Igea Troiani Senior Lecturer in Architecture
PhD Supervisor in practice-based research
Email address:
Websites: www.igeatroiani.co.uk, originalfield, ahra-architecture.org, tandfoline
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Biography: Igea Troiani (PhD, BArch (Hons), BAppSc) is a trained architect, academic and filmmaker. She graduated from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in 1992 achieving excellence in design and critical writing. Her PhD is a trans-disciplinary history of architectural practice from 1949-1987. She taught in two Schools of Architecture in Australia before joining Oxford Brookes University in 2005. She is Subject lead of all Cultural Context (History and Theory) modules in the School and mainly teaches in the postgraduate Masters programme where she leads two design studios. All of her teaching is based on her academic research that explores interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary research-led design.

Practice: Igea produces buildings, art exhibitions and architectural films as research outputs. She has practiced architecture in Melbourne and Brisbane in Australia as well as in Germany, the latter after the fall of the Berlin wall. With Andrew Dawson, she began the trans-disciplinary practice, HAPPENinC Architects in Australia in 1997 and after moving to the UK they founded Original Field of Architecture. Her practice experience has been predominantly in social projects i.e. hospitals, care homes and educational buildings for universities. Working mostly in academia now she uses exhibitions as a mode of research and dissemination, writes theory as film and makes films on architectural production under her production company Caryatid Films.

Research interests: My current research interests lie in three areas of architectural humanities: the exploration of new modes of architectural scholarship beyond the solely textual, in particular audio-/visual methods of research in architectural theory, history and practice; the social production of architecture culture and its relationship to the feminisation (and diversification) of the architectural profession; and, related to both of these, alternative pedagogical and spatio-temporal practices of writing, ‘drawing’ and designing that explore architecture’s relationship with nature, capital, consumption and labour. My research is built upon multi-disciplinary knowledge gained from visual culture studies, film production, sociology, gender studies, political science and economics and seeks to extend the limits of current architectural education, practice and publishing.

New Modes of Architectural Scholarship

I am currently editing two books, Visual Research Methods in Architecture and Architecture Filmmaking (both to be published by Intellect, late 2016). These books develop from my involvement in Architecture and Culture (Taylor & Francis) which I founded while Chair of the Architectural Humanities Research Association, 2009-2012 (AHRA) and for which I remain an editor-in-chief. Architecture and Culture publishes exploratory research from architects, artists and urban designers, filmmakers, animators and poets, historians of culture and architecture, geographers, anthropologists and other social scientists, that is purposively imaginative rigorously speculative, visually and verbally stimulating. It opens up a new territory of audio-/visual publication for architectural scholars that values multi-sensorial readings of architectural knowledge.

I write ‘theory as film’ and have made, since 2004, and continue to make, short films and documentaries under my independent production company Caryatid Films as research outputs. I have been invited as a keynote to speak about visual methods of research at the University of Sheffield (April 2016), University of West England (May 2015) and Copenhagen Film Festival (March 2015). I initiated, framed and led the conference session ‘Redefining Architectural Scholarship through Visual Methodologies’ at the fourth Annual meeting of the All-Ireland Architecture Research Group (AIARG) in Dublin (January 2015) and the ‘Connecting Narratives: Film as Research’ Symposium, OBU, Oxford (July 2015). In 2015 I was invited to be a member of the jury for The Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ) and in 2006 was a member of the R.I.B.A. President’s Medals Student Awards – Dissertation medal.

The Social Production of Architecture

Grounded in the lesser-known work by Jacques Derrida entitled the Politics of Friendship (1997), my initial research was the writing of a multi-disciplinary, gender-balanced and visual history of modern architecture from 1949 to 1987 understood through the lens of the social stratification and differentiation of friends and enemies (PhD, 2005). Because I am a female architectural practitioner (I am a founding member of the Oxford based practice, Original Field of Architecture Ltd. since 2008 and have practiced in Germany and Melbourne and Brisbane) and a mother of two, I am attentive to the issue of how the discipline of architecture responds to the feminisation and diverse needs of its workforce. My edited book, The Politics of Making (2007), is the outcome of my leading the conference committee for the 3rd Annual AHRA International Conference, (Oxford, 2006) of the same title. It expanded earlier research themes of collaborative, interdisciplinary practice from a social perspective.

From 2003-2005 I was a member of the Executive Committee and Secretary of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia & New Zealand (SAHANZ) and co-organised the SAHANZ Conference (Brisbane 2002) entitled ‘Additions to Architectural History’ in which I instigated and chaired the session, ‘Gender and Architectural History’.

