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Institutional Forms & Practices

School of Architecture Research Group

Institutions are often understood to:

  • operate as a system of interrelated constraints designed to legitimise certain forms of behaviour over others (e.g. through systems of punishment and rehabilitation)
  • assign meaning and value to permitted forms of activity (e.g. by offering qualifications that control access to income)
  • or prescribe acceptable forms of political expression (e.g. by providing limited electoral options)

Beyond the meta-institutions such as government, the economy, healthcare or education, are nested sub-institutions, such as religion or sexual identity that, when considered in the abstract, reveal the mechanisms through which institutional resistance is most likely to be realised. Institutions are not static symbols of power but are awarded power through routine interactions and collective complicity.

Researchers within this group are, by implication, working across a range of diverse meta and sub institutions. Examples of their work include: an interrogation of architectural education’s gendered pedagogies through the lens of fourth-wave feminist theory and inter-sectionality theory; architecture and urban form in light of contemporary militant institutional analyses, mental healthcare and changing political regimes; the modern Californian, carceral institution beyond its immediate role of confining, reforming and punishing criminals, and as an agent of normalisation active across both the urban and rural domains; and the intersection between international law and urban development at the neighbourhood scale and the impact upon diasporas situated across jurisdictional divides.

Some of the questions addressed by this research group include: Can inequalities within the educational institution be adequately challenged by pedagogic reform and curricula decalcification? Can a spatial, sociological and anthropological understanding of the built environment contest structural inequalities across territorial contexts? Can architecture mount a direct challenge to the cultural logics, representations, and schemata that characterise institutions and, in doing so, address the inequalities that they seem to instigate or perpetuate?

Research theme convenor: Dr Harriet Harriss

Staff Members

Beth Hughes
Dr David Knight
Dr Jingru Cyan Cheng
Dr Mark Campbell
Dr Platon Issaias
Dr Sabrina Puddu
Dr Sam Jacoby
Valerio Massaro 

MPhil/PhD Students & Supervisors

Beatrice Galilee, 'A Taxonomy of Architecture at The Met'. Supervisors: Dr Harriet Harriss and Dr Maria Guidici

Guillermo Ruiz de Teresa, ‘Remittance Urbanism: On Governing the Spaces for Migrant Labour'. Supervisors: Dr Sam Jacoby and Dr Adrian Lahoud

Kelly Spanou, 'Computational Scenography: An Object-oriented Exhibition Design Language for Design Museums'. Supervisors: Dr Harriet Harriss and Dr Kevin Walker (School of Communication, RCA)

Paul Priest, 'Internationalising the Professional Standards of the Chartered British Architect: Prototyping a Regulatory Device for Ethical Construction'. Supervisors: Dr Harriet Harriss and Dr Adam Kaasa

David Knight, ‘Making Planning Popular: Popular Agency, Online Discourse and English Public Planning’ (completed 2018). Supervisors: Dr Harriet Harriss and Dr Mark Tewdwr-Jones (Newcastle University)

Collaborators & Partners

Yannis Drakoulidis

Dr He Xuefeng (China Rural Governance Research Centre, Wuhan University, China)

Dr Tan Gangyi (Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China)

Dr Tang Yan (Tsinghua University, China)

The Global School, Beijing, China (Beatrice Leanza)

Research Projects

Harriet Harriss, Architecture’s Afterlife (2018–22)

Beth Hughes and Platon Issaias, Islands of Exile. The Case of Leros (2018)

Sam Jacoby, Collective Forms: Neighbourhood Transformations, Spatialised Governmentality and New Communities in China (2018)

Harriet Harriss, Architecture Pedagogies for Professional Advancement, Mobility and Exchange: An EU Consortium Enquiry(2017)

Sam Jacoby, Learning Environments(2017) 

Outputs & Events

Beth Hughes and Platon Issaias, Islands of Exile. The Case of Leros (2018)

Sam Jacoby, Spatialised Governmentality: China and the Global Context (2018)

Publications

Harriet Harriss, Mistresses of the Academy: Women in Architectural Education (forthcoming: Routledge, 2021)

Harriet Harriss, ‘The Architecture of Fifth Wave Feminism', in Built Upon By Design, edited by Pamela Salen, Nicole Kalms, Gene Bawden and Timothy Moore (forthcoming: Monash University, 2020) 

Sam Jacoby, Gangyi Tan and Jingru Cheng, eds., ‘Collective Forms in China: A Contemporary Review’, special issue of Xin Jianzhu/New Architecture, 5 (Oct 2018)

Harriet Harriss and Gem Barton, 'Gendered Tools for Spatial Production", Architecture and Culture, 5.3 (2017), 475–485

Harriet Harriss, James Brown, Ruth Morrow and Janes Soane, A Gendered Profession: The Question of Representation in Place-making (RIBA Publications, 2016) 

Harriet Harriss and Daisy Froud (Eds), Radical Pedagogies: Architectural Education & the British Tradition (RIBA Publications 2015)

CONTACT

+44 (0)20 7590 4281
architecture-research@rca.ac.uk