Dr Katherine Brookfield – Mobility, Mood and Place

Prokalo_Katherine Brookfield_Web

We are very excited to welcome Dr Katherine Brookfield to our final Prokalo of the semester – join us for this seminar, discussion and drinks!

The role of the home in the active and sedentary behaviours of older adults

Tuesday the 26th of May  – Back to our normal location: Minto House Common Room – 5pm followed by drinks


This presentation will relate findings from one aspect of the ongoing, 3-year RCUK-funded research project Mobility, Mood and Place based at the University of Edinburgh and led by Professor Catharine Ward Thompson (http://www.mobilitymoodplace.ac.uk/).

Inactive lifestyles have negative health consequences while time spent sedentary (sitting and lying) is related to morbidity and premature mortality. Older adults often form the most sedentary segment of society with almost 70% of individuals aged 60 years or over spending more than 8.5 hours of their waking day sedentary. Much of this behaviour may be practised at home where this group can spend extended periods. Older adults also present low levels of physical activity. Even household physical activities, low-to-moderate intensity habitual activities performed in and around the home, can be beneficial for this group while they can constitute much of an older person’s total physical activity. Despite this context, the home’s role in the active and sedentary behaviours of the older population appears critically understudied. Drawing on interview and focus group data collected from a diverse sample of older adults, this presentation engages with this issue. Aspects of the home which aid or impede a more active, less sedentary lifestyle are identified. Simple design recommendations, devised to support older people to lead more active lives at home, are presented and the implications for policy considered.


Katherine Brookfield is the Project Manager and a Research Fellow on the 3-year interdisciplinary research project Mobility, Mood and Place (MMP) funded by Research Councils UK. She has held a number of academic research positions and teaching posts and, outside academia, has worked for several major organisations in the public and private sectors. Her research interests include planning and development, participation and citizen activism, wellbeing and quality of life.

 See you there!

The Prokalo Team

Prokalo welcomes Dr Yeoryia Manolopoulou: Director of Research at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, and Founder of AY Architects.

Prokalo_Yeoryia Manolopoulou_Web

Prokalo is very excited to welcome Dr Yeoryia Manolopoulou, Director of Research at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, and Founder of AY Architects to The University of Edinburgh…


Dialogue with Chance

Tuesday the 12th of May 5pm, followed by discussion and drinks

PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF LOCATION: Sydney Smith Lecture Theatre in the Old Medical Building 2nd Floor of the Medical School in Teviot Place (enter by doorway 1 from the quadrangle ) Rm No. 2.520


With reference to my book Architectures of Chance and recent projects at AY Architects, I will discuss the role of chance in architecture as aesthetic experience, critical method and a design practice in its own right. Through projects that are self-initited, situated and anticipatory, I will explore some of the aleatoric possibilities of architecture, touching upon the poetics and ethics of chance as a deeply social condition.


Yeoryia Manolopoulou is an architect, educator and design researcher. She is founder of AY architects and Director of Research at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, where she leads the MArch Unit 17 and supervises creative and practice-led PhDs. In 2013 AY Architects were mid-listed for the Stirling Prize, awarded a RIBA National Award and won the Stephen Lawrence Prize for Montpelier Community Nursery. Yeoryia is the author of Architectures of Chance (Ashgate, 2013) and founding editor of the online publication Bartlett Design Research Folios.

We are very humbled to welcome Dr Manolopoulou and hope that you will join us for the penultimate Prokalo of the year!

See you there, The Prokalo Team



Wannabe troublemaker, hacktivist and designer Fabrizio Gesuelli at Prokalo

Prokalo_Fabrizio Gesuelli_Web

Tuesday the 28th of April, Minto House Common Room – 5pm followed by drinks, nibbles and discussion – DON’T MISS THIS ONE!


Fabrizio is an architect, founder of the recently established firm FREUMh and he is currently a 3rd year PhD candidate at ESALA, the University of Edinburgh. Both his research and practice investigate the links between architecture and activism, hacktivism and social inequalities. He graduated in architecture from the University of Rome la Sapienza. His research has been awarded ‘… ehm, sorry academic labelling is really not my cup of tea – do these aspects; knowing where I studied, whether the research was awarded or published or presented somewhere, really make you more willing to come to this presentation? If you really want to know you can find them all on the internet, so go and have a look yourself. Do come though if you are interested in seeing a wannabe troublemaker presenting his work!’ – Fabrizio


Remediating the social through protest architecture: tʌɪt and St Peter’s Square in Rome.


This presentation will present an ongoing research and architectural activist project in Rome that combines the use of a dynamic and ad-hoc object as cultural probe- provotype (Boer, L. 2012) with an auto-ethnographical methodology.

