koolhaas, R. (2018). Elements of Architecture. Taschen

Finkelman, Y. (2018). In Statu Quo: Structures of Negotiation (2018). Berlin:Hatje Cantz

Efrat, Z. (2018). The Object of Zionism: The Architecture of Israel. Leipzig: Spector Books.

Elser, O. (2017). SOS Brutalism: A Global Survey. Zürich: Park Books

Schuldenfrei, R. (2017). Luxury and Modernism: Architecture and the Object in Germany 1900-1933. Princeton: Princeton University Press.


2018 - A Fine Line, Scenarios for Bordering Conditions,  International Architecture Biennial, San Sebastián.

2017 - Far Away-So Close at MAO Ljubljana

2016 - Wohnungsfrage at HKW Berlin

2015 - Fire and Forget at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin

2014 - The Israeli Pavilion at the 14th International Architecture Biennale in Venice

Gili has worked as an architect and researcher at AMO*OMA in Rotterdam and Kuehn Malvezzi in Berlin. She worked as an editor and journalist for ArchDaily in Chile and Mark Magazine in Amsterdam, authored the Wallpaper City Guide for Tel Aviv (Phaidon, 2016) and conducted research and editorial work for OMAs Elements of Architecture (Taschen, 2018) and The Object of Zionism by Zvi Efrat (Spector Books, 2018).

Her articles and photographs have been published in a range of magazines and peer-reviewed journals, amongst them the MIT Press, The Guardian, Mark Magazine, Frame, Domus, Surface, Quaderns, Artsy, Ha'aretz, Uncube, Metropolis, StylePark, Business Insider, The Huffington Post and Detail.