Ioanna Piniara – We have never been Private! The Housing Project in Neoliberal Europe

First Supervisor: Dr. Pier Vittorio Aureli
Second Supervisor: Dr. Maria S. Giudici

Ioanna Piniara is a Greek architect and researcher. She holds her Diploma in Architecture from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (2012) and her post-graduate Specialization Diploma in Architectural Design with honors from the University of Thessaly, Greece (2015). Her research focuses on the architectural resolution of the private in relation to domestic space in the neoliberal context. Piniara is currently teaching Intermediate History and Theory Studies at the AA.


The thesis puts forward an interpretation of the management of domestic space through the transformation of the concept of the private within the socio-economic regime known as neoliberalism. In this light, the thesis proposes a critical reassessment of housing privatization not as the by-product of an abstract market apparatus but as a public-private partnership strategy to establish not only new contractual relationships, but also a change of ethos, culture and organization of the housing project.
For this purpose, urban housing schemes in London, Berlin, Athens and Madrid are selected as case studies throughout this history of repeated spatial and economic crises from the 1970’s until today. To date, the research has investigated two models of inner-city living; the Barbican Estate (1952-82) in London, which represents council housing in the transition from post-war austerity to the vision of ever-increasing economic growth, and the International Building Exhibition (IBA) of 1987 in Berlin, which puts forward housing policies to provide an urban identity for a divided city in a globalizing world.
Athens, which is currently surveyed, and Madrid will be studied within the same framework of the last two decades (1999-2018) since they share commonalities with respect to the cultural roots of private property, as a means of class reproduction and wealth accumulation, and the subsequent impact of the 2008 mortgage crisis on welfare and housing in their urban settings. As contested a terrain as neoliberalism has become, in this context it is not to be identified with specific political doctrines –such as Thatcherism or Reaganism- rather it is scrutinized as a broader cultural project to recapitalize on urbanity by building a certain subjectivity based on living accommodation.
In fact, the design methodology aims to illustrate how such specific episodes became laboratories for the construction of spatial agendas and practices which acted as realised applications of an unaddressed planning rationale only retroactively identified as neoliberal.

Posts by Ioanna Piniara