In the portico area just a few steps away from the famous Bernini’s colonnade in St Peter’s Square in Rome, Italy there are two worlds that occupy the same physical space whilst remaining invisible to one another. There is the world of passers-by: the tourists, Roman denizens, priests, etc. and the world of rough sleepers: people who are homeless, who use the porticoes as a temporary sheltered areas to sleep over night.

The questions that were posed when I found myself facing these situation were multiple: is it possible to realise a bridge between the two worlds? Are there any common grounds that can be highlighted? These questions are explored through a design object called tʌɪt (read tait, pr. tight). It is a dynamic object made out of recycled cardboard that can be both city bench and a mattress for rough sleepers, providing a means by which the latter does not have to sleep directly on the ground. The name of the object is an acronym;  tʌɪt – the adjustment is ten. Ten centimeters is the thickness of each cardboard panel, which constitutes the object and the distance between a body and the ground.

Tʌɪt aims at functioning as both open source architectural activist project and critical mass object. On the one hand, the idea of open source wants to challenge traditional practices (and also alternative practices) by being capable of manufacturing momentum and involving people- project drawings and instructions that provide so called (h)acknowledgements for architecture as advertisements are freely available for people to build up a network by either remaking the object or simply advertising it to a wider audience – On the other hand tʌɪt aims at remediating socially the two worlds. The recycled aspect is then not simply related to tʌɪt’s materiality: Rather the object extends the idea of recycling also to metaphorical terms- the production of social waste that can be remediated and converted into a potential new set of relationships.

PhD Candidate and Architect – Tarek Teba at Prokalo


Prokalo_Tarek Teba_Web

Domestic Architecture in Ugarit: Conservation proposal

PhD Candidate – Tarek Teba 

Minto House Common Room

Tuesday 31st of March, 5pm – followed by refreshments


The four domestic areas in Ugarit, the capital of an important Bronze Age civilization in Syria, are examples of development of sophisticated urban style and domestic architectural principles and techniques during the period. Also, they are indispensable storytellers about the people’s cultural, social and professional life during the Bronze Age. Their conservation and presentation is developed through a detailed micro to macro analysis, based on in situ surveys, analysis of archaeological reports, and architectural analysis of the fabric, conducted to obtain coherent reading and interpretation of the areas. The constant evolution of domestic architecture, especially changes after the 1250 earthquake, and the people’s strong engagement with their city become evident from the fabric stratigraphy. Unique aspects of Ugaritic people social life like the cult of ancestors and the associated funeral architecture are also highlighted in the conservation project.  Basing on critical conservation theories, strong emphasis is put on architectural aspects of the intervention to actualise an outstanding urban environment and its values.


Tarek is an architect currently working towards a PhD in architecture at the University of Edinburgh. His thesis concentrates on strategies for the understanding of the architectural values of the early historic site of Ugarit in Syria and its conservation. He graduated with a B.Sc. in Architecture from Al-Baath University in 2005, obtained a diploma in architectural design from the same university in 2006, and received his MSc in Architectural Conservation from ECA in 2011. He had been involved in teaching as a design tutor between 2006 and 2010 at Al-Baath University, Homs, Syria. In addition, he practiced architecture during the same period through his own architectural office and the local city council.


PhD Candidate Dorothea Kalogianni speaking at Prokalo

Affective immersion and virtual spaces:

incorporating virtual reality, EEG and sound.

Prokalo_Dorothea Kalogianni_Web


Minto House Common Room – 5pm – followed by our usual lovely snacks, wine and chats – come join us! 


ABSTRACT: In the current project we intend to explore the potential of portable electroencephalography (EEG) technology in combination with portable virtual reality technology for experiencing virtual reality spaces.We aim to investigate how specific geometrical parameters of virtual space and sound can tune the users’ affective responses.

Previous studies have used virtual reality as a tool for the evaluation of architectural design proposals (Sheng et al., 2011; Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture, 2013; Drettakis et. al., 2007).These studies have shown that virtual reality could enhance the architectural design process as an evaluation tool (Mobach, 2008; Taewoo, H and Yong-Ho, 2013). Portable EEG technology has also been used previously with virtual reality (Rodríguez et. al., 2013).

We suggest combining portable EEG and VR technology in a real time interaction. We propose an artistic installation in order to explore this interaction. An experimentee sits in the middle of a dark room wearingbothan EEG headset and a VR headset. The useris immersed in a simple cuboid architectural environment while at the same time exposed to spatially localized sounds in the physical space. The VR images are also projected on a wall. Our aim is to record the affective responses of the user in a dynamic virtual reality environment. Architectural parameters of the spacesuch as scale and dimensions alter. Sounds also change in sequence. We aim to firstly collect the affective data of the user in response to the different visual and audio stimuli. Secondly we attempt to use the affective data registered in real time from the user in order to alter the geometrical characteristics of the virtual environment. This alteration will in turnalter the user’s emotional state anew. This way we generate a dynamic interaction between the virtual reality environment and the actor. Through this dynamic calibration of space the users will manage to tune their space so that the latter meet their emotional needs (Coyne, 2010).

