Prof Albena Yaneva

Chair (Professor Architectural Theory)

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  • MAPPING CONTROVERSIES IN ARCHITECTURE (MArch level; Teaching Assistants:  Ben Blackwell and Demetra Kourri)

The Mapping Controversies course invites the students to face a key feature of architectural practice – its controversial nature. New technologies, exploding budgets, uncertain expertise, contested authorship, innovations in construction, changing demands of clients and communities of users – these are just some of the issues architectural controversies stem from. The course equips the students with a new methodology to study a specific controversy of relevance to their current studio work or dissertation interests. Mapping includes: collecting materials, following, analysing and visualizing the controversy. Drawing on a number of digital tools the students learn in class, they produce timelines of topical debates, actorial maps, trajectories of the changing positions of the protagonists in the debate, interactive diagrams, and websites. The analysis of each case is based on available on-line sources and media reports, as well as academic literature. Mapping controversies is a way to raise awareness of the social outreach of architecture and to prepare designers to better respond to the new political and economic challenges of practice. 

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  • ETHNOGRAPHIES OF PRACTICE (BA3 Elective course,Teaching Assistant:  Brett Mommersteeg)

Ethnography is one of few social research methods adapted to the way architects work. The use of anthropological methods in architecture holds remarkable potential to investigate new research and design questions. In this course, students are introduced to ethnography as an approach that pays attention to the texture of design practices, of urban life, and various situations of inhabitation. 

In the first part of the course, students read recent ethnographic studies (ie on OMA, Norman Foster’s practice, ARUP, etc.) and conduct an ethnographic study of an urban setting or a design practice. The outcome of these studies takes the form of an ethnographic film.

In the second part, drawing from their ethnographic studies, the students propose specific design interventions organised as a series of thought experiments and provocations that challenge conventional ways of design research.

  • I am actively involved in teaching in the research methods seminars for BArch Students at MSA and I am supervising 12 MA dissertations a year