I have made two films that explore visual research on women as producers in the architectural and construction workforce, Illegal Architect (2013) and Sara Murray: A Woman Contractor (2015). Illegal Architect was screened at the ‘Gender, Work and Organisations 8th Biennial International Interdisciplinary conference, Keele (June 2014) and the Copenhagen Film Festival (March 2015). As a consequence of the Keele screening I was invited as keynote speaker to the FWSA conference ‘Everyday Encounters with Violence: Critical Feminist Perspectives’ at the University of Leeds, School of Geography (September 2015). I have been interviewed on the radio on ‘the changing roles of women in architecture’ and am currently writing a manuscript entitled Work-life Balance in Architecture. Referring to Judith’s Butler’s writings on the performativity of gender, the book examines how an architect’s life has gendered limits due to how architecture is produced socially, inside and outside, the university and the architectural office. I contend the most disadvantaged students and architectural practitioners are working parents, particularly mothers, who are always compromised due to gender stigmatisation and being torn between work and home life obligations. I am drawn to research that intersects studies in sociology with architecture to better understand the current sociology of architecture, in order to construct new diverse and multifarious images of architects that embrace difference.

Architecture, Nature, Capital, Consumption and Labour

This line of research has emerged through my design studio teaching and extends from my (and my studio teaching partner, Andrew Dawson’s) dissatisfaction with two things: the way sustainable research in architecture is mostly limited to quantitative, non-aesthetic and non-experimental research; and the potential for reuse of post-industrial and incomplete buildings (architecturally designed or not). I am concerned with the ethical space that architects' are now limited to practice within, obliged to obey regulations and green standards to satisfy, ironically, neo-liberal capitalist motives of spatial and economic development.

I have always been interested in the ‘as found’. In the studios I led in Australia, prior to moving to the UK, I often used sites that were significant to local indigenous communities. When I moved to Oxford Brookes I studied neglected post-industrial sites in Northern England including the Clipstone Colliery. Beginning in 2009 the research centred on using ecological science-fiction novels to generate inventive and imaginative modes of socially responsible rural and urban development. From that work I published pedagogical journal articles in The Journal of Architectural Education (March 2013) and arq: Architectural Research Quarterly (December 2012) and curated a public exhibition entitled, The “Sci-fi Eco-Architecture” exhibition in London (January 2011). The research has since expanded into how we consume the exotic through our insatiable longing for global travel and what architecture might be able to do to compensate for our excessive consumption of culture through the rise in low-cost flight travel. That research was exhibited publicly in Oxford at The Old Fire Station gallery (February - March 2013) and was reviewed, out of public interest, by The Oxford Culture Review (February 2013).

The most recent tangent of this research on Architecture, Nature, Capital, Consumption and Labour is a series of practice-based design studios on unfinished or incomplete buildings. Starting with the 2014-15 studio ‘Unfinished Athens’ the research moved to ‘Unfinished Madrid’ (2015-16) and I am currently collaborating with Professor Vincenzo Riso (School of Architecture of Minho University, Guimarães, Portugal) to potentially move the project to “Unfinished Cuba’ in 2016-17. This research has resulted in a mode of producing moving international exhibitions as research outputs. The exhibition “Unfinished Athens” was first exhibited in Oxford, then London (June 2015) and in June 2016 will move to Athens. The Unfinished building research uses audio-/visual methods of research done through extensive fieldwork studies to uncover social and environmental issues and possibilities that can regenerate landscapes and communities who have suffered from economic and social crises. The research is socially and community driven and the mode of exhibiting research findings and design solutions through exhibition aims for maximize national and international publics.


Selected Works:

A selection of some of my most interesting outputs are below:


  • Troiani, I ed. and author. (Due 2016) Architecture Filmmaking, Bristol: Intellect. (In production)
  • Troiani, I. and Ewing, S. eds. (Due 2016) Visual Methodologies in Architectural Research, Bristol: Intellect. (In production)
  • Zaman, Q and Troiani, I. eds. (Due 2016) Changing Principles and Praxis in Urban Research, Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press (In press).
  • Swenarton, M., Troiani, I. and Webster, H. eds. 2007. The Politics of Making. London: Routledge.

Book chapters

  • Troiani, I. “Architectural History, Friendship and Filmed Conversations,” in Rendell, J., Hill. J., Fraser M. and Dorrian, M. eds. 2007. Critical Architecture. London: Routledge: 124-128.