Neuroscience can help architects understand better the effect that environmental stimuli have on the users and this way evaluate their design decisions (Eberhard, 2003; Edelstein and Macagno, 2012). The virtual realm has also been always closely related to architecture. It is however recent advancements in virtual reality technologies which havegenerated new hybrid spaces which blur the boundaries between the physical and the virtual (Picon, 2010). We want to explore these boundaries and understand how one’s sensorial experience is affected in a dynamic virtual reality environment. We embrace American philosopher Michael Heim’s definition of the virtual world. The virtual world is not a photorealistic re-presentation of the primary physical world that we live in. Instead the virtual world exists in parallel with our primary world, extending the latter into a different dimension (Heim, 1998).

We emphasize on the experience of architectural space.We adopt theories of environmental psychology and psychophysics, in order to interpret the emotional responses that different environments elicit. And we use brain representation technologies in order to understand the brain activity that corresponds to the user’s behavioural changes to the environmental stimuli. We also elaborate on theories of sound perception and psychoacoustics. Finally we approach virtual reality as a medium that extends our physical body into the digital world (McLuhan, 1994).



Dorothea Kalogianni is currently a PhD candidate at the Edinburgh College of Art, of the University of Edinburgh, where she is also a tutor. Her doctorate research links neuroscience and architecture. More specifically she investigates the implications that responsive sound environments have on the spatial behavior of the users. She has worked on responsive arts installations and has recently been exploring electroencephalography (EEG) technology for the creation of emotional sound responsive environments. She received her graduate diploma in architecture from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece) and has completed the Msc in Adaptive Architecture and Computation at the Bartlett School of Architecture of the University College of London. She is an AHRC funded student (tuition fees only) and a registered Greek architect.

Liam Ross ESALA – Regulatory Spaces, Literal and Metaphorical

Regulatory Spaces, Literal and Metaphorical:

On the material and discursive formation of Edinburgh’s fire-safety legislation

Tuesday the 3rd of March

Minto House Common Room 5pm, followed by a drinks reception

Prokalo_Liam Ross


This talk considers the built environment as a ‘Regulatory Space’, a field of simultaneously material and juridical limitations and opportunities. It does so by studying a series of acts of fire-safety legislation, and their effects on the built fabric of the City of Edinburgh.  Taken as discursive formations, these documents are shown to offer a history of competing govern-mentalities as to how the risks of urban life should be understood, limited, and employed;providing a genealogy that moves from the tenets of a Calvinist Kirk, to the formation of market-based prudential communities, to the collectivisation of risk through municipal and then nationalised forms of service provision and legislation.  But by studying the material effectsof these acts, it also considers the unintended consequencesof these documents, the way in which they have created space for alternative concerns and agendas to emerge, and to be accommodated.

With a particular focus on contemporary initiatives to develop performance-based modes of design codification,it shows how architects have been important actors in the shaping of this materio-semiotic context, and argues that the rationale behind such regulatory reform depends upon an aesthetic compact between political and scientific notions of economy. It suggest that these apparently technical aspects of the design process should nonetheless be recognized as part of a govern-mentality of increasingly individualised risk, and one which intentionally obscures what is fundamentally at stake within such processes of standardisation – the setting of socially acceptable margins of safety.  With reference to existing technical literatures, it considers the theoretical problems and physical side-effects of the drive towards performance-based fire-safety codification.


Liam Ross is an architect, a lecturer, and doctoral candidate in architecture research by design, at the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.  His principal teaching and research interests concern the relation between architectural design practices and their governmental frameworks, and his work has been published in journals including arq, Candide and Volume, as well as being exhibited at the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale.

Professor Perry Kulper, University of Michigan at Prokalo!


Prokalo_Perry Kulper

We are very excited to welcome Dr Kulper, Edinburgh University visiting Geddes Fellow, to ECA on Thursday the 5th of February for a seminar discussion and Exhibition.


Seminar 5pm, 5th February, at the Hunter Lecture Theatre, Lauriston Place:

‘Estranged Fluctuations’

‘Estranged Fluctuations’ will wade into the waters of spatial speculations, visualized things, both student and some of my own, exposing provisional thoughts framed through lenses of the generative use of language, tailored visualization techniques,diverse design methods and tactics of familiar estrangement. Wandering through work withvarious degrees, or grains of ‘finish’, or resolution I will advocate for increased dexterity and versatility in the development of spatial practices -in teaching, as authorial positioning and in the means of producing, in practicing practices- practices that attempt to identify the scope, efficacy and cultural durability of work, while working through half-truths, hunches and flat out shots in the dark, real off-leash stuff, estranged fluctuations… who knows, maybe even snooping around the pleasurable corners of chasing fascinations.

