The Bartlett School of Architecture


Fani Kostourou

Illustration to PhD profile page for Fani Kostourou



Adaptability of the Urban Form: Mapping Changes Over Time and Across Scales



EPSRC Doctoral Training Grant 


This thesis investigates physical adaptability of the urban form in the 19th century working-class housing scheme of Cité Ouvrière in the city of Mulhouse. The research is based on the assumption that other things aside, housing forms that are not sufficiently adaptable to effectively accommodate changes over time will eventually disappear as they fail to remain fit for their users and to retain their value.

To explore this, the study examines how streets, plots, and buildings change over time, from 1850 until the present. More specifically, it asks how these spatial structures co-evolve in relation to each other and to concurrent social conditions, and how their transformations impact on network centrality and built density. Such knowledge can arguably be crucial to informing architects and planners about factors that may contribute to the social and spatial sustainability of the existing and future urban form.

Founded on the theories and methods of the classical and quantitative urban morphology, specifically space syntax and Spacematrix, the study focuses on small-scale incremental typo-morphological adaptations and their aggregate emergent impact over time and across scales. It first explores the evolution, continuity and transformation of the street network in the city of Mulhouse, revealing mechanisms of change and their impact on centrality patterns. Then, it traces incremental volumetric adaptations of single-family houses in the neighbourhood of Cité Ouvrière, and the effect of building growth on built density and space consumption. 

Findings are discussed against a set of historical and socio-political conditions to construct a comprehensive picture of formal adaptability and how this is defined and manifested across different spatial scales. The research is innovative for its historical depth (165 years), high-resolution approach (in terms of scale, time, and extent of study), and the methods used to map and measure the synchronic and diachronic processes of physical transformation (including historical and archival research, field survey, and diachronic 2D and 3D modelling).


Fani is an architect and urban designer. She studied architecture at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), holds a Master's in Urban Design from ETH Zürich and an MRes in Spatial Design: Architecture and Cities from The Bartlett, UCL London.

Her design work has featured in publications such as Minha Casa, Nossa Cidade (Ruby Press, 2014) and group exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Museu de Arte do Rio, X São Paulo Biennale and the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale. Fani has held teaching and research positions at the Welsh School of Architecture, The Bartlett’s School of Architecture and Development Planning Unit, and the research organization Theatrum Mundi.

During her doctoral studies, she organised international workshops, lectured, and exhibited in Europe, Asia and America. In 2017, she joined the Department of Architecture and Computation at MIT as a visiting researcher and participated in the EU-funded Future Architecture Platform activities in Slovenia, Serbia, Kosovo, and Ukraine.

Fani works, writes, and publishes in the expanded field of architecture and urban studies. Her core research interests include urban morphology and transformations, spatial analysis and data mapping, housing, informality, and design research. Currently, Fani is an EPSRC-funded doctoral student at The Bartlett School of Architecture and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK).

Publications and other work 



  • Kostourou, F., 2019. Mass factory housing: design and social reform. Design Issues 35(4).
  • Kostourou, F., Karimi, K. 2017. The integration of new social housing in existing urban schemes: the case of Cité Manifeste in Mulhouse, France. Urban Morphology 21 (1).
  • Kostourou, F., Psarra, S. 2017. Formal adaptability: A discussion of morphological changes and their impact on density in low-rise mass housing. Proceedings of the11th International Space Syntax Symposium. Lisbon.
  • Palaiologou, G., Kostourou, F. 2016. Long-term challenges in urban housing: In the search for intersections between design and policy regulations. AMPS Conference Publication Series 7. Future Housing: Global Cities and regional Problems. Swinburne University, Melbourne.
  • Psarra S., Kostourou F., Krenz K. 2016. Designed and Emergent Tectonics: Resituating Architectural Knowledge. The Plan Journal, Vol 0(0).
  • Krenz, K., Psarra S., Kostourou F., Capille C. 2016. Understanding the City as a Whole: An Integrative Analysis of Rio de Janeiro and its Informal Settlements. Proceedings of the 22nd International Seminar on Urban Form: City as organism: New visions for urban life, Vol 1, Rome.
  • Kostourou, F. 2015. Configurational and morphological sustainability in social housing: the case of Cité Ouvrière in Mulhouse. Proceedings of the10th International Space Syntax Symposium. London.


