Dr Francesco Proto

Senior Lecturer in Architecture

Member of: Place, Culture and Identity Group


Francesco is a chartered architect, design practitioner and an architectural historian and theorist with a diverse and extensive knowledge of history and theory of architecture, architectural philosophy, critical thinking and studio practice. He has a reputation as a leading theorist and historian, with a solid track record of excellence in research and teaching.

Francesco earned a Magna cum Laude degree (first class) in Architecture and Urban Design from the First University of Rome “Sapienza” (Parts I and II equivalent) and completed an MA in Architecture and Critical Theory from the University Nottingham with a dissertation entitled “Architecture and Simulation”, which focussed on the three developmental stages of Post-modern architecture and its transition towards super-iconization. His PhD in Architecture, Visual Culture and Social Sciences from the University of Nottingham, entitled “The Obscenity of Subjectivity”, investigated the ever-changing relationship between architecture and contemporary society. The thesis later developed into an interest in the ‘post-human’, a topic he has addressed in both his research and teaching.

A full member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, registered with the UK Architects’ Registration Board and the Italian Registration Board, Francesco has worked for Dominique Perrault in Paris, where he focused on international competitions and projects such as the London Olympics 2012, Donau City (Vienna), the Marinsky Theatre (St. Petersburg) and the transport exchange in Naples (Central Station, Piazza Garibaldi). He is also an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA).

Francesco has either curated and/or participated in a number of exhibition such as “Italian Pop Art: 1960s Until Now” (University of Chieti), the 10th Venice Architecture Biennale, “Cities: People, Society, Architecture”, where he exhibited short films on urbanism entitled “Serial Townscapes I & II” for the cinematic exhibition “Other Visions” (2006), and, recently “The Post-human and Architecture” at the Lincoln ‘Frequency’ Digital Arts Festival (2015). He is also active in entering international architecture competitions. He recently submitted entries for three international ideas competitions - the ‘RIBA Journal Bull’s Eye Design Competition’ (2013), the ‘Berlin Natural History Museum’ (2014) and the ‘Costa Concordia Lighthouse Memorial’ (2015), all of which having received special Honourable Mentions.

Francesco has a sustained record of research and scholarly activity. After publishing his first book in 2006 - Mass Identity Architecture: Architectural Writings of Jean Baudrillard - he has contributed to a variety of specialist refereed journals and conference proceedings on architecture, psychoanalysis, philosophy and art. He has been a peer reviewer for the journals, National Identities (Taylor and Francis), Theory, Culture & Society (Routledge), The Journal of Architecture (Cambridge University Press), and a book reviewer for Ashgate Publishers. He is currently collaborating with the University of Paris IX ‘Nanterre’ and Columbia University in New York for the launch of the 2nd International Conference on Baudrillard Studies.

Francesco has supervised three PhD students and welcomes applications to study for a research degree, either full or part time, in any of the research interests listed below. He is currently working with five potential applicants in developing their research proposals.

Teaching interests

  • History, Theory and Philosophy of Architecture
  • Critical Theory
  • Architecture Design Studio
  • History and Theory of 1st and 2nd artistic avant-gardes

Research interests

  • Psychoanalysis and Architecture
  • Philosophy and Architecture
  • The Post-human and Architecture
  • Cinema and Architecture
  • Music and Architecture
  • Fine Art and Architecture
  • Visual Culture
  • Urban Design and the City
  • Architectural Design/ Theory of Design Strategies

Examples of recent publications and conference papers

2016: Baudrillard for Architects (‘Thinkers for Architects’ series), Routledge.

2016: “Seducing God(s): The Ideal City as the Mirror Stage of Western Subjectivity” in Architecture and the Unconscious (John Hendrix and Lorens Holm, eds.), Ashgate.

2013: “Fatal Objects: Lacan in Baudrillard, Part 2 (The 3rd Simulation Stage: Post-modernity)”, The International Journal of Baudrillardian Studies, Vol. 10, No. 2.

2013: “The Subject & The City: A genealogy of Western Narcissism”, AHRC -10th International Conference on ‘Transgression’, Bristol.

2012: “Berlusconi & Other Hostages”, The Journal of Baudrillard Studies, Vol. 9, No. 3.

2011: “Architecture”, The Baudrillard Dictionary. Edinburgh: Yale University Press.

2011: “(In)Visible Cities”, International Symposium on Electronic Arts, Sabanci University, Istanbul.

2010: “On the future of Architecture”; Architecture and Communication conference, University of Lincoln.

2009: “That Old Thing Called Flexibility: An Interview with Robert Venturi” in “Theoretical Meltdown: New Trends in Art and Architecture”, AD – Architectural Design.

2007: “Italy Between Pragmatism & Theory”, in “Italy: A new Architectural Landscape, AD - Architectural Design.

2006: "The Pompidou Centre, or the Hidden Kernel of Dematerialization”, The Journal of Architecture, Vol. 10, No. 5.

2006: “Architecture and Desire”, 2nd International Congress on Transparency in Architecture, University of Thessaloniki, Greece. (Awarded best paper)

2006: “The Chemistry of the Leftovers: Architecture and Postmodernity”, 1st International Conference on Baudrillard Studies, Swansea University.

2006: Mass Identity Architecture: Architectural Writings of Jean Baudrillard. Wiley.


School of Architecture

Oxford Brookes University
Headington Campus
Gipsy Lane
Oxford, OX3 0BP