05 – 12 February, 2015
Opening 05 February, 18.00
The Tent Gallery. Evolution House. 78 West Port Street EH1 2LE.

‘Speculative Species’

‘Speculative Species’ offers a retrospective of the work of renowned architect and academic Perry Kulper, University of Michigan. Including works selected by the author himself, the exhibition presents a wide range of prints, from intricate handcrafted collage drawings to speculative digital renderings. Perry Kulper’s work explores design tactics, by proposing questions of authorship and agency within the drawing. In Kulper’s drawings latency and contingency become acknowledged generative factors in a perpetual interplay between ‘the languages of architecture and representation’.

The exhibition is presented by ESALA, in conjunction with Perry Kulper’s lecture ‘Estranged Fluctuations’, part of the Prokalo, Postgraduate Lecture Series.

Bio: Dr Perry Kulper is an architect and associate professor of architecture at the University of Michigan. Prior to his arrival at the University of Michigan he was a SCI-Arc faculty member for 16 years as well as in visiting positions at the University of Pennsylvania and Arizona State University. Subsequent to his studies at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (BS Arch) and Columbia University (M Arch) he worked in the offices of Eisenman/ Robertson, Robert A.M. Stern and Venturi, Rauch and Scott Brown before moving to Los Angeles. His interests include the roles of representation and methodologies in the production of architecture and in broadening the conceptual range by which architecture contributes to our cultural imagination.

Do not miss this!

Wine and nibbles too, as always!

see you there,

Prokalo Team

First Prokalo of the Semester with Dr Aikaterini Antonopoulou!

On Tuesday the 20th of January we welcome Dr Aikaterini Antonopoulou, Teaching Fellow – School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University…

5pm – Common Room – Minto House

Bring colleagues and friends for this wonderful guest and a wee glass of wine! Happy New Year!

Homelessness in the Digital Age through the example of the Banoptikon Videogame Project

Video game link see: http://banoptikon.mignetproject.eu



The transition from the organic body to the enhanced and extended body – either physically or mentally through connectivity – has turned anyone who participates into the digital age into some sort of a contemporary “monster” that may not necessarily appear physically deformed and modified as those of the past, however it gathers “the many” within itself, and therefore connects in new ways to others and to its environment.If the human body of the present concentrates the multiplicity within the unity in an increasingly complex world, it also raises the question as to what is to feel at “home” today. The aim of this presentation is to bring together the symbolic homelessness introduced by the digital culture and the actual homelessness of an immigrant, by looking into the “Banoptikon” videogame project, a virtual reality game that puts the “player” into the [avatar] body of a migrant who has to traverse cities and countries and to confront locals, authorities, and migration politics. Here, the player detaches from his own reality of mobility and connectivity (and multiplicity) and is placed in this condition of absolute homelessness, in the body of a wo/man of no home and no place struggling to define their own way of being in the world.  Through the lens of the Banoptikon, the immigrant stands as both a metaphor for the digital age and as a literal body of homelessness. Therefore breaking up the ties with home and constructing new connections and relationships is seen as an opportunity to negotiate one’s identity and to re-build one’s places, grounds, and homes.

Richard McClary – Medieval Islamic Architecture of Central Asia: The development of Qarakhānid tombs in the Ferghāna Valley

IMG_3772Tuesday 2nd December

5-6pm Minto House Common Room

followed by drinks and nibbles

This paper presents a complex of three tombs in Uzgend, Kyrgyzstan that date form the 11th and 12th centuries CE, along with a tomb in nearby Safid Buland that is dateable to the second half of the 11th century CE. All four were built during the rule of the Qarakhānids, a Turkic dynasty that ruled much of what is now Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
My recent surveys of the subject structures has revealed a number of connections between them and the wider tradition of Persianate funerary architecture of the period. An attempt is made to recreate the original appearance of the Uzgend site as well as to show how the architectural aesthetic developed there over time.
By giving a wider overview of the tradition of tomb construction it will be possible to show the numerous wide ranging connections over vast geographic areas. There are clear stylistic and technical links to the contemporaneous tombs built on the western fringes of the Persianate world, at Nakhchivan in Azerbaijan, and as far west as Sivan in central Anatolia.


We are currently developing this semester’s Prokalo series with some very exciting guest speakers coming soon. We will commence the series with Dr Penny Travlou, Lecturer in Cultural Geography and Theory at the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, University of Edinburgh on the 4th of November and Professor Sandra Kaji-O’Grady, Dean and Head of Architecture at the University of Queensland  on the 18th of November.

Prokalo will be following a similar structure to last year: Normally taking place at 5pm in the Minto House Post-Graduate Common Room, Chambers Street followed by refreshments.

This exciting series will take place bi-weekly so please save the dates now! We look forward to seeing you all there!

The Prokalo Team