  • Kostourou F., Psathiti. C. 2018. What’s wrong with Wonderland?. trans magazin No 32 ‘Liebe’, ETH Zürich.
  • Kostourou F. 2017. Built Projects that Inspired. Architectuul.
  • Kostourou F. 2017. Design (re)Production. Horizonte Journal for Architectural Discourse No 11: ‘Wissen’, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar.
  • Kostourou F. 2016. New Modesty. LOBBY magazine No 5 ‘Faith’, UCL Bartlett.
  • Kostourou F. 2016. Conflicts of Interest. LOBBY magazine No 4 ‘Abundance’, UCL Bartlett.
  • Kostourou F. 2015. What Lies Beneath. OSA Magazine No 2, ‘Failure’, Oxford School of Architecture.
  • Kostourou F. 2015. Riots. LOBBY magazine No 2 ‘Clairvoyance’, UCL Bartlett.
  • Kostourou F. 2014. Urbanism as a product of repetition. LOBBY magazine No 1 ‘Un/Spectacle’, UCL Bartlett.

Books (ft/ed/ch)

  • Psarra S., Kostourou F., Krenz K. 2018. A Bisociative Approach to Design: Integrating Space Syntax into Architectural Education. In Oliveira, V. (ed.) Teaching Urban Morphology. The Urban Book Series, Springer.
  • Psarra S., Kostourou F., Krenz K. (eds.) 2017. E-merging Design Research: Pop-Up City. The Bartlett School of Architecture, London.
  • Psarra S., Kostourou F., Krenz K. (eds.) 2016. E-merging Design Research: Rio@Rio. The Bartlett School of Architecture, London.
  • Angélil, M., Hehl, R. in collaboration with Something Fantastic (eds.). 2014. Minha Casa, Nossa Cidade: Innovating Mass Housing for Social Change in Brazil. Ruby Press, Berlin.

Other research

  • Kostourou, F. 2014. Diachronic (Re)assessment of the Social and Spatial Capital of Industrial Housing: Cité Ouvrière and Cité Manifeste in Mulhouse. UCL Bartlett.
  • Angélil, M., Hehl, R. in collaboration with Something Fantastic (eds.). 2013. APB – Architectura Popular Brasiliera. D-ARCH ETH Zürich. 
  • Kostourou, F. 2012. Οι ανθρώπινες δραστηριότητες στο δημόσιο χώρο: αστικά κενά στον άξονα της Πανεπιστημίου [Human activities in public space: urban voids along the axis of Panepistimiou street]. School of Architecture NTUA Athens.

Academic Year 2014-2015

  • PGTA, E-merging Design Research (UCL, BSA)
  • PGTA, Design as a Knowledge-Based Process (UCL, BSA)
  • PGTA, ‘Space syntax’ Methodology and Analytical Design (UCL, BSA)

Academic Year 2015-2016

  • PGTA, E-merging Design Research (UCL, BSA)
  • PGTA, Architectural Phenomena (UCL, BSA)

Academic Year 2016-2017

  • PGTA, E-merging Design Research (UCL, BSA)
  • PGTA, Building and Urban Design in Practice (UCL, DPU)

Academic Year 2017-2018

  • PGTA, E-merging Design Research (UCL, BSA)
  • PGTA, ‘Space syntax’ Methodology and Analytical Design (UCL, BSA)
  • PGTA, Analytical Design Research Project (UCL, BSA)
  • PGTA, Space Syntax: Architecture & Cities MSc Dissertation (UCL, BSA)
  • Unit Leader, Spring Studio, Urban Design MA (Cardiff University, WSA)

Academic Year 2018-2019

  • Design Tutor, Architecture Design Year 3 (Cardiff University, WSA) 

Academic Year 2019-20

  • Design Tutor, Architecture Design Year 3 (Cardiff University, WSA)
  • Mentor, Educational programme ‘Creating Homes for Tomorrow' (CANactions School for Urban Studies)  
  • 2017 Visiting researcher (MIT, Department of Architecture, School of Architecture + Planning)
  • 2017 Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • 2017 Future Architecture Platform participant, EU Creative Europe Programme


  • Future Architecture Festival, Museum of Architecture and Design, Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Balkan Architectural Biennale, Belgrade, Serbia
  • 10th CANactions International Architecture Festival, Kyiv, Ukraine
  • 12th Belgrade International Architecture Week, Belgrade, Serbia
  • Kosovo Architecture Festival, Prishtina, Kosovo
  • XX Chilean Architecture and Urbanism Biennial, Valparaiso, Chile with the MSc BUDD (UCL, DPU)
  • Dalieh Watch Day and Festival, Beirut, Lebanon with the MSc BUDD (UCL, DPU)


  • 15th Venice Architecture Biennale, Venice, Italy
  • ‘XXXX Faces of Architecture’, Greek Pavilion
  • ‘Selo de Qualidade MCMV’, Brazilian Pavilion with the MAS UD (ETH)


  • Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, USA with the MAS UD (ETH)
  • Museu de Arte do Rio (MAR), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with the MAS UD (ETH)


  • Columbia GSAPP’s Studio-X Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with the MAS UD (ETH)
  • X São Paulo Architecture Biennale, São Paulo, Brazil with MAS UD (ETH)