Estranging Devices: Architectural Modernism and Strategies of De-alienation

PhD Research by Alexandra Vougia, Architectural Association – School of Architecture.
(2011 – PRESENT)

Alexandra Vougia
Architecture, Criticism, Domesticity, Housing, Policy, Theory, Urban

Alexandra’s thesis was concerned with the various ways that architectural modernism of the interwar era functioned against the dominant bourgeois ideology. This complex and historically specific function was explored through the agency of a conceptual pair: (social) alienation and (aesthetic) estrangement, the latter as the avant-garde artistic device of de-alienation. The two terms, associated with the evolution of capitalist economy and the practices of the historical avant-garde respectively, manifested in a concrete way the linguistic and conceptual reworking of the discourse on ideology, which took place during its migration through the disciplines of philosophy and political economy, to the aesthetic practices, and eventually to the spatial production of architecture. The thesis studied by what means alienation, after becoming closely interdependent on the ideological and cultural hegemony of the bourgeoisie, was perceived by the historical avant-garde and defied in practice by the conception of the homonymous device of alienation or estrangement, but, primarily, how interwar architectural modernism attempted to transform the ‘negative’ function of this device into a ‘positive’ project for a de-alienated restructuring of human production.

The following articles and conference papers emerged from this work: 

2020. Destruction and Production: The Dialectic of the Negative and its constructive transformation by Architectural Modernism.

Original in Greek: “Καταστροφή και Δημιουργία: Η αρνητική διαλεκτική της πρωτοπορίας και ο δημιουργικός μετασχηματισμός της στην αρχιτεκτονική του Μοντέρνου,” archetype.gr, 23 November 2020. [Link to the article]

2020. Radical Collectives: Forms of Living in Hanne Meyer’s Freidorf Estate.

Original in Greek: “Ριζοσπαστικές Συλλογικότητες: Μορφές Κατοίκισης στο Freidorf Estate του Hannes Meyer,” archetype.gr, 4 November 2020. [Link to the article]

2020. Thoughts on Architecture and Ideology: a short Historiographical Study of the end of the 20th century.

Original in Greek: “Σκέψεις για την Αρχιτεκτονική και την Ιδεολογία: μια σύντομη Ιστοριογραφική Έρευνα του τέλους του 20ου αιώνα,”archetype.gr, 12 October 2020. [Link to the article]

2017. Alienation and Habit.

Paper presentation in: MNYMOsin: Alien Memory, conference organised by Claudia Palma and Emmanouil Zaroukas for the London Festival of Architecture, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, 3 June 2017.

2016. After all, One Red: Unity and Conflict in the case of Freidorf.

Paper presentation in: Contagion, Symposium organized by Godofredo Pereira for the Lisbon Architectural Triennale, 25 November 2016.

2015. Prescribing the Collective Experience: The Hellerhof Housing Estate (1928-1930).

Lecture at: Dis-Locutions: Architecture and the Political, organised by Marina Lathouri, MA History and Critical Thinking Debate Series, Architectural Association, 30 January 2015.

2013. Hannes Meyer and the Co-op Zimmer.

Paper presentation in: Instead – Postgraduate Program, organised by Aristide Antonas,Department of Architecture, University of Thessaly, December 2013.


Fatura Collaborative – Research & Design Practice, was founded in 2009 and is developing projects across a wide range of scales, from intimate objects and performance, to architecture, urban design and planning. We are interested in architecture as social infrastructure, in developing collective equipments, in the design of spaces of care, empathy and welfare. We design and research expanding new problematics about ecology, the domestic, everyday life and the city.



is an architect, researcher and educator based in London. She holds a diploma in architecture from the School of Architecture of the University of Patras, Greece (2015) and was awarded a PhD from the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art (2022). Her thesis dealt with the materiality of grassroots, ad hoc and mutual aid projects by social movements in Europe and the United States, with an emphasis on their relationship with the state. She is teaching in undergraduate architectural design studios and history and theory courses at the London South Bank University and Central Saint Martins. She is also a registered architect in the UK (ARB) and Greece (TCG) and has practiced architecture in London, Madrid and Athens.


is an architect, researcher, and educator. He studied architecture in Thessaloniki, Greece, and holds an MSc from Columbia University and a PhD from TU Delft and The City as a Project research collective. He is the director of Projective Cities MPhil programme at the Architectural Association, where he is also teaching Diploma Unit 7 with Hamed Khosravi. Previously, he has taught at the Berlage Institute (Netherlands), in the MArch Urban Design programme at the Bartlett, the RCA, Syracuse University and the University of Cyprus. His research interests explore urban design and architecture in the relation to the politics of labour, economy, law and labour struggles. He has written and lectured extensively about Greek urbanisation and the politics of urban development.


is an architect and educator, and recently joined the Heinz Architectural Center at the Carnegie Museum of Art as Associate Curator. He earned his diploma of Architecture at the National Technical University of Athens and an SMarchS degree from MIT. Since 2009, he has been practicing as a founding member of Fatura Collaborative, an architecture and research collective. His PhD dissertation, “Architectures of the Humanitarian Front” (Yale University), explores the nexus of humanitarian organizations and architecture and their relation to conflict, displacement and the provision of shelter.


is an architect based in Lund, Sweden. He graduated in 2010 from the School of Architecture of the National Technical University of Athens and holds an MSc in Energy Efficient and Environmental Building Design from the School of Architecture of Lund University (2015). He has practiced architecture as a freelance architect in Greece and currently in Sweden (eg. Tengbom architects), where he works on a wide range of projects including small houses, larger residential complexes as well as care, educational and industrial facilities.


graduated in 2007 from the School of Architecture of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. She holds the MSc in Advanced Architectural Design from GSAPP, Columbia University (2008). In June 2016, she was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by the Architectural Association. Her thesis dealt with the transition towards abstraction in art and architecture during the end of 19th and early 20th centuries, with an emphasis on interwar architectural modernism in Germany. Alexandra has been teaching at the AA since 2012, where she is currently a studio master in the First Year Studio of the Experimental Programme and a Programme Coordinator and Course tutor in the MArch Architecture & Urbanism (DRL) programme. She has practiced as an architect in New York and Athens.