The Bartlett School of Architecture

Dr Iulia Statica

Dr Iulia Statica

Marie Curie Research Fellow

The Bartlett School of Architecture

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
1st Oct 2019

Research summary

Iulia Statica’s research focuses on investigating the significance of architecture and urban structures in their relation to the agendas of political ideologies, in essence the relationship between political power and architecture’s form and praxes. Her current research investigates the relationship between gender, the (post)communist state and architecture in the passage from socialism to its aftermath in cities in Eastern Europe, with a specific focus on Bucharest. The research project she currently develops is titled Gender, Infrastructure and the Production of Domesticity in the (Post)Communist City. It explores the manner in which housing infrastructure was employed as a political technology in the production of gendered subjectivities—that is, women’s embodied experience of the built environment—in the communist and post-communist periods. The main objective of this research is to articulate the role and status of the housing infrastructures built between 1955-1984 in the regulation of the home, the family and the women’s roles within the (post)communist era. The research project employs documentary film, in collaboration with Romanian filmmaker Adrian Catu. The documentary My Socialist Home is currently in postproduction and forthcoming 2021. For details about the project and a trailer of My Socialist Home visit www.project-domesticities.com.

Her forthcoming book, Urban Phantasmagorias: Domesticity, Production and the Politics of Modernity in Communist Bucharest (Routledge, Architext Series) explores the manner in which the socialist state reconfigured the city of Bucharest, both explicitly and in nuanced ways, in order to materialize the idea of communist modernity. It follows the effects of this goal between 1947 and 1989 through an investigation of the transformations, representations, meanings, and uses of domestic and productive spaces. Walter Benjamin’s concept of phantasmagoria provides a critical framework to articulate the dynamic relationship between ideology, architecture, and everyday practices, and to reassess their impact upon individual agency. The book establishes, both theoretically and through the concrete case of the city of Bucharest, the methodological significance of Benjamin’s notion of phantasmagoria as an epistemological approach to a (modern) communist cityscape.

At the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies at Cornell University, Iulia Statica developed a  comparative investigation of the legacy of socialist mass housing built with Soviet technological support between the 1950s-1980s in cities in Latin America and Eastern Europe. Based on both archival and ethnographic research the project — Housing Socialist Modernities.  A Comparative Archaeology of Domesticity in (Post)Socialist  Havana and Bucharest — interpreted the ways in which domestic architecture is understood and experienced in its relation to social, technological and political praxes, continuities of culture and tradition, and the deformations and ruptures effected by ideologies. She is also part of an interdisciplinary, collaborative research project involving scholars and practitioners in architecture, comparative literature, and film, examining the legacy of Cuba’s approach to mass housing in the 1970s. The project is titled Alamar: An Archaeology of Socialist Domestic Infrastructure in Havana (http://projectalamar.com/). Alamar examines the practical and ideological implications of the unique form of socialist governmentality characteristic of contemporary Cuba, and the nature of its mediation through domestic infrastructures.


Iulia Statica is currently the Marie Curie Research Fellow at The Bartlett School of Architecture. Previously, she was a Visiting Scholar at the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Latin American Studies Program, at Cornell University, USA. She completed her PhD at the Department of Architecture at the University of Rome “La Sapienza” in 2016. Her research interests focus on cities in Eastern Europe and Latin America, specifically examining the role of ideologies and their critique in the development and transformation of housing infrastructures and urban landscapes in (post)socialist contexts. Between 2014-2015 she was a Visiting Researcher at the Department of Philosophy of the University of Toronto and prior to this was awarded the Fellowship in Architecture at the Romanian Academy in Rome (2012-14). She is currently an external collaborator within The Critical Landscapes Design Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. 

Together with Tao DuFour she is the co-founder of the Office for Architecture, Urban and Environmental Research (AUER), a research and design collaborative to advance engagement with the humanities and social sciences in architecture + urbanism. AUER’s design work is research based, with the explicit aim of pursuing critical theoretical approaches to political ecological themes, in tandem with quantitative methods employing emerging technologies in geo-spatial analysis. Their most recent design proposal titled Together at the Table: Văcăreşti Park as Intergenerational Commons, was awarded second place in the national competition to represent the Romanian Pavilion at the 2020 Venice Biennale.

She currently leads the Domesticities research project.