The Bartlett School of Architecture


Christiana Ioannou



The Disc(o)ursive Fragment: Questioning Meaning in Fragmentary Landscapes

First and second supervisors:


The thesis discusses the notion of the fragmentary ascertainment of a place. The research focuses especially on places of destruction, which are considered not as the ruins of architectural practice, but as a creative field for the initiation of design experimentations.

Practice is conceived and investigated as the means to transform such places into creative sites. The notion of the site also forms an important category of this research. Especially, the notion of the 'invented site' animates questioning, creates a field for design experimentations and engages the actions of the user in the construction of meaning. As a design strategy, the invented site understands a site as an accumulation of spatial fragments detached from a specific context, further considering intervention as a disc(o)ursive catalyst to participate in the formation of a new content.

The research aims to investigate the design process as an act of intervention which does not act prosthetically as an intervention from the outside. On the contrary, design is considered as the means itself of an active interpretation, an initiation of a process that allows the meaning of the place to arise by itself, by the mediation of the intervention.

Jacques Derrida's notion of the 'graft' is examined as a creative means for experimentation and a methodology of research. The process of 'graftage' is also examined through a series of design interpretations of relevant examples from art and architecture such as the 'Merzbau' by Kurt Schwitters and 'The Wall Game' by Lebbeus Woods.

In parallel, the thesis aims to unfold a series of site-specific experimentations in various landscapes of fragmentary character or solidified destruction. Nicosia's Buffer Zone is considered as a model and example of a city in which memory, myth and nostalgia hover overhead. The aim of the specific case study is to disrupt any particular crystallization and thus, through design, to identify starting points for the unfolding potential of the place.


Popi Iacovou received her Diploma in Architecture from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 2002 and her MPhil degree in Christiana Ioannou holds a Diploma in Architecture (2003) and an MSc in Architectural Theory (2005) from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) School of Architecture.

She has taught at the NTUA School of Architecture and practiced architecture in Cyprus, Greece and London. She has participated in architectural exhibitions and publications and her projects (in collaboration with Christos Papastergiou) have been awarded in international architectural competitions.

She is currently undertaking doctoral research in architectural design at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. Her PhD is sponsored by a scholarship from the Hellenic Republic (IKY).