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.