Ilyas’s PhD focuses on the debates which led to the creation of an imperial architecture in fascist Italy between the proclamation of the Empire in 1936 and its fall in 1943.
His thesis aims to shed light upon the fascist regime’s attempt to demonstrate cultural hegemony through architecture and urban planning, and to analyse the apparent shift towards a more monumental and classically-inspired architecture. The purpose is to understand the ideological connections between politics and aesthetics which facilitated the proclamation of the Italian Empire in 1936, and which were expressed through the planning of the Empire’s capital cities, colonial settlements, città nuove (new towns), and exhibition sites.
Overall, Ilyas’s research looks at the instrumentalisation of the built environment, and seeks to highlight how it became a propaganda tool for the celebration of imperialism, nationalism and even fascist ideologies up to the eve of the Second World War.
Supervisors: Axel Körner and Edward Denison
Working title: 'E42: The Fascist claim for universal authority'
Expected completion date: 2022
Conference papers and presentations
- 'Worthy of the mother country: British pavilions on the eve of the Second World War', Building Ruptures, UCL Bartlett School of Architecture, October 2017. Published in conference proceedings.
- "Taking Control. Imperialist propaganda and architectural publications in the course of he svolta totalitaria", History and Memory of Italy's Colonial past, Modern Italian History Seminar (Institute of Historicacl Research), February 2021.
- "Traces of erased memories: Italian colonialism and architecture in Albania" Dissonant Echoes of History: Contested and Divided Memory in 21st Century Europe, Institute of European Studies, UC Berkeley, March 2021.