Ana Araujo, PhD

Unit Master, Intermediate 2, AA Undergraduate School

Professional qualifications

Fellow of The Higher Education Academy

Research Interest

My main field of interest is gender studies in its crossover with art, design and architecture. I am also interested in research relating to post colonialism, psychoanalysis and anthropology. Through my work I try to challenge conventional historical and theoretical approaches in order to acknowledge characters, tendencies and ways of understanding or interpreting which have been excluded or overlooked. I try to approach architecture and design from a multidisciplinary perspective interrogating their role in culture and society, locally and globally. My ultimate aim is to try to broaden the scope of architecture and design through a contamination from the theories mentioned above and from other more inclusive fields such as art and fashion.

Biography:

Dr Ana Araujo is an architect, teacher and researcher. She graduated and practiced in Brazil prior to completing a PhD by Architectural Design at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, in 2009. As a practicing architect, Ana has specialised mainly on residential projects. As a researcher, she was the curator and designer of the exhibition ‘Lina & Gio: the last humanists’, held at the AA in 2012, exploring the relationship of the work of Italian architect Gio Ponti and Italo-Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi. She has lectured and published internationally, including The Journal of Architecture and a recent book entitled Poetic Biopolitics: Practices of Relation in Architecture and the Arts (ed. Peg Rawes/IBTauris) . Ana has taught in various architecture schools in Brazil and the UK before starting to work as a unit master at the AA in 2010. Her main interests are on the crossovers between art, architecture, design and gender studies. Ana is currently working on a book on American designer Florence Knoll.

Publications

2016, Ana Araujo and Catalina Mejia Moreno, Lina & Pina, IB Tauris
This is a book chapter in Peg Rawes et al (eds), Poetic Biopolitics: Practices of Relation in Architecture and the Arts, London, IB Tauris, 2016 (pp. 118-133). It compares aspects of the work of Italo-Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi with the work of choreographer Pina Bausch, relying on theories from the fields of gender studies, anthropology and theory of art.

2015, Ana Araujo and Catalina Mejia Moreno, Da Nobis Incantum Quotidianum, Design Exchange Magazine , 12, 1
In this article I talk about my own design work, comparing it to the works of Italian architect Antonino Cardillo and Russian painter Timur D'Vatz. The text takes inspiration from the expression often used by Italian architect Gio Ponti, Da Nobis Incantum Quotidianum (which translates as 'Give us our daily enchantment') to discuss the role of illusion and fantasy in the practices of art and design.

2014, Ana Araujo, Feeling through sight: zooming in, zooming out, The Journal of Architecture, 9, 1
This article analyses Alois Riegl's (1858–1905) notion of an aesthetics of proximity (Nahsicht), to which he associates the dimension of the tactile and the haptic. Opposed to Nahsicht is what Riegl calls the ‘optical-fernsichtig’: an aesthetics of spatial distance that in his view responds more satisfactorily to the essence of architecture. While Riegl's optical dimension relates to linear perspective, evoking a particular model of spatial construction, the haptic, on the other hand, alludes to planarity and to the drawing of profiles and details, promising to engender alternative modes of vision and spatiality. Here I challenge Riegl's proposed correspondence between the ‘optical-fernsichtig’ and the logic of architecture, connecting the later instead with his aesthetics of proximity – as suggested by Walter Benjamin's own reading of Riegl in the text ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ (1936). Drawing from that connection, I argue that some procedures typically associated to the haptic might be productively employed to interrogate and reinvigorate current architectural practice. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13602365.2013.851905

2013, Ana Araujo, Unmasking: a speculation on the meanings of domestic patterns and their cultural bearings, Home Cultures, 10, 1
This article proposes to analyze the meanings of domestic patterns in modern Western culture. It starts with an analysis of the tale The Yellow Wallpaper, written in 1892 by the American novelist and social reformer Charlotte Gilman, where a domestic pattern is associated with hysteric psychological deviation. The text then moves towards an analysis of medical and architectural discourses from the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth century, looking for moments of resonance with the association suggested in Gilman's tale. The medical discourse focuses mainly on the Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, France, a renowned research center for the diagnosis and treatment of hysterical disorders in the late nineteenth century — home to the psychiatric theories of Jean-Martin Charcot and to the psychoanalytic studies of Sigmund Freud. The architectural discourse focuses on the work of Viennese architect Adolf Loos and on the model of the Panopticon developed by British social reformer Jeremy Bentham. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.2752/175174213X13500467495681

2010, Ana Araujo, Repetition, pattern & the domestic: notes on the relationship between pattern and home-making, Textile: Journal of Cloth and Culture, 8, 2
Repetition constitutes the very essence of pattern. Repetition is also the basis of our most ordinary actions. Repetitive gestures are usually so integrated in our lives that we tend to take them for granted. It is only when repetition is excessive or absent that we become aware of its importance to us. Not least because of their everyday properties, pattern and repetition are also closely related to the domain of the domestic. On the one hand, patterned artifacts, such as wallpapers, rugs, latticed curtains, and other fabrics seem to operate naturally as signifiers of an idea of domesticity, denoting privacy, comfort and, eventually, also seclusion and confinement. On the other hand, the repetitive rituals of pattern fabrication bear strong resonance with the traditional routines of household maintenance—cleaning, sorting, laundering, and so on. Not only are both dependent on a logic of continuous reiteration, but they also tend to be considered equally mindless and prosaic, as their processes are often rated inferior in comparison to less repetitive forms of production. In “Repetition, Pattern, and the Domestic” I investigate the foundations and implications of the identification between pattern and the home, drawing on material from historical, mythological, and psychological sources. This investigation aims to show how the repetitive mechanisms of pattern-making integrate the very dynamics of inhabitation, being essentially entangled, if sometimes inconspicuously, with the practice of spatial design. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.2752/175183510X12791896965574

Exhibitions

2012, Ana Araujo and Catalina Mejia Moreno, Lina & Gio: the last humanists
This exhibition explored for the first time the relationship between two seminal figures in twentieth-century design. Lina Bo Bardi (1914-1992), best known for the buildings she designed and built in Brazil (the Glass House, the Art Museum in São Paulo (1957-68), the Sesc Pompeia, amongst others), was a prolific designer, architect, writer and curator, deeply committed to the promotion of the social and cultural potential of architecture. Before adopting Brazil as her home country in the late 1940s, Bo Bardi lived in Milan, where she collaborated with the renowned architect Gio Ponti (1891-1979). Ponti is perhaps better known as the founding editor of the celebrated design magazine Domus. Like Bo Bardi, he was a productive architect, designer, writer and curator, having designed the famous Pirelli Tower in Milan (1950), and collaborated with a number of renowned designers (Piero Fornasetti, Pier Luigi Nervi, amongst others) as well as organizing many editions of the Milan Triennial exhibition of the decorative arts. Historians and critics usually label both Ponti and Bo Bardi either as an eccentric modernists or as visionary promoters of the vernacular or the historical, and they usually rate their work as one-off approaches to design. This has the effect of alienating their contribution from conventional, main stream historiography, reserving for them the place of slightly anomalous figures. The exhibition aimed to challenge this vision, placing Bo Bardi’s work in the tradition of humanism, to which Gio Ponti also claimed to belong. In proposing this different perspective on Ponti’s and Bo Bardi’s work we hoped to help legitimize their concerns about the social and cultural role of architecture as an intrinsic part of the discipline, rather than as problems architects can choose, or choose not, to address.

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THE AA RECEIVES THE POWER TO AWARD ITS OWN DEGREES

The Architectural Association receives Taught Degree Awarding Powers by the Lords of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council.

The Architectural Association (AA), the oldest independent school of architecture in the United Kingdom, is pleased to announce that it has been granted the power to award its own degrees. As of 1 October 2019, the AA has the right to establish new academic programmes and degree awards and is working to create some of the world’s most pioneering courses in architecture to shape and build the future.

Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) give UK higher education institutions the right to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Prospective students worldwide can apply to the AA Foundation Course (Foundation Certificate), Experimental Programme BA(Hons), Diploma Programme (MArch), and nine taught postgraduate programmes encompassing History and Critical Thinking in Architecture (MA), Projective Cities (Taught MPhil) and Sustainable Environmental Design (MSc/MArch), amongst others.

AA Director, Eva Franch said, ‘since our founding in 1847 we have never ceased to create new horizons, institutionally and academically. This is a significant milestone for the AA and demonstrates how we have grown and progressed as an institution that has always valued independence. Receiving TDAP marks a new era for our institution; these are exciting times for the AA. The process has required considerable work from all members of staff and students. I would like to take this opportunity to credit them for this major achievement’.

President of the AA Council, Victoria Thornton added, ‘the TDAP process has recognised our strong governance, academic standards, scholarship and teaching as well as the environment supporting the delivery of taught higher education programmes’.

The School’s application for Taught Degree Awarding Powers was supported by the Architects Registration Board, the Royal Institute of British Architects and The Open University.

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