Journal Articles

  • Troiani, I. and Kahn, A. “Beyond the Academic Book: New ‘Undisciplined’ Corporeal Publication,” in Blacksell, R. and Walker, S. guest editors (March 2016) Architecture and Culture, Themed issue titled ‘Architecture and the Spaces of Information’
  • Troiani, I and Campbell, H. “Orchestrating Spatial Continuity in the Urban Realm [through filmmaking],” in Architecture and Culture, Themed issue titled ‘Architecture Film’, 3, 1 (March 2015): 7-16.
  • Troiani, I. and Carless, T. “in-between Drawings: Architectural Drawing as Interdisciplinary Spatial Discourse,” in The Journal of Architecture, 20, 2 (17 April 2015): 268-292.
  • Troiani, I. and Ewing, S. “Inside Architecture from the Outside: Architecture’s Disciplinary Practices,” in Architecture and Culture, Themed issue titled ‘Disciplinary Practices’, 2, 2 (July 2014): 151-166.
  • Troiani, I. and Carless, T. “Architectural Design Research through Cinematic Collage,” The Lusófona Journal of Architecture & Education, 11 (2014): 255-278.
  • Troiani, I., Ewing, S. and Periton, D. “Architecture and Culture: Architecture’s Disciplinarity,” in Architecture and Culture, Themed issue titled ‘Discipline’, 1, 1&2 (Nov 2013): 7-20.
  • Troiani, I. “Zaha: An Image of ‘The Woman Architect’,” in Architectural Theory Review, 17, 2-3 (2012): 346-364. This article was republished in Naomi Stead ed. (2014) Women, Practice, Architecture: `Resigned Accommodation' and `Usurpatory Practice', London: Routledge.



Exhibition title: ‘Consuming the Exotic: Young architect-tourists in Turkey’. Andrew Dawson and I curated the exhibition. It ran from the 8 February - 1 March 2013 in The Old Fire Station, 40 George Street, Oxford. Review of exhibition, 'Consuming the Exotic” by Leah Broad, The Oxford Culture Review on 19 February 2013.


Exhibition title: ‘The Design Research Exhibition’. It ran from 24 - 29 February 2012 at Fusion Arts in Oxford. Igea curated the exhibition with the Design Research students.


  • Troiani, I. (2014) Illegal Architect. Director, Writer and Producer: Troiani I.; Editor: Robinson, A.; Costume designer: Bois d’Enghien, A.; Lead actors: Linin, S. and Orange, S.; VFX Supervisor and Designer: Welz, K. Produced by Caryatid Films.
  • Troiani, I. 2015. Sara Murray: A Woman Contractor. Director, Producer, Researcher, Writer: Troiani, I. Cinematographer: Robinson, A; Sound recordist: Durham, H. Produced by Caryatid Films.
  • Troiani, I. 2010. House after Two Years of Living. Director: Troiani, I. Cinematographer: Sweeney, C. Editors: Troiani, I. and Sweeney, C.
  • Troiani, I. 2005. Conrad Gargett Architecture. Director, Researcher, Narrator, Writer: Troiani, I. Cinematographer: Charles, S. Editors: Troiani, I. and Charles, S.
  • Troiani, I. 2004. Building Mayne Hall. Director, Research, Narrator, Writer: Troiani I. Cinematographer and Music composer: Charles, S. Editors: Troiani, I. and Charles, S.

Research students

Amard Pimmarsi, “An Investigation into the Potential impact of Changes in video Production Technology on Thai communities in urban UK and rural Thailand” (January 2016-) Supervised with Dr Alison Kahn in the School of Arts.

Andrea Placidi, "The Legacy of Bruno Zevi, Toward a Modern Design Methodology for Architecture, A comparative study of contemporary non-linear Arts' Museums" (Completed 2016)

Dr Iliana Miranda-Zacarias, "Standard and Non-standard: A Study of the Historical Development and Evaluation of the Present-day Performance of Primary School Architecture in Mexico” (Completed 2012)

Igea has examined the following PhDs:

Ruxandra Berinda, “Moving Images of Home: Tracing an Architectural Phenomenography through the Films of Andrei Tarkovsky and Ingmar Bergman”. Supervisors: Renata Tyszczuk and Stephen Walker. Examination 11 November 2015. School of Architecture, University of Sheffield.

Sarah Breen Lovett, “ ‘Expanded Architectural Awareness: Exploring Intersections of Architecture and Expanded Cinema”. Director of Studies: Lee Stickells, Auxillary Supervisors: Michael Tawa and Sandra Kaji-O’Grady. Examination August 2015. Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney.

Cidália Silva, “See(d)(k)ing Time: an Approach to How to Design as Research”. Director of Studies: Vincenzo Riso. Jury members include John Habraken, Manuel Fernandes de Sá and Marta Labastida. 17 July 2014 in the School of Architecture of Minho University, Guimarães, Portugal.

Michael Chapman, “Surrealism, Dada and Architecture”. Director of Study: Michael Ostwald. School of Architecture and the Built Environment, University of Newcastle, Australia. October 2010.

Research leadership

Igea was Chair of the Architectural Humanities Research Association (AHRA) from 2009 to 2012 and has been a member of the AHRA Steering group since 2006. From 2003-2005 she was a member of the Executive Committee and Secretary of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia & New Zealand (SAHANZ). She is currently a member of the Advisory Board for the Peer Review of Multimedia Ebooks and Education Apps for Moving by Design Press. In 2015 she was a member of the jury for The Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ). She has been a member of the R.I.B.A. President’s Medals Student Awards – Dissertation medal. She has co-organised two major international conferences and tens